Save the Tiger (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes

Save the Tiger (1973)



Critic Consensus: Jack Lemmon's outstanding performance helps Save the Tiger grab early '70s American anxiety firmly by the tail.

Movie Info

Star Jack Lemmon was so eager to see Save the Tiger make it to the big screen that he waived his salary rather than have the film exceed its tiny budget. Lemmon portrays "the great American tragedy" as upwardly mobile garment manufacturer Harry Stoner, whose underhanded business tactics are beginning to catch up with him, and whose keeping-up-appearances lifestyle has forced him into bankruptcy. The script, by producer Steve Shagan, does nothing to endear us to Stoner: he flagrantly cheats on his wife, arranges business deals by servicing his clients with prostitutes, and finally agrees to torch his warehouse to collect the insurance money, all the while paying empty lip service to his lost ideals. Nonetheless, one "feels" for Stoner throughout, especially when he breaks down while giving a speech to his assembled buyers, imagining that the audience is populated by his dead army buddies, who gave up their lives to make the world safe for good-for-nothings like himself. Lemmon's performance won him an Academy Award. Appearing in supporting roles are Jack Gilford as Lemmon's conscience-stricken partner and Thayer David as a smarmy arsonist.

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Jack Lemmon
as Harry Stoner
Jack Gilford
as Phil Greene
Norman Burton
as Fred Mirrell
Patricia Smith
as Janet Stoner
Thayer David
as Charlie Robbins
Lara Parker
as Margo the Prostitute
as Dusty
Ned Glass
as Sid Fivush
Pearl Shear
as Cashier
Biff Elliot
as Tiger Man
Ben Freedman
as Taxi Driver
Madeline Lee
as Receptionist
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Critic Reviews for Save the Tiger

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (11)

Only days after seeing the picture do we realize just how much "Save The Tiger" has to say.

June 11, 2021 | Full Review…

Avildsen has a particular talent for recreating lifelike situations. Here, his camera works like a magnet, picking up each squalid detail.

June 11, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Lemmon is acutely sensitive at earning pity in this exceptional acting achievement. His brain in a vise is yours, for a time.

June 11, 2021 | Full Review…

The only thing that saves "Save the Tiger" is Lemmon's highly believable dramatic performance.

June 11, 2021 | Full Review…

Just a few wry degrees in another direction would have made us scorn Harry and his sentimental self-serving values. But, Lemmon is a great sympathy-bidder and his worst punishment is to feel sad.

June 11, 2021 | Full Review…

At times, many times, in "Save The Tiger" one wants to yell out to Harry Stoner, "Hey, man, either quit your job or stop complaining." And then one realizes that it's not Harry's fault.

June 11, 2021 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Save the Tiger


A tour de force for Lemmon. Consider this to be a bridge between the early great comedic work and the really marvelous dramatic work of his later career.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Set fire to the factory. Supply women for the clients. Harry Stoner will do anything to get one more season.

Wahida K
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

The greatest performance ever given by an actor and Jack Lemmon delivers this in his breathtaking Oscar winning role. One of the top ten best films of 1973.

Mister Caple
Mister Caple

Super Reviewer

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