Tough Guys (1986)

PG | 104 mins | Comedy | 3 October 1986

Director:

Jeff Kanew

Producer:

Joe Wizan

Cinematographer:

King Baggot

Editor:

Kaja Fehr

Production Designer:

Todd Hallowell

Production Companies:

Touchstone Pictures, Bryna Productions
Full page view
HISTORY

According to Oct and Nov 1986 Box articles, screenwriters James Orr and Jim Cruickshank were inspired to write the film after watching actors Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas perform a “song and dance routine” on the 1985 Academy Awards telecast. They found the camaraderie between the two veterans so touching they wanted to create a vehicle that would capture their friendship on screen.
       A 10 Feb 1986 HR brief, and an 11 Feb 1986 HR production chart, announced that principal photography began on 10 Feb 1986 in Los Angeles, CA. A 2 Apr 1986 Var news item noted that the movie’s budget was set at $10 million, and shooting was set to take place over fifty-one days. Actors Douglas and Lancaster reportedly deferred their salaries and were part owners of the film.
       According to a 20 Mar 1986 DV news item, actor Eli Wallach was hired to replace Adolph Caesar after Caesar’s death on 6 Mar 1986. The 11 Mar 1986 LAHExam noted that Caesar was struck by a heart attack on set, after completing only one day of filming. Director Jeff Kanew did not halt production on the afternoon that Caesar was rushed to the hospital, commenting, “We’re filmmakers first, and people second.”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that to insure a sense of verisimilitude, Douglas and Lancaster did their own stunts, including running along the roof of a speeding train. Filmmakers used Southern Pacific steam engine 4449 (SP4449), which had been taken out of service in Oct 1957. Over the years, the SP4449 participated in commemorative events such as pulling the ... More Less

