Every Which Way But Loose is a 1978 American adventure comedy film, released by Warner Brothers, produced by Robert Daley and directed by James Fargo. It stars Clint Eastwood in an uncharacteristic and offbeat comedy role, as Philo Beddoe, a trucker and brawler roaming the American West in search of a lost love while accompanied by his friend/manager Orville and his pet orangutan, Clyde. In the process Philo manages to cross a motley assortment of characters, including a pair of police officers and an entire motorcycle gang (the "Black Widows"), who end up pursuing him for revenge.
Eastwood's appearance in the film, after his string of spaghetti western and Dirty Harry roles, somewhat startled the film industry and he was reportedly advised against making it. Panned by critics, the film went on to become an enormous success and became, along with its 1980 sequel Any Which Way You Can, two of the highest grossing Eastwood films. When adjusted for inflation, it still ranks as one of the top 200 highest grossing films of all time.
Philo Beddoe is a truck driver living in the San Fernando Valley. He lives in a small house, with an orangutan named Clyde, behind that of his friend Orville Boggs and his mother. Philo makes money on the side as a bare-knuckle fighter; he is often compared to a legendary fighter named Tank Murdock.
One night Philo becomes smitten with Lynn Halsey-Taylor, an aspiring country music singer he meets at the Palomino Club, a local honky-tonk. His relationship with her seems to be going well until one day she and her camper disappear from the trailer park. Believing that he is falling for her, Philo decides to set off for Lynn's home in Denver, Colorado.
Along the way, he has a run-in with a motorcycle gang called "The Black Widows", who incur Philo's wrath after two gang members insult him and Clyde at a traffic light. Philo chases them down and takes their bikes (which he repaints, repairs, and resells), and every attempt they make to get even results in disaster. Philo also incurs the wrath of a local sheriff, with whom he gets into a fight at the Palomino. Both the sheriff and the Widows learn of Philo's trip to Colorado and head off to find him.
Orville and Clyde accompany Philo to Denver, and on the way, they meet a woman named Echo who becomes Orville's girlfriend. They earn money along the way by booking fights for Philo. After a fight in a slaughterhouse, the man holding the money tries to stiff Philo. Echo fires two shots from a .38, and the man hands over the money.
Knowing that Philo has come to look for her, Lynn helps the Black Widows lure him into a trap. Philo sees Lynn and attempts to talk to her, but finds himself surrounded by the Widows. He manages to fight most of them until Orville intervenes. Using a garbage truck with a dumpster hoist, he dumps all the motorcycles into the back of the truck. The Widows charge the garbage truck, but Orville gets away. Philo, Echo, and Orville then escape.
Philo finally finds Lynn and she reveals her true nature to him. Hurt by her callousness, Philo says that he is the only one dumb enough to want to take her further than her bed. Lynn erupts in a fit of rage, striking him repeatedly until she collapses in tears.
Orville learns that Tank Murdock, based in the area, is ready to retire after one more fight. Orville makes the arrangements, and Philo faces his elderly nemesis. During the fight, the crowd, initially pro-Murdock, begins to insult him, with some murmurs that Philo is going to be the next Murdock. Philo lets his guard down, intentionally giving Murdock a clear shot, knocking Philo down for the count. Murdock, having regained the crowd's esteem, is allowed to retire undefeated. Clyde, Orville and Echo head home the next day.
- Clint Eastwood as Philo Beddoe
- Sondra Locke as Lynn Halsey-Taylor
- Geoffrey Lewis as Orville Boggs
- Beverly D'Angelo as Echo
- Ruth Gordon as Ma Boggs
- John Quade as Cholla
- Roy Jenson as Woody
- James McEachin as Herb
- Bill McKinney as Dallas
- William O'Connell as Elmo
- Walter Barnes as Tank Murdock
- Gregory Walcott as Putnam
- Dan Vadis as Frank
- Hank Worden as Trailer Court Manager
- George Chandler as D.M.V. Clerk
- Manis as Clyde