Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)

PG-13 | 121 mins | Adventure | 11 October 1985

Director:

Guy Hamilton

Producer:

Larry Spiegel

Cinematographer:

Andrew Laszlo

Editor:

Mark Melnick

Production Designer:

Jackson DeGovia
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HISTORY

       The film went through several working titles including: Remo: The First Adventure, Remo Williams and the Secret of Sinanju, Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous, Unarmed and Dangerous, The Destroyer, Remo, and Remo: The Adventure Begins.
       According to the 28 Apr 1980 HR, Spiegel-Bergman Films, Inc. and Dick Clark Cinema Productions, Inc. acquired film rights to Pinnacle Books’ The Destroyer series of novels, written by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy. At the time, the series, originally published in 1963, comprised thirty-nine books. Lorenzo Semple, Jr. was announced as screenwriter, but was later replaced by Christopher Wood. The 30 Apr 1980 HR reported an $8-10 million budget, and that Dick Clark Cinema Prods was planning to produce the picture independently. Over a year later, the 18 Nov 1981 HR announced that the film had been “revived again” by Dick Clark and noted a $12 million budget.
       According to the 24 May 1985 HR, producers Larry Spiegel, Dick Clark, and Judy Goldstein “shopped the project around,” and procured a deal with Orion Pictures. Principal photography began on 15 Nov 1984, according to the 20 Nov 1984 HR production chart. Locations announced were New York City and Mexico City, Mexico.
       The 2 Dec 1984 LAT announced that the casting of Caucasian actor, Joel Grey, as the Korean Sinanju master, “Chiun,” caused discord between filmmakers and the Los Angeles, CA, Asian community. Producer Larry Spiegel commented that an international search was conducted for an Asian actor, but ... More Less

