Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Last Detail (1973)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Last Detail (1973)

In director Hal Ashby's military-related, anti-authoritarian road-trip and buddy film - and coming-of-age treatise - strewn with a record number of obscenities:

  • the opening scene in Norfolk, Virginia - Master At Arms (MAA) (Clifton James) briefed cynical Navy shore patrolman Billy "Bad-Ass" Buddusky (Oscar-nominated Jack Nicholson) and his buddy Gunner's Mate First Class Richard "Mule" Mulhall (Otis Young) on their new "shit-detail" assignment - a shore-patrol mission to escort a naive, dim-witted, 18 year-old robbery prisoner, Seaman Lawrence "Larry" Meadows (Oscar-nominated Randy Quaid), to Portsmouth (NH) Naval Prison (via Washington, NY, and Boston) to serve an eight-year sentence for stealing $40 dollars from a charity box: ("You are one lucky son of a bitch!...How come you're so lucky, Buddusky? You're another lucky son of a bitch, Mulhall....You dudes pulled temporary duty as chasers...You see, he tried to lift the polio contribution box....Polio box is the old man's old lady's favorite do-gooder project. She's responsible for all the polio contributions on the base, ya know? Every year, they give her a plaque. Along comes Meadows and f--ks over charity. She took it very seriously")
  • Buddusky's initial plan - to quickly drop Meadows off in NH (a two-day trip), and spend the rest of their week's leave (extra per-diem payouts) for themselves, but then decided to provide "the kid" with various life experiences
  • the cheeseburger lunch scene in a Washington DC bar when Buddusky gave Larry a lesson about returning food: ("Cheese melted enough for ya?...It ain't melted at all. Send it back...Send the god-damn thing back, Meadows. You're payin' for it....Meadows, have it the way you want it. Waiter? Melt the cheese on this for the Chief, would ya? See, Meadows? It's just as easy to have it the way you want it")
  • afterwards at a DC bar, Buddusky confronted a new, by-the-book, disagreeable "redneck" bartender (Don McGovern), who required that they show IDs, after Buddusky made a beer order for the three of them, including the under-aged Meadows; offended by the racist bartender, Mulhall complained: "Well, I tell ya what you better do, Mr. Citizen Bartender. You take your beers and ram 'em up your ass sideways. Can you dig it?"; Buddusky butted in: "Whoa there, sunshine. We're goin', so you can take your hand off that horse cock you got stashed under the bar....Ho, ho, ho. This redneck is talkin' about firearms. Well, I know that you ain't got nothin' but wood under there, my man, because I happened to be here one night when a certain sailor got it laid up the side of his f--kin' head. Whaddya think about that, redneck?...I'm gonna kick your ass around the block for drill, man"; when the bartender threatened to summon the shore patrol, Buddusky retorted: ("I am the motherf--king shore patrol, motherf--ker! I am the motherf--king shore patrol! Give this man a beer!"); when Meadows declined, Buddusky yelled at him: "You're gonna have a f--kin' beer!"; afterwards on the street, Buddusky howled with laughter, clearly enjoying his nickname "Bad-Ass" -- "I am a bad-ass, ain't I?"
Ordering Beers
"I am the motherf--king shore patrol!"
"I am a bad-ass, ain't I?"
  • the scene of a fist-fight with a group of Marines in NYC's Penn Station public restroom after cigar-chomping Buddusky insulting one of the Marines fumbling with buttons at a urinal; he called the offending Marine a 'dickhead': ("If I was a Marine, I wouldn't have to f--k with no thirteen buttons. I'd just take my hat off")
  • the scene of their observation of a joyous discussion group of chanting Buddhists at a Nichiren Shoshu discussion meeting, enjoying "the world's finest" Italian sausage sandwiches, and joining ice skaters in NYC's Rockefeller Center
  • the scene of a stop at a brothel in Boston for Meadows to lose his virginity with a Young Whore (Carol Kane); after having sex, Meadows naively asked how he was, and she responded: "You got off to a shaky start. After that, you took to it like a duck to water"; he offered to give her the rest of his money just to look at her - she told him: "Guess you haven't seen many girls with their clothes off, have you, honey? Well, let me tell you, I've got a good body. Not great, but pretty good"; he told her as he stroked her arm: "It's beautiful"; later, Meadows told Buddusky and Mulhall: "After, after, well, maybe it was an act for her. I mean I know she was a whore. But I think she liked me...Well, it was real for me and that's what counts"; Buddusky announced: "Welcome to the wonderful world of pussy, kid!"
  • the bittersweet scene of the group's arrival in snowy Portsmouth, and their attempt to have a BBQ picnic in the wintry park; Buddusky realized their trip was coming to a close ("He don't stand a chance in Portsmouth, you know. You know that, don't you? God-damn grunts, kickin' the s--t outta him for eight years - he don't stand a chance") - followed by Meadows' use of semaphore flag signals (earlier learned from Buddusky) to send a message to them: "BRAVO YANKEE BRAVO YANKEE End of Message" (literally "Bye-Bye"), before his attempt to escape; Buddusky was forced to brutally pistol-whip the captured young sailor - bringing the entire situation back to reality that they were escorting a prisoner to the jailhouse

MAA: "You are one lucky son of a bitch!"

Buddusky and Mulhall Told About New Assignment - And Buddusky's Question: "Who'd he Kill?"

Kleptomaniac Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid)

Returning Cheeseburger Lesson

Confronting Marines in NY's Penn Station Restroom

Watching Chanting Buddhists

At a Boston Brothel With Whore (Carol Kane)

Meadows' Ill-Advised Flight


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