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The North Avenue Irregulars: A Timeless Tale of Community Faith and Courage

The North Avenue Irregulars is a movie that takes you on a thrilling ride of comedy, adventure, and action. It is an excellent portrayal of how a group of people with different personalities and backgrounds can team up to achieve a common goal.

Directed by Bruce Bilson, the movie was released in 1979 and featured a cast of renowned actors seasoned in comedic roles. In this article, we will provide you with a synopsis of The North Avenue Irregulars, highlighting the plot, the characters, and the movie’s themes.


The movie is set in the small town of Ridgefield, where corruption and organized crime are rampant. A new minister, Michael Hill, is assigned to lead the local First Church of the Brethren and, upon his arrival, meets a group of church members who are fed up with the lawlessness in their town.

The group consists of a retired Army colonel, a housewife, a bored housewife, a Vietnam veteran, a local handyman, and a timid insurance salesman. Together, they form a team of vigilantes known as The North Avenue Irregulars.

The Irregulars embark on a mission to rid their town of criminal activities like prostitution, gambling, and bootlegging. They use their unique skills to infiltrate the criminal underworld and gather evidence to build a case against the mob boss, R.J. Rummel.

Along the way, they find themselves in hilarious and dangerous situations, but with courage and determination, they overcome each obstacle without losing their sense of humor. Characters:

The North Avenue Irregulars features an excellent cast of actors who bring their unique personalities to their roles.

Edward Herrmann played the role of Reverend Hill, the leader of The Irregulars. He is a principled man of faith and values, who is not afraid to speak out against the vices in his town.

Barbara Harris played the role of Emily, the housewife who was tired of living a boring life and yearned for excitement. Karen Valentine played the role of Vickie, the bored housewife looking for a way out of her mundane life.

Other characters include Colonel F.G. “Pitt” Pittman, played by Kenneth Mars, who is an army veteran with excellent strategizing skills, and a Vietnam War veteran, Albert, played by Stephen Furst, who provides the group with his technical expertise. Other notable characters include Lamar, played by Michael Constantine, who is a local businessman moonlighting as a mobster, and R.J. Rummel, played by Clive Revill, a sinister and dangerous mob boss.


The North Avenue Irregulars is a movie that explores themes of community, faith, courage, and determination. It shows how ordinary people can team up to make a difference in their community.

The Irregulars did not have any unique skills, but they had the determination and the courage to take on the powerful criminal organization that was menacing their town. As a movie centered around a church community, it also explores the themes of faith, redemption, and forgiveness.


The North Avenue Irregulars is a fascinating movie that combines thrilling action with brilliant humor. It is an excellent portrayal of how a group of people can come together to achieve a common goal and make a difference in their community.

The movie also highlights the importance of faith, community, courage, and determination in making the world a better place. The plot of The North Avenue Irregulars is compelling and thrilling, with a mix of action, adventure, and comedy.

The movie revolves around a group of church members who team up to take on organized crime and corruption in their small town. The plot starts with the arrival of Reverend Michael Hill at the First Church of Brethren in Ridgefield.

He soon realizes that the town is rife with organized crime and corruption, despite the towns faade of tranquility. The reverend forms a bond with the local women and together they devise a plan to take down the kingpin of the organized crime syndicate R.J Rummel.

The women recruit other members of the church to join their task force which becomes known as The North Avenue Irregulars. One of the key themes of the plot is the importance of a community.

The North Avenue Irregulars was a diverse group of individuals who shared a common goal to rid their town of organized crime. They worked together to uncover the truth, piecing together evidence that would eventually lead to the arrest and conviction of R.J Rummel.

Another significant theme in the plot is the importance of faith and morality. The group was ultimately grounded in the character of their leader, Reverend Hill.

Without him, the group would not have been able to create the task force that would take down the criminal enterprise. The Irregulars display a strong sense of morality and unwavering faith throughout the movie.

Their resolve to do the right thing despite the repercussions, is a testament to the power of one’s moral compass. The plot also has several comic moments that provide a light touch and relieve tension from the movie.

These moments are funny but not unrealistic, and give the viewer a chance to laugh at situations that would otherwise be scary or intense. The humor is a reflection of the personalities within the movie, with each character providing a different level of comic relief.

Yet, the humor does not detract from the seriousness of the plot, but rather enhances it. The character development is a significant aspect of the plot.

The Irregulars may be a motley crew, but they each have personal challenges that they must overcome in order to succeed. Emily, for instance, is a bored housewife looking for a thrill.

Vicki is a woman looking for a way out of her monotonous life. Colonel Pittman, on the other hand, is a former army veteran trying to find purpose in life.