According to Oct and Nov 1986 Box articles, screenwriters James Orr and Jim Cruickshank were inspired to write the film after watching actors Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas perform a “song and dance routine” on the 1985 Academy Awards telecast. They found the camaraderie between the two veterans so touching they wanted to create a vehicle that would capture their friendship on screen.
       A 10 Feb 1986 HR brief, and an 11 Feb 1986 HR production chart, announced that principal photography began on 10 Feb 1986 in Los Angeles, CA. A 2 Apr 1986 Var news item noted that the movie’s budget was set at $10 million, and shooting was set to take place over fifty-one days. Actors Douglas and Lancaster reportedly deferred their salaries and were part owners of the film.
       According to a 20 Mar 1986 DV news item, actor Eli Wallach was hired to replace Adolph Caesar after Caesar’s death on 6 Mar 1986. The 11 Mar 1986 LAHExam noted that Caesar was struck by a heart attack on set, after completing only one day of filming. Director Jeff Kanew did not halt production on the afternoon that Caesar was rushed to the hospital, commenting, “We’re filmmakers first, and people second.”
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that to insure a sense of verisimilitude, Douglas and Lancaster did their own stunts, including running along the roof of a speeding train. Filmmakers used Southern Pacific steam engine 4449 (SP4449), which had been taken out of service in Oct 1957. Over the years, the SP4449 participated in commemorative events such as pulling the American Freedom Train cross country between 1975 and 1976 to celebrate the U.S. Bicentennial, and partaking in EXPO ‘86 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The railroad sequences were shot on the Eagle Mountain railroad line south of Palm Springs, CA. Other locations used for filming included the steps of Los Angeles City Hall, bars and alleys of Chinatown and Main Street, and the Variety Arts Center ballroom in which actress Alexis Smith danced with Lancaster.
       An invitation in AMPAS library files stated that a screening was held at 8:00 p.m. on 26 Sep 1986 at the Mann’s Village Theatre in Westwood, CA. A 24 Sep 1986 Var news item announced that two benefit screenings were scheduled in Sacramento and San Jose, CA, at the Syufy theatres on 1 Oct 1986. The events raised funds for the San Jose Film Society, the California State Parks Docents Association, and the California State Railroad Museum.
       A 29 Jun 1988 Var news item reported that writers Edmund Fink and Marie Comfort filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in Los Angeles Federal Court, claiming that the Touchstone film possessed substantial plot and character similarities to their 1981 screenplay Ride ‘Em Cowboy. The suit asked for $10 million in punitive damages from Buena Vista Distribution, Walt Disney Co., Silver Screen Management, Silver Screen Partners II, Ron Samuels Entertainment, and six additional individuals. Fink and Comfort also asked for $1.5 million in compensatory damages.
       A 31 Mar 1986 LADN news item stated that the picture marked the theatrical film debut of singer-songwriter-actress Hilary Shepard, a member of the American Girls pop group.
       The following acknowledgments appear in end credits: “In conjunction with the operation, transportation and shooting of the ex-SP4449 locomotive and cars”; “The producers wish to thank: the city of Portland, Oregon; Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society; RCR Company; Southern Pacific Transportation Company; Kaiser Steel Corporation”; and “Excerpts from ‘Terrific Sex: The Dr. Ruth Video’ appear courtesy of Warner Reprise Video.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Oct 1986
p. 10-12
Box Office
Nov 1986
p. 40-44
Daily Variety
20 Mar 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 1986.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Sep 1986
p. 3, 17.
Los Angeles Daily News
31 Mar 1986
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Oct 1986
p. 1, 8.
New York Times
3 Oct 1986
p. 4.
Variety
2 Apr 1986.
---
Variety
24 Sep 1986
---
Variety
1 Oct 1986
p. 13.
Variety
29 Jun 1988
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Featuring (in alphabetical order):
Jimmy Lennon
Red Hot Chili Peppers:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Touchstone Pictures Presents
in Association with Silver Screen Partners II
A Joe Wizan Production
A Jeff Kanew Film
in association with Bryna Productions
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
WRITERS
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Best boy
