Clint Eastwood's first comedy feature proved to be one of his most profitable vehicles. Eastwood plays Philo Beddoe, a bare-knuckle boxer who travels from fight to fight in a beat-up truck, accompanied by his "pal" Clyde, a orangutan with a mean right hook, and his human buddy Orville (Geoffrey Lewis). During a stopover, Philo meets and falls in love with would-be country & western singer Lynn Halsey-Taylor (Sondra Locke). After a while, she wants to break off the relationship, but he doesn't -- a shaky plot peg upon which to hang several reels' worth of zany car chases and confrontations with such opponents as a gang of bikers and a battalion of hostile lawmen. Adding to the fun is Ruth Gordon as Eastwood's don't-mess-with-me octogenarian mother, and Beverly D'Angelo as an ace sharpshooter. The enormous box-office success of Every Which Way But Loose yielded an equally wacky -- and equally lucrative -- sequel, Any Which Way You Can.
by Hal Erickson synopsis