Movie Review

For Pete's Sake

Zany Barbra!
For Pete's Sake Movie Poster

US Release Date: 06-26-1974

Directed by: Peter Yates


  • Barbra Streisand
  • Henrietta 'Henry' Robbins
  • Michael Sarrazin
  • Pete Robbins
  • Estelle Parsons
  • Helen Robbins
  • Molly Picon
  • Mrs. Cherry
  • William Redfield
  • Fred Robbins
  • Louis Zorich
  • Nick Kasabian, the dispatcher
  • Heywood Hale Broun
  • Judge Hiller
  • Richard Ward
  • Bernie
  • Ed Bakey
  • Angelo
  • Peter Mamakos
  • Dominic
  • Vincent Schiavelli
  • Cashier
Average Stars:
Reviewed on: January 22nd, 2006
Barbra Streisand does it all For Pete's Sake.

Barbra Streisand does it all For Pete's Sake.

For Pete's Sake is a lightweight comedy vehicle for Barbra Streisand, who was at the time, the biggest female star in the world. She plays a Brooklyn housewife who borrows money from a loan shark in order that her husband Pete can invest in pork bellies on the commodities market. You see he has inside information from Nick, the dispatcher at the cab company where Pete works, and Nick is never wrong.

Of course before the inevitable happy ending Henrietta must go through a series of wacky adventures. When she fails to repay the $3,000 dollars she owes the loan shark he sells her contract to a Mrs. Cherry. She's a sweet little old lady who happens to be a Madame. To pay off the money Henrietta must have sex with strange men in her apartment while her husband is at work. Of course something always goes hilariously wrong and Henrietta's contract gets sold again.

Next she must deliver packages for a couple of shady brothers. While delivering the first package she gets chased by the police. Henrietta gets away, by climbing down a manhole, and returns the package to the brothers. Big mistake. It turns out to be a bomb. Oops.

Finally Henrietta is forced to smuggle cattle into Brooklyn in the back of a mobile home. You guessed it, the cows get loose and Henrietta winds up on the back of a bull riding through the streets.

 If all this sounds hopelessly unrealistic that's because it is. It's a silly, zany movie that does provide some laughs as long as you can accept the ridiculous plot.

Streisand is wonderful as usual. She is simply a comic genius.

There are a couple of wonderful supporting roles. Estelle Parson's is brilliant as Henrietta's snooty sister-in-law, “Henrietta, you live over your head" and Vivien Bonnell is hilarious as Loretta the very un-politically correct black maid, “I hope you got a better grade of cookies than you had last week."

This movie screams mid 70's and it is far from a great movie. Still my brothers and I loved watching it on television as kids and it remains, for me, a very funny movie.

Reviewed on: February 1st, 2006
Barbra Streisand in For Pete's Sake.

Barbra Streisand in For Pete's Sake.

Although not nearly as funny as Whats Up Doc?, For Pete's Sake is a funny film in a very sitcom-ish way. Barbra runs through a series of misadventures for the sake of Pete. The movie plays like a series of sketches put together. Granted, most of the sketches are pretty funny.

My favorite one is when Barbra is seen going through a series of daily problems. Everyone she meets has issues with her choice of pot roast for dinner with her in-laws. The cashier at the grocery store suggests she buy's neck bone because it's cheaper. Barbra says, " I got people coming for dinner. Is it alright if I give em a pot roast?" The cashier responds, "Don't get snitty with me. Keep the pot roast if you're trying to impress someone. I was only trying to be helpful. Do these woman appreciate that? They bitch and get snotty." She then goes to a bank to discuss a bounced check. The man at the bank notices her pot roast in her grocery bag and says, "Fiscally speaking, you're eating over your head." She then goes to the phone company to explain that she will not pay a bill for a phone call that she did not make to Yugoslavia. The Phone Company lady then says, "Strange you won't pay us, but you have money for a pot roast." The best punch line then comes when at the dinner her snobbish sister in-law says that she brought her husband's ant acid because last time they ate here Henrietta served bad meat.

As Patrick wrote, For Pete's Sake is a silly movie but there are plenty of laughs to be found.

Reviewed on: December 15th, 2010
Barbra Streisand in For Pete's Sake.

Barbra Streisand in For Pete's Sake.

As both Patrick and Eric wrote, this is a very silly movie with a plot that grows increasingly ridiculous as the story progresses.  It's very lightweight, but fun and funny nonetheless.  And while Streisand dominates the movie (she isn't off screen for more than a minute throughout), there are the one or two supporting parts that Patrick mentioned who get a few laughs as well.

Eric, you mentioned the pot roast gag, which is one of my favorites, but I also enjoy the series of phone calls that Henry makes to her cousin in Dallas following each of her misadventures. Each phone call becomes more crazy than the last and all end in the same way, with her cousin hanging up on her.  All of them go something like this one, "Hi there. This is your cousin Henrietta Robbins from Brooklyn... You'll be glad to hear Pete's alive, but I got to have $5000 for Mrs. Cherry... Pete came home and almost caught the judge. We thought he was dead, and Bernie put him in a trunk... Hello?... Hello?... Hello?..."

Patrick you mentioned the black maid and she always makes me laugh.  To this day I still occasionally quote her line, "They never let up on us" when asked to do something.  And Estelle Parsons is perfect as the snobbish, oh-so-superior, sister in-law.  Richard Ward as Bernie, the building Super with a finger in every pie, is also worth a few chuckles, as is Molly Picon as the Jewish Mother styled Madam.  Perhaps the only disappointing role is Pete himself, played rather dully by Michael Sarrazin.  It's a thankless part, but he doesn't bring much to it anyway, doing little to show us why Henry is going to so much trouble for him.

Calling Streisand a comic genius might be a bit strong, but she is very funny in this silly, but entertaining farce of a film.