Return of the Secaucus 7 is a 1980 drama film written and directed by John Sayles and starring Bruce MacDonald, Maggie Renzi, Adam LeFevre, Maggie Cousineau, Gordon Clapp, Jean Passanante, and others. The film tells the story of seven friends who spend a weekend together in New Hampshire. The weekend is marred by the break-up of a relationship between two of the friends. This causes a ripple effect among the group and brings up old desires and problems.
The picture was thought to have inspired The Big Chill (1983), which is a more widely known film with a similar storyline. However, writer/director Lawrence Kasdan has denied having seen Return of the Secaucus 7 before working on The Big Chill.
- Bruce MacDonald as Mike Donnelly
- Maggie Renzi as Katie Sipriano
- Adam LeFevre as J.T.
- Maggie Cousineau as Frances Carlson
- Gordon Clapp as Chip Hollister
- Jean Passanante as Irene Rosenblum
- Karen Trott as Maura Tolliver
- Mark Arnott as Jeff Andrews
- David Strathairn as Ron Desjardins
- John Sayles as Howie
- Marisa Smith as Carol
- Amy Schewel as Lacey Summers
- Carolyn Brooks as Meg
- Eric Forsythe as Captain
- Nancy Mette as Lee
Film critic Emanuel Levy liked the film and wrote, "The movie became influential, launching a cycle of "reunion" films, which included The Big Chill and the TV series Thirtysomething. As a portrait of disenchantment, Return was more authentic and honest than Lawrence Kasdan's star-studded Big Chill...A rueful movie about unexceptional lives that have prematurely grown stale, Secaucus is a bit commonplace, lacking genuine drama. But Sayles uses effectively a discursive, episodic format; he constructs strong scenes with resonant dialogue. The characters are complex and individually distinguished by speech, gesture, and manner."
Critic Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat wrote, "Here's a nice little movie about the baby boom generation...Novelist John Sayles wrote, directed, and edited this movie. It is a labor of love. We watch these laidback individuals share their stories and reminisce about the past...But these baby boomers can't handle tension; the rift between Jeff and Maura sends tremors through the weekend. And although they put up a front of having a good time, one senses that things haven't turned out well for them — either in terms of meaningful relationships or in terms of personal fulfillment. Return of the Secaucus Seven leaves one with a rueful feeling about this generation."
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards: LAFCA Award; Best Screenplay, John Sayles; 1980.
- Boston Society of Film Critics Awards: BSFC Award; Best Independent Film; 1981.
- Writers Guild of America, East: WGA Award (Screen); Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen, John Sayles; 1981.
- In 1997, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
- Gerry Molyneaux, "John Sayles, Renaissance Books, 2000 p 37
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- Lingan, John. Slant Magazine, August 30, 2010. Accessed: August 18, 2013.
- Big Chill screening, the Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, Michigan, April 20, 2006.
- Levy, Emanuel. Emanuel Levy Film Reviews, 2004–2008. Accessed: February 25, 2008.
- Brussat, Frederic and Mary Ann. Spirituality & Practice, film review, 1970–2007. Accessed: February 25, 2008.
- Return of the Secaucus 7 at Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed: February 25, 2008.
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