Each character is dynamic and develops as the plot progresses. The climax of the movie is when The North Avenue Irregulars bring the evidence they have collected to the police.

R.J Rummel is subsequently arrested and brought to court, where he is ultimately convicted. This scene is significant in that it shows the collective effort of the whole town to bring Rummel down.

The Irregulars form the backbone, but the support of the community is ultimately what brings Rummel to justice. In conclusion, The North Avenue Irregulars is a highly entertaining and well-crafted movie.

It is an excellent representation of how a group of diverse individuals can come together to tackle a common enemy. Its themes of faith, morality, and community make it a movie that resonates with the viewers.

The plots comic moments provide relief from the intensity of the action, and the character development is strong, making each personas evolution throughout the movie evident. The climax is satisfying and proves that even in small towns, united efforts can provide hope against crime and corruption.

The North Avenue Irregulars movie’s production is been as interesting as its plot and characters. The movie was directed by Bruce Bilson, an American film and television director who was known for his work in sitcoms during the 1980s and 1990s.

The film’s producer was Ron Miller, who at the time was the CEO of Walt Disney Productions. The movie was set in the mid-1970s, a time when small-town America was experiencing significant social and cultural changes.

The story takes place in Ridgefield, a small town in Illinois, which required the film crew to create an authentic illusion of that time period. The production team had to be meticulous about getting the locations, costumes, and props right to transport audiences to 1970s America.

The production team filmed The North Avenue Irregulars in various locations, including Georgia, where they used Marietta City Hall for exterior shots. For the central church location, they found and used St. Edward Catholic Church in Littleton, Colorado.

The crew also filmed scenes in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they used the Chapel Hills Mall to shoot the scene where Vicki takes her driver’s license test. One of the standout features of the film’s production is the outstanding casting.

Each character was cast, thoughtfully and accurately, for their role and personality. Edward Hermann, a consummate actor known for his work in “Richie Rich” and “Gilmore Girls,” played the role of Reverend Hill, and Barbara Harris gave an unforgettable performance as Emily, the bored housewife.

Another aspect of production that stood out in the film was the use of music. The score for the film was composed by Robert F.

Brunner, who created a mix of music to complement the story’s themes. It features a blend of orchestral, blues, and pop music, evoking the feelings of excitement and camaraderie that the characters felt during their missions.

The ending sequence features an upbeat song, “We Can Make It Together” by the American rock band The Partridge Family. Despite the comedic elements of the movie, The North Avenue Irregulars was not an easy film to make.

The scenes required athleticism, precision, and creativity to bring to life on the big screen. Some of the most challenging scenes were the action sequences, such as when the group infiltrated the brothel and casino.

The production team had to create set pieces that were both realistic and safe for the actors. The movie’s action relied on practical effects, which can be seen in the car chase scenes.

The film was produced on a relatively modest budget of $6 million, yet it was able to deliver quality entertainment. This was achieved by meticulous planning, creative approaches to challenges, and collaboration.

The film’s crew and cast members worked hard together to create a memorable movie that has remained a classic years later. In conclusion, the production of The North Avenue Irregulars was a feat of creativity and technical prowess.

From meticulously recreating 1970s small-town America to choreographing the action sequences, the filmmakers achieved an excellent balance of entertainment and quality. The film’s cast and crew collaborated cohesively to create a movie that was not only entertaining but had a profound message about faith, friendship, and standing up to oppression.

Even with its modest budget, The North Avenue Irregulars is a triumph of filmmaking that has stood the test of time. The North Avenue Irregulars was released in 1979 and went on to become a commercial success, grossing $17 million globally.

The film was distributed by Buena Vista Distribution, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, which ensured that the movie was widely promoted and marketed to audiences across the United States. The film was widely anticipated and received positive reviews from critics and moviegoers alike.

Many praised the comedic performances of the cast, the well-written script, and the movie’s fast-paced action. The film also received critical acclaim for its unique story and the fresh perspective it presented on solving social issues.

The movie’s release was supported by a well-executed marketing campaign that highlighted the movie’s unique blend of humor and action. The marketing campaign included movie trailers, billboards, and print ads that showcased the cast and the movie’s plot.

It was marketed as an action-comedy movie that was family-friendly, attracting a broad age group. The film was released in theaters in various formats including 35mm and 70mm prints.

Theaters benefited from the crowds of people eager to see the film as it continues to attract audiences to this day. The success of The North Avenue Irregulars is a testament to the hard work put in by the cast and crew to create a compelling and entertaining movie that audiences loved.

