Pothole (movie)

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Directed by Paul Anderson
Written by John McTiernan
Starring Adrien Brody
Theodore Bo Geyman
Kevin Bacon
Denise Richards
Carl Rowell
Produced by Dave Wesch
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date January 2nd, 1981
Runtime 90 min.
Language English
Budget $9 million
IMDb page

Pothole is a 1981 award-winning film about a mayor dealing with instability and riots in his city after citizens become outraged over the large amounts of potholes in the city roads.


Newly elected mayor of Ames, Iowa, Cameron B. Goode (Adrien Brody) and his assistant Gene Poulle (Theodore Bo Geyman) became the targets of threats after Mayor Goode cuts funding for mass transit and roads. Eventually, city roads become so poorly maintained that the roads become cobbled and contain large potholes, making driving impossible. To top it off, mass transit workers go on strike, making all transportation nearly impossible in the town.

After some time, the city of Ames turns into a warzone as a civil war breaks out. Mayor Goode, in desperate need of help, calls in the Iowa National Guard. However, even the Iowa National Guard can't suppress the rioting within the city streets, and rioters storm the mayor's residence, which by that time had been barricaded by Gene and Goode.

The rioters successfully break into the mayor's residence lead by Bruce Pharr (Kevin Bacon), a local cab driver, immediately execute Gene Poulle, and take the mayor's family to a nearby warehouse. After hearing news of his family's kidnapping, Mayor Goode turns rogue and heavily arms himself, eventually raiding the warehouse in a solo commando-style siege. It was pretty cool.

After an intense shootout in which he kills Bruce Pharr, he and his family are once again reunited. At the end of the film, Goode buries Pharr in one of the town's numerous potholes. Mayor Goode was impeached the next day.


  • One Oscar for "Best Action Movie"
  • Oscar nomination for "Best Screenplay"
  • Oscar nomination for Thedore Bo Geyman as "Best Supporting Actor"
  • Oscar nomination for "Best Movie About Potholes", only then losing to acclaimed movie "Ditches" starring Bruce Campbell.


The NPA (National Pothole Association) demanded a boycott of the movie, because of what they claimed were several scenes in the movie that portrayed potholes in a negative fashion. Although the boycott may have encouraged some to avoid watching the movie, it didn't stop the movie from grossing in over $391 million.

During the film's production, people actually started rioting outside of the studio in protest of the movie's effects on the town of rural Ames, Iowa. According to residents, the movie raised awareness of the town while being shot there, and as a result, Ames witnessed a huge population explosion in the early eighties.