Tick, Tick, Tick
Tick Tick Tick 1970.jpg
1970 movie poster
Directed byRalph Nelson
Written byJames Lee Barrett
Produced byJames Lee Barrett
Ralph Nelson
StarringJim Brown
George Kennedy
Fredric March
CinematographyLoyal Griggs
Edited byAlex Beaton
Music byJerry Styner
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • January 9, 1970 (1970-01-09)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,144,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[1]

Tick, Tick, Tick, stylized as ...tick...tick...tick..., is a 1970 American crime drama film directed by Ralph Nelson. It was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[2] Racially provocative for its time, it stars Jim Brown in the role of an African American man elected as the sheriff of a rural county in the American South. It has become something of a cult classic for its cutting-edge portrayal of racial relations and its tense narrative.


In a small Southern town, Jim Price is elected sheriff over John Little, the incumbent. Racial tensions exist in the community, and Price gets little assistance from Little, leaving office, or from Mayor Parks, who insists he be consulted on any decision the new sheriff makes.

A white man, John Braddock, is arrested on a manslaughter charge after his drunken driving causes the death of a young girl. Braddock's father carries considerable influence and demands his son be freed. Price's deputy, Bradford Wilkes, is beaten by Little's former deputy, Bengy Springer.

Another arrest is made, this time of a black man, George Harley, accused of rape. The townspeople's mood turns uglier by the minute, particularly when Braddock's father threatens to spring his son by force if necessary.

Little's conscience gets the better of him. He agrees to become Price's new deputy. Together, they try in vain to persuade other men in town to side with them against Braddock's vigilantes and to convince the mayor to call in the National Guard for help. Alone against the mob, Price and Little form a barricade and prepare for the worst when their fellow townsmen suddenly join them in the street.


Jim Brown and Janet MacLachlan in ...tick...tick...tick... - publicity still, 1970



Screenwriter and producer James Lee Barrett also created the television adaptation of In the Heat of the Night.


The film's lead was played by Jim Brown, who had recently retired as a professional football player. Brown and George Kennedy had previously appeared together in the war film The Dirty Dozen. Another co-star, Bernie Casey, had played in the National Football League from 1961–68, his career intersecting with that of Brown, who was an NFL star from 1957-65.

It was the penultimate film appearance of screen legend Fredric March.


It was made in and around Colusa, California. The town's central courthouse square was remodeled to appear like those found in the American South. The same courthouse was also used for exterior shots in the 1962 classic To Kill a Mockingbird.


The film was released theatrically in the United States by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in January 1970,[5] the same year as Nelson's Soldier Blue. It was shown in an anamorphic in 2.40:1 aspect ratio.[6] A radio advertisement for the film summarized the story simply: "tick...tick...tick is the sound of time...running out."

Home media[]

The film was never given an official VHS release in the United States. It was released on DVD in 2012 via the Warner Archive on-demand service.

See also[]


  1. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1970", Variety, 6 January 1971 p 11
  2. ^ "...tick...tick...tick..." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  3. ^ "Janet MacLachlan". IMDb.
  4. ^ "Richard Elkins". IMDb.
  5. ^ "Company Crs for ...tick... tick... tick..." imdb.com. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  6. ^ "Tick...Tick...Tick... (1970)". wbshop.com. Retrieved 2012-04-26.

External links[]