       The film went through several working titles including: Remo: The First Adventure, Remo Williams and the Secret of Sinanju, Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous, Unarmed and Dangerous, The Destroyer, Remo, and Remo: The Adventure Begins.
       According to the 28 Apr 1980 HR, Spiegel-Bergman Films, Inc. and Dick Clark Cinema Productions, Inc. acquired film rights to Pinnacle Books’ The Destroyer series of novels, written by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy. At the time, the series, originally published in 1963, comprised thirty-nine books. Lorenzo Semple, Jr. was announced as screenwriter, but was later replaced by Christopher Wood. The 30 Apr 1980 HR reported an $8-10 million budget, and that Dick Clark Cinema Prods was planning to produce the picture independently. Over a year later, the 18 Nov 1981 HR announced that the film had been “revived again” by Dick Clark and noted a $12 million budget.
       According to the 24 May 1985 HR, producers Larry Spiegel, Dick Clark, and Judy Goldstein “shopped the project around,” and procured a deal with Orion Pictures. Principal photography began on 15 Nov 1984, according to the 20 Nov 1984 HR production chart. Locations announced were New York City and Mexico City, Mexico.
       The 2 Dec 1984 LAT announced that the casting of Caucasian actor, Joel Grey, as the Korean Sinanju master, “Chiun,” caused discord between filmmakers and the Los Angeles, CA, Asian community. Producer Larry Spiegel commented that an international search was conducted for an Asian actor, but Grey was chosen for both his acting and acrobatic ability, necessary for the role. LAT also mentioned that director Guy Hamilton had been hired. Hamilton was known for directing several "James Bond" films.
       The 1 Feb 1985 Back Stage reported filming was currently underway in Mexico City for a total of ten weeks.
       Orion Pictures had begun planning a sequel, based on positive reaction to product reel footage created for the ShoWest film market, according to the 20 Mar 1985 HR.
       According to the 7 May 1985 LAT, actor Joel Grey felt “a great responsibility” to do justice to playing a Korean character. He spent weeks perfecting the makeup, and four-hours a day in the makeup chair during production. Grey believed he was successful after walking through Chinatown in full-makeup without attracting attention.
       The 24 May 1985 HR reported filming was in production for fifteen-weeks, and included Washington, D.C., as one of the locations. HR announced a $20 million budget, but retracted the statement in their 28 May 1985 issue stating that “the actual budget cost has not been disclosed.”
       The 24 May 1985 HR noted filming had occurred for the first time ever on-location at the Statue of Liberty in New York City. However, the Jun 1985 Life magazine announced that filmmakers were turned away from filming at the monument due to a refitting of the superstructure which required scaffolding to surround the statue. A seventy-five foot fiberglass replica of Lady Liberty’s head and shoulders was created for $500,000, and built in the Iztapalapa borough of Mexico City.
       According to the 4 Sep 1985 HR, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins received strong support from the Asian community, and the Seoul Sister City Committee in San Francisco, CA, requested a world premiere be held as a benefit gala for the organization. The 9 Oct 1985 HR reported that actors Joel Grey and Fred Ward attended the benefit premiere in San Francisco.
       The 9 Oct 1985 Var announced that Signet Books had plans to publish a novelization of the film later that month.
       The 18 Oct 1985 LAT reported box-office totals of $3.4 million after its first four days in 1,170 theaters. The disappointing results put any additional Remo films into question, despite Fred Ward having agreed to three more sequels.
       A made-for-television movie, Remo Williams: The Prophecy was released in 1988, produced once again by Dick Clark and Larry Spiegel. However, none of the original cast members were involved with the project.
       The film received an Academy Award nomination in the category of Makeup for Carl Fullerton, and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for Joel Grey.
      End credits include the following acknowledgments: “The Producers wish to thank: Steven-Charles Jaffe; Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., A. J. Anello/Site Safety Director; Michael Kelly/Universal Builders Supply; Patricia Scott - New York Film & Theater Broadcasting Office; New York Police Department Movie/TV Unit; Lindsley Parsons, Sr., Richard Soams and Kurt Woolner/Film Finances, Inc.; Paul Sammon; Margaret Roiphe; Robert Cook/Burroughs Corporation; Matrix One Fitness Complex - Los Angeles; Koreana Art & Antiques - N.Y.C.; Puma USA, Inc.” Also acknowledged: “Filmed on location in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Mexico.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Back Stage
1 Feb 1985
p. 1, 20, 22.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 1980
p. 1, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 1981
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 1985
p. 1, 21.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 1985
p. 3, 18.
Life
Jun 1985
p. 86.
Los Angeles Times
2 Dec 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
7 May 1985
Section VI, p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
11 Oct 1985
Section D, p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
18 Oct 1985
Section VI, p. 1, 16.
New York Times
11 Oct 1985
p. 17.
Variety
9 Oct 1985.
---
Variety
9 Oct 1985
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Dick Clark - Larry Spiegel - Mel Bergman Production
A Guy Hamilton Film
An Orion® Pictures Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir/U.S.
1st asst dir/Mexico
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
1st asst dir, 2d unit, New York
Unit prod mgr, Mexico
Unit prod mgr, Mexico
1st asst dir, Mexico
2d asst dir, Mexico
1st asst dir, 2d unit, Mexico
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Key grip
Gaffer
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Still photog
Video playback
Best boy/Elec
Elec
Best boy/Grip
Dir of photog, 2d unit, New York
Dir of photog, 2d unit, New York
1st asst cam, 2d unit, New York
1st asst cam, 2d unit, New York
1st asst cam, 2d unit, New York
2d asst cam, 2d unit, New York
2d asst cam, 2d unit, New York
Cam op, Mexico
Head elec, Mexico
Head grip, Mexico
Dolly grip, Mexico
Dir of photog, 2d unit, Mexico
Cam op, 2d unit, Mexico
Cam op, 2d unit, Mexico
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir/New York
Art dir/Mexico
Art dir/Mexico
Art dir/Mexico
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Art dir, Mexico
Art dir, Mexico
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed, Mexico
Asst ed, Mexico
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Const coord
Master scenic artist
Const grip
Const grip
Props
Set dresser
Set dresser
Statue of Liberty head sculptor, Mexico
Sculptor, Mexico
Sculptor, Mexico
Prop master, Mexico
Asst set dec, Mexico
Set dresser, Mexico
Props, Mexico
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv/U.S.
Costumer/Mexico
Asst costumer/Mexico
Ward supv/Mexico
Ward/U.S.
Ward/U.S.
Ward/U.S.
Ward head, Mexico
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus ed, For Metrognome, LTD.
Asst mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Mus coord
Mus rec facilities
Mus rec facilities
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Sd des
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd eff rec
Re-rec tech
Re-rec tech
Re-rec tech
Re-rec tech
Re-rec tech
Re-rec tech
Re-rec tech
Re-rec tech
Re-rec tech
Sd, Mexico
Sd asst, Mexico
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Addl spec eff
Spec eff asst
Spec eff, Mexico
Spec eff, Mexico
Computer graphics des by
Titles and opticals by
Main title seq prod by
Main title seq des by
Main title seq photog by
MAKEUP
Spec makeup by
Hair des
Makeup artist
Makeup, Mexico
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Exec consultant
Prod coord
Asst to prods
Prod auditor
Animal action by
Teamster capt
Transportation coord
Creative consultant
Asst auditor
Post prod auditor
Extras casting
Voice casting
Casting asst
Casting asst
Asst prod coord
Loc asst
Customs coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Unit pub
Dial coach
Martial arts consultant
Travel arrangements by
Travel arrangements by
Post prod services provided by
Post prod supv
Prod coord
Prod coord
Prod coord
Prod coord
Scr supv, 2d unit, New York
Prod supv, Dalton/Fenske, Mexico
Prod supv, Mexico
Loc mgr, Mexico
Casting agent, Mexico
Prod coord, Mexico
Prod secy, Mexico
Extras casting asst, Mexico
Prod asst, Mexico
Prod asst, Mexico
Airport liaison, Mexico
Scr supv, 2d unit, Mexico
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the series of novels The Destroyer by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy.
SONGS
"Remo's Theme (What If)," performed by Tommy Shaw, written by Tommy Shaw and Richie Cannata, courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
"Janet," performed by the Commodores, written by Franne Golde, Paul Fox, Bobby Caldwell, courtesy of Motown Record Corporation.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Remo Williams
Remo: The First Adventure
Remo Williams and the Secret of Sinanju
Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous
Unarmed and Dangerous
The Destroyer
Remo: The Adventure Begins
Remo
Release Date:
11 October 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 11 Oct 1985
Production Date:
15 Nov 1984--28 Feb 1985
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
21 May 1986
Copyright Number:
PA288762
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by de luxe®
Duration(in mins):
121
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Countries:
Mexico, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27872
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, police officer Samuel “Sam” Edward Macon gets into a fistfight with three men while attempting to arrest them. After taking a beating, he gets the upper hand, and knocks them out. Sam returns to his patrol car to rest, and a fourth criminal drives into the back of his vehicle, purposely pushing his cruiser into the East River. Sam is supposedly killed, and given a police funeral. Meanwhile, Sam awakens in a hospital, and barely recognizes himself. He is visited by a man named Conn MacCleary, and learns he has been recruited by a secret organization, and his face has been surgically altered to disguise his identity. Along with his transformed face, Sam is given the alias “Remo Williams,” and told he will act as a vigilante against corrupt police officers and politicians. Remo leaves the hospital in a stolen ambulance. However, MacCleary emerges from the back, and directs him to drive, at gunpoint. They arrive at a research facility known as the National Bank. Remo is introduced to Harold W. Smith, the head of the secret organization, who uses his position as Assistant Research Manager to track criminal government activities. Smith threatens Remo’s life if he refuses to assist, and is told that the three of them are the only members of the organization. MacCleary drives Remo to his first assignment, and sends him into a building to murder a man. Inside, Remo finds an elderly Asian man named Chiun. Remo asks the man where his boss is, assuming that is who he was sent to kill. However, Chiun ... +


