Released in 1979, writer/director Paul Schrader's Hardcore first presented itself to me for viewings during multiple showings on cable television movie channels in the early 80s.
Like many of Schrader's films, it's a sometimes heavy handed and tough movie filled with heavily conflicted and damaged individuals. The film quickly changes locations from a dark, snow covered small town in the American Midwest to the sun saturated, unmitigated perversion of California.
George C. Scott chews the scenery a bit portraying a very religious businessman who travels this distance to find his daughter, who has gone missing from a school trip, and is presumed to have gone to work in the pornographic trade. Much like The Searchers, he ventures into hostile territory to rescue his "kidnapped" child, only instead of Indians, it is sleazy pornographers and pimps he must confront.
Scott provides a powerful lead, who conveys a rising, violent rage that eventually erupts. Other standouts in the cast include Peter Boyle as a private investigator who is truly of dubious intent and quality as well as Season Hubley (at that time, just about to marry Kurt Russell) as a sympathetic and helpful sex worker.
The heavy 1970s vibe is a real plus as well, with much of the film's set design and clothing (check out Scott's getup when he goes undercover!) evoking that era. If you're curious, check it out below.
the tv trailer