Following its success, The North Avenue Irregulars enjoyed a second wave of attention with the advent of home video. From the VHS era to the current streaming era, viewers were able to enjoy the movie at home.

This allowed a broader audience to have access to the movie, and it now stands as a classic in the genre. In addition to its commercial success, the movie also gained critical acclaim.

The North Avenue Irregulars was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Original Song for its song, “The North Avenue Irregulars.” Although it did not win the award, the nomination brought more mainstream attention to the film and further enhanced its reputation. Since its release, The North Avenue Irregulars has remained a beloved movie that has survived the passing of time.

Its message about standing up for what is right no matter the cost continues to resonate with viewers. The movie has become an integral part of the cultural zeitgeist, referenced and talked about in popular culture.

Despite the passage of time, the movie continues to entertain and inspire viewers. In conclusion, the release of The North Avenue Irregulars was marked by excellent marketing, critical acclaim, and commercial success.

The movie’s release in theaters and its subsequent popularity on home video platforms marked it as a classic that has survived the test of time. Its themes of standing up for the greater good continue to resonate with audiences today, firmly establishing its position as a beloved classic.

The soundtrack of The North Avenue Irregulars has stood the test of time and become a beloved classic in its own right. The music that accompanies the movie was composed by Robert F.

Brunner, who did an excellent job of matching the tone and feel of the movie. The music compliments the various moods and emotions expressed in the movie, enhancing the viewing experience.

One of the most memorable songs on the album is “The North Avenue Irregulars,” written and performed by the American rock band The Doobie Brothers. The song is played during the opening credits and sets the tone for the movie.

It is an upbeat rock song that perfectly captures the spirit of the movie and its mission to fight justice. The songs lyrics about a group of individuals uniting for a similar goal are a great representation of the movie’s plot.

Another noteworthy song on the movie soundtrack is “Love Theme from The North Avenue Irregulars.” Composed by Robert F. Brunner, the song is a slow, emotional melody that is played throughout the movie.

The song is emotive, with a soulful saxophone featuring prominently. It can be heard during the emotional moments in the movie, emphasizing the emotions on screen.

The soundtrack also featured other well-known popular music of the time, including “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and “Takin’ It to the Streets” by The Doobie Brothers. These songs, when combined with the original music in the film, create a vibrant and exciting soundtrack.

One of the significant aspects of the music in the film is the use of instrumental arrangements. The music is not limited to vocal performances, as instrumentals play an essential role in the film.

The instrumental arrangements are unique, weaving blues, rock, and traditional orchestral elements which add depth and complexity to the film’s music. Overall, the music in The North Avenue Irregulars is an essential aspect of the movie.

It highlights the emotional beats of the film, adding depth and dimension to the movie. The music is an essential element in creating the movie’s atmosphere and contributes to the film’s overall success and popularity.

In addition to the original score, the soundtrack for the movie has undergone several re-releases on various platforms. In 2009, the album was re-released on CD with added bonus tracks, including an alternate version of the original song.

This re-release allowed existing fans and new audiences to rediscover the music of the movie, further cementing it in the annals of film and music history. In conclusion, The North Avenue Irregulars’ soundtrack is a testament to the power of music in film.

The eclectic mix of vocal and instrumental arrangements perfectly captures the movie’s mood and emotions. The original compositions of Robert F.

Brunner are strong and memorable, and the use of other popular music of the time helps to anchor the movie in its era. The various re-releases of the soundtrack show that the music has remained as popular as the movie and is beloved by music and film fans decades after its initial release.

In conclusion, The North Avenue Irregulars is a classic movie that has stood the test of time. It is an entertaining and inspiring film that is well-crafted, with a deep and meaningful storyline combined with great acting, superb production, and a captivating soundtrack.

This article has provided an overview of the movie’s plot, characters, production, release, and soundtrack, offering a comprehensive view of this film’s timeless appeal. FAQs:

Q: Who directed The North Avenue Irregulars?

A: The movie was directed by Bruce Bilson. Q: When was The North Avenue Irregulars released?

A: The movie was released in 1979. Q: Who produced The North Avenue Irregulars?

A: Ron Miller, then-CEO of Walt Disney Productions, produced the movie. Q: What are some themes in The North Avenue Irregulars?

A: Some themes in the movie include community, faith, courage, and determination. Q: Why is The North Avenue Irregulars a classic?

A: The movie is a classic due to its excellent portrayal of how a group of people can team up to achieve a common goal and make a difference in their community. Q: Is The North Avenue Irregulars still relevant today?

A: Yes, it is still relevant today as it has a message that resonates with viewers on the importance of standing up for what is right, no matter the cost.

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