Still photog
Video tech
Computerized rock lighting des
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Prod illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Leadman
Const coord
Scenic artist
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
MUSIC
Orig score
SOUND
Sd mixer
Cableman
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Supv re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Main title seq des
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod consultant
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
Loc mgr
Dial coach
Prod coord
Asst to Jeff Kanew
Asst to the producers
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod auditor
Unit pub
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
SONGS
“They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To,” music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, performed by Kenny Rogers, Kenny Rogers performance courtesy of RCA Records
“Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home,” written by Hughie Cannon
“Because of You,” written by Arthur Hammerstein and Dudley Wilkerson
+
SONGS
“They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To,” music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, performed by Kenny Rogers, Kenny Rogers performance courtesy of RCA Records
“Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home,” written by Hughie Cannon
“Because of You,” written by Arthur Hammerstein and Dudley Wilkerson
“Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” words by Bob Russell, music by Edward Kennedy Ellington, performed by Bing Crosby
“Set It Straight,” written and performed by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Nasty,” words and music by James Harris III, Terry Lewis and Janet Jackson, performed by Janet Jackson
“Androgynous,” words and music by Hillary Shepard, Louise Goffin and Dennis Herring, performed by The American Girls
“So Hip It Hurts,” words and music by Martin Frye and Mark White, performed by ABC
“Tuff Enuff,” words and music by Kim Wilson, performed by The Fabulous Thunderbirds
“Rags To Riches,” written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, performed by Michael Stanton
“Work That Body,” words and music by Diana Ross, Paul Jabara, and Raymond Chew, performed by Phyllis St. James
“String of Pearls,” written by Jerry Grey
“Moonlight Serenade,” written by Mitchell Parish and Glenn Miller
“Let’s Have Some Fun,” written and performed by Jessie Johnson.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 October 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 3 October 1986
Production Date:
began 10 February 1986
Copyright Claimant:
Touchstone Pictures a.a.d.o. the Walt Disney Company
Copyright Date:
25 September 1986
Copyright Number:
PA299454
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® in selected theaters
Color
Color by DeLuxe®
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28252
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After serving thirty years in prison for a failed train robbery, partners Archie Long and Harry Doyle are released from prison, and giddily plan to visit members of their old gang. When Archie comes upon a newspaper vending machine, he defies Harry, who insists they are respectable citizens now, by forcing it open and stealing a newspaper. As they read the front page, they notice that the “Gold Coast Flyer,” the train they tried to rob thirty years earlier, is being retired. Its last run will occur in one week, but the ex-convicts are annoyed that they are not named in the article in connection with their robbery attempt. Soon, their probation officer, Richie Evans, interrupts, and flatters them by observing that they represent a dying breed. As Richie leaves to get his car, an elderly stranger, Leon B. Little, shoots at the partners, but misses. As Leon scrambles looking for his glasses, the partners escape. When they find Richie, Archie insists on driving, although he finds the latest car technology annoying. At the police station, Sergeant Deke Yablonski is not happy about learning to do payroll on a computer, he would rather track recently released convicts like Archie and Harry whom he sent to prison. At a bank, Archie and Harry notice the wall-mounted surveillance cameras. Harry has no current photo identification, and shows a bank officer a personal photograph instead. Suddenly, two thugs attempt a bank robbery. Harry wrestles the gun from one robber, but Archie persuades him not to shoot the man to avoid ruining his double-breasted suit. Afterward, Richie compliments the men on their grace under pressure, and the bank officer cashes ... +


