- In the Line of Fire
name = In the Line of Fire
caption= Original film poster
amg_id = 1:24644
imdb_id = 0107206
Clint Eastwood John Malkovich Rene Russo Dylan McDermott
producer = Jeff Apple
cinematography = John Bailey
Anne V. Coates
Columbia Pictures Castle Rock Entertainment
July 9, 1993
runtime = 128 minutes
language = English
budget = $40,000,000
gross = $176,997,168
"In the Line of Fire" is a 1993 three-time
Academy Award-nominated thriller filmabout a psychopath who attempts to assassinate the President of the United Statesand the U.S. Secret Service agent who tracks him. The film was directed by Wolfgang Petersenand stars Clint Eastwoodas a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the President and John Malkovichas the assassin.
Eastwood's character is the sole active-duty Secret Service agent remaining from the detail guarding
John F. Kennedyin Dallas, Texas, at the time of his assassination in 1963. Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, Gary Cole, John Mahoney, and Fred Thompsonalso star. The movie was co-produced by Columbia Picturesand Castle Rock Entertainment, with Columbia handling distribution. The film is also highly notable for being the last film that Clint Eastwood starred in that he himself didn't direct.
A sub-plot of the film is the President's reelection campaign. For the scenes of campaign rallies the filmmakers used scenes from
Bill Clinton's campaign events.
The story begins in
Washington D.C., where Frank Horrigan, an aging Secret Service Agent, joins his new partner, Al D’Andrea, on assignment. They travel to a boating marinato meet with members of a counterfeiting ring. While Frank inspects a phony bill, the group’s leader, Mendoza ( Tobin Bell), tells Frank that he has identified Al as a Secret Service Agent. (The Secret Service’s original mission, when founded in the late 19th century, was to track down counterfeiters and they continue in this capacity to this day.) Frank joins Mendoza on his boatwhere they have bound Al to a chair. Frank is forced to show his loyalty by putting a gun to Al’s head and pulling the trigger. The gunis empty (a fact that Frank was able to determine while hefting the weapon) and one of Mendoza’s thugs slips a plastic bagover Al’s head. Frank shoots the plastic bag guy and another of Mendoza's thugs, frees Al, and shows his badge, telling Mendoza he’s under arrest.
Frank investigates a
complaintfrom an elderly landlady( Elsa Raven) about one of her tenants. Frank finds a shrine of sorts to famous assassinations. Later, when Frank and Al acquire a search warrant and enter the man’s apartment they discover that the pictures in the shrine have vanished and only one remains: a much younger Frank standing behind John F. Kennedy.
Frank receives a phone call the next evening from a man who insists Frank call him “Booth” after
Abraham Lincoln’s assassin. The caller admires Booth because he had “flair, panache.” He tells Frank that he plans to kill the current president. The man also seems to know a great deal of Frank’s history as a Secret Service agent. Frank reports the call to his superiors and an investigation is opened.
In a side story, Frank starts a relationship with another agent, Lilly Raines. She helps him get on protection detail for the president, a duty Frank hasn’t had for years and, because of his age, is out of shape for.
Frank’s sleuthing reveals that Booth is actually a man named Mitch Leary, a former
CIAoperative (a “wetboy”) who has suffered a mental breakdownand is now a psychotic killer. Leary turns out to be incredibly resourceful; he opens a phony bank accountin Los Angelesand is a master of disguise. He is also proficient at gunsmithing and builds a composite (i.e. non-metallic, in this case) zip gunwith the bullets hidden in a key chain, so as not to set off any alarms at security gates.
Leary taunts Frank with several more phone calls throughout the film. At one point the tracing of his call leads Frank and his fellow agents to a
payphoneat nearby Lafayette Park, one block from the White House. As Leary flees the scene, he is nearly run over by a passing motorist. (Frank impounds the car for fingerprints.) Leary also shows up at several public events the current president attends, knowing that Frank will be there on protection detail. At one event, Leary pops several balloons and an ill Frank causes an embarrassing scene, thinking they are gunshots.
One night Al informs Frank he's going to retire in the morning because of nightmares of how Mendoza's men were going to kill him. But he decides not to because Frank insists he needs Al’s help.
Another call from Leary the next day leads Frank and Al to an apartment building where the two spot Leary sneaking away. A chase ensues along the roofs of several buildings. It ends when Leary shoots Al and kills him, though in an ironic twist, Leary saves Frank from falling from the building's ledge. Frank is devastated about Al’s death and becomes even more determined to capture Leary.
Frank concludes that Leary will attempt the assassination in
Los Angeles, at a huge fundraising event to be held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. Frank unnecessarily roughs up a bellhopwho has lost his identification card. The incident is filmed by a local news channeland Frank is thrown off protection duty.
While he travels to the
airport, another clue, a coded phone number, is discovered by Frank. He finds out that Leary had opened a bank account under a false name and had sent a large donation checkto the local office of the president’s party, thereby securing an invitation to the fundraiser.
Frank returns to the hotel with the phony name and demands to see the guest seating list at the banquet taking place. He recognizes Leary in disguise at a table near the stage and rushes to stop him. Leary draws his gun and fires just as Frank jumps into the path of the bullet (he is wearing his
bulletproof vest). The President is rushed immediately from the scene in his motorcade.
Leary grabs Frank as a hostage and forces him out of the
banquet halland into the hotel's external elevator. They travel upwards several stories and Leary breaks all the interior lights so nearby snipers can’t target him. Leary threatens to kill Frank and himself and also tells Frank that he saved the aging agent’s career. Frank still has his earpieceand microphoneand is able to talk to Lilly and reveal Leary’s position in the elevator for the snipers. They shoot into the elevator, missing both men, but give Frank the opportunity to overpower Leary. The scuffle ends with Leary clinging to the outside of the elevator. Frank offers Leary his help but Leary lets go and plummets to his death.
Frank decides to retire and he and Lilly return to Washington. At his apartment, he finds a
voicemailmessage from Leary, bidding him farewell believing he had succeeded in the assassination attempt. The two of them leave before the message is finished.
Clint Eastwoodas Frank Horrigan
John Malkovichas Mitch Leary
Rene Russoas Lilly Raines
Dylan McDermottas Al D'Andrea
Gary Coleas Bill Watts
Fred Dalton Thompsonas Harry Sargent
John Mahoneyas Sam Campagna
Gregory Alan Williamsas Matt Wilder
Jim Curleyas The President of the United States
Sally Hughesas the First Lady of the United States
Tobin Bellas Mendoza
Critical and audience response
"In The Line of Fire" received overwhelmingly positive reviews, carrying a "Certified Fresh" rating of 97% on
Rotten Tomatoes. [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/in_the_line_of_fire/]
The film was a considerable financial success as well, earning $176,997,168 worldwide ($102,314,823 in North America, and $74,682,345 in other territories), while its budget was about $40 million.
*Assassinations in fiction
*imdb title|id=0107206|title=In the Line of Fire
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