After serving thirty years in prison for a failed train robbery, partners Archie Long and Harry Doyle are released from prison, and giddily plan to visit members of their old gang. When Archie comes upon a newspaper vending machine, he defies Harry, who insists they are respectable citizens now, by forcing it open and stealing a newspaper. As they read the front page, they notice that the “Gold Coast Flyer,” the train they tried to rob thirty years earlier, is being retired. Its last run will occur in one week, but the ex-convicts are annoyed that they are not named in the article in connection with their robbery attempt. Soon, their probation officer, Richie Evans, interrupts, and flatters them by observing that they represent a dying breed. As Richie leaves to get his car, an elderly stranger, Leon B. Little, shoots at the partners, but misses. As Leon scrambles looking for his glasses, the partners escape. When they find Richie, Archie insists on driving, although he finds the latest car technology annoying. At the police station, Sergeant Deke Yablonski is not happy about learning to do payroll on a computer, he would rather track recently released convicts like Archie and Harry whom he sent to prison. At a bank, Archie and Harry notice the wall-mounted surveillance cameras. Harry has no current photo identification, and shows a bank officer a personal photograph instead. Suddenly, two thugs attempt a bank robbery. Harry wrestles the gun from one robber, but Archie persuades him not to shoot the man to avoid ruining his double-breasted suit. Afterward, Richie compliments the men on their grace under pressure, and the bank officer cashes Harry’s check without I. D. At his office, Richie explains the rules of parole. He gives Archie a job assignment and a voucher for a welfare hotel. Harry is given lodging at the Golden Sunset Retirement home, and will receive a monthly social security income of $435. Harry does not like the idea of retirement at all, but Richie says retirement is mandatory for seventy-year-olds. The rules also state that ex-convicts cannot fraternize for three years. Later, Richie’s boss reminds him that he is not to play favorites with Archie and Harry. If they violate parole, they are to be sent back to prison. Archie walks into Mickey’s bar, an old hangout, and leaves when he realizes it is now a bar for homosexuals. Harry meets Archie outside just as Leon B. Little appears with his shotgun, and orders the friends to walk into an alley. Harry and Archie maneuver the poor-sighted Leon into an open manhole, but they are still unable to figure out who Leon is, or the reason for his vendetta. On the way to the retirement home, a street gang tries to collect money from the ex-convicts, but Archie and Harry diffuse the situation with a few well-placed punches. Once they reach their destination, Archie is convinced that Harry will be running the place within a week. As the friends say goodbye, Archie senses that Harry is sinking into a depression. At the police station, Sgt. Deke Yablonski tries to convince the captain that Archie and Harry will revert to their life of crime. The captain orders Yablonski to get back to record keeping, and forget about sending the crooks back to prison. At the retirement home, Harry does not like the food, and starts a mutiny. Working at a yogurt shop, Archie hates waiting on difficult customers, and dumps yogurt on a boy’s head. Harry meets up with Belle, a former showgirl, and resident aerobics instructor. She invites him to visit and reminisce. Archie is fired, and heads to Tunney’s Gym to work out. However, the former boxing gym is now an aerobics studio, and he has difficulty acclimating to the unfamiliar equipment. Archie is interested in the manager, a pretty blonde named Skye. She invites him to go dancing later in the evening, and he buys himself a new outfit to impress her. Harry takes Belle on a date to a favorite nightclub still in existence. As they dance to standards, Archie is elsewhere, shaking and grinding with Skye to the music of the rock band, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Later, Richie Evans gets Archie a new job as a bus boy at a restaurant. Deke Yablonski visits Archie at the restaurant, and taunts him about his financial circumstances. Archie soon becomes frustrated with demanding customers and quits. Later, he tires of Skye’s constant partying and breaks up with her. Both he and Harry hear a television news report about the end of the Gold Coast Flyer service. Yablonski surprises Harry at a local bar and warns that Harry will slip up, and when that happens, he will be waiting to arrest him. Harry is too drunk to hit Yablonski, but Archie appears and punches the sergeant instead. Harry falls asleep drunk and Archie puts him to bed. In the morning, they decide retirement does not agree with them. They round up old gang members Jimmy Ellis, “Philly the Mouse,” and Dick Schultz. Leon B. Little resurfaces and demands that Richie Evans tell him where he can find Archie and Harry, but Richie plays dumb. Leon discovers the information in Richie’s file cabinet, and takes him hostage. After paying a visit to Dick Schultz, the ex-convicts find that he is suffering from dementia, and complain that their cronies have either become crippled or crazy. Elsewhere, the captain demands that Yablonski stop his surveillance or run the risk of early retirement. Leon B. Little and Richie Evans show up at Belle’s apartment looking for Harry. On the street, Archie and Harry lament that it is impossible to rob a bank without a gang, and decide to rob an armored car. As part of the heist, Harry pretends to have a heart attack. A guard falls for the ruse, and the ex-convicts steal his weapon and the armored car. In an industrial section of town, they realize the armored car contains no cash, only a roll of quarters. When a news report points out that they screwed up the heist, Archie wants to steal the Gold Coast Flyer and ride it to Mexico, going out in a “blaze of glory.” Harry rejects the foolish plan. Meanwhile, Leon B. Little becomes impatient waiting for Harry and Archie. He leaves the apartment, taking Richie and Belle as hostages. Yablonski shows up at the retirement home and is told that Little is in an apartment with a gun. He investigates as Little spies Archie and Harry on the street and starts shooting. The ex-convicts duck to avoid being shot. Richie punches Little, who loses his glasses as he falls. Harry, Archie and Richie use Yablonski’s car to escape. Hidden from police, Archie tries to persuade Richie to help him steal the Gold Coast Flyer. Richie refuses to become a criminal, and Archie drives off in Yablonski’s car, then parks it on the track, blocking the path of the Gold Coast Flyer. As the train stops, Archie grabs his rifle and warns the conductor a robbery is in progress. Harry pops up and sticks a gun in the conductor’s face. The train is full of reporters, and the ex-convicts stop to have their photographs taken and give interviews. Leon B. Little interrupts the proceedings, claiming an associate, Vinnie Mendelman, put out a contract on Archie and Harry in 1956. Little waited thirty years to get the job done. As police surround the train, Harry and Archie persuade Little to team up with them until the conflict is over. Yablonski addresses them through a bullhorn, and Harry agrees to hear what he has to say. Yablonski, who plans to join them on the train, warns that they may not come out alive. The journalists are freed, but Richie Evans boards the train in disguise, and starts the engine. Although police open fire, the train pushes aside Yablonski’s car, and starts down the track. Yablonski follows the train in a helicopter, and informs the robbers that the track ends before it reaches Mexico. The ex-convicts push Leon B. Little out of the caboose and he lands in a river. Archie asks Richie to jump onto the roof of the last car, then detaches it, and reminds Richie that he is not a criminal. If police give him a hard time, he should insist he was coerced. Police scramble as the train barrels past the end of the track, and comes to rest on Mexican soil. Yablonski laughs at their audacity, and tells the helicopter pilot to take him home. Harry and Archie jump off the train. As armed Federales surround them, Archie and Harry talk their way out of a tough situation with a few well-placed kicks to the groin. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.