In New York City, police officer Samuel “Sam” Edward Macon gets into a fistfight with three men while attempting to arrest them. After taking a beating, he gets the upper hand, and knocks them out. Sam returns to his patrol car to rest, and a fourth criminal drives into the back of his vehicle, purposely pushing his cruiser into the East River. Sam is supposedly killed, and given a police funeral. Meanwhile, Sam awakens in a hospital, and barely recognizes himself. He is visited by a man named Conn MacCleary, and learns he has been recruited by a secret organization, and his face has been surgically altered to disguise his identity. Along with his transformed face, Sam is given the alias “Remo Williams,” and told he will act as a vigilante against corrupt police officers and politicians. Remo leaves the hospital in a stolen ambulance. However, MacCleary emerges from the back, and directs him to drive, at gunpoint. They arrive at a research facility known as the National Bank. Remo is introduced to Harold W. Smith, the head of the secret organization, who uses his position as Assistant Research Manager to track criminal government activities. Smith threatens Remo’s life if he refuses to assist, and is told that the three of them are the only members of the organization. MacCleary drives Remo to his first assignment, and sends him into a building to murder a man. Inside, Remo finds an elderly Asian man named Chiun. Remo asks the man where his boss is, assuming that is who he was sent to kill. However, Chiun asserts he is the sole occupant, and stands still as Remo shoots at him, stealthily dodging the bullets. Chiun beats Remo by barely lifting a finger. MacCleary enters, and asks Chiun’s opinion of their new recruit, and Chiun agrees to train Remo despite the fact that he “moves like a baboon.” MacCleary orders Remo to live with Chiun, and learn to use his mind as a weapon with the ancient art of Sinanju. Meanwhile, Harold Smith researches the financial records of businessman George Grove and learns that his project, “HARP,” an early weapons detection system he created for the government, earns billions for his company, Grove Industries. Smith discovers that someone else is trying to access Grove’s file. Elsewhere, Major Rayner Fleming is denied access to the HARP files, and reports the error to her superior, General Scott Watson. She demands the oversight be corrected and her access reinstated. Remo becomes restless with Chiun’s slow teaching methods. Sometime later, Major Fleming oversees the testing of a new “AR-60” gun, also created by Grove Industries, and witnesses it backfire on a soldier, killing him. General Watson reports the mishap to weapons funder, George Grove, who advises Watson to bury the report. Major Rayner Fleming confronts Grove about the excessive spending for his weapons project. Harold Smith tracks her actions via computer, and notes Grove’s reaction to Major Fleming’s inquiries. Smith sends MacCleary and Remo to get close to Rayner Fleming, and protect her from Stone, one of Grove’s henchmen. Stone returns to Grove with photographs of Remo, and Grove orders him to kill Remo in order to see what organization comes forward to claim his body. As Remo practices his Sinanju balance techniques on scaffolding surrounding the Statue of Liberty, Stone hires three construction workers to kill him. Remo fights the men. When a large bag drops from the sky, Remo’s attackers mistake it for his body, and are convinced he is dead. However, Remo emerges and attacks the men. Stone watches from below and sends two more gunmen after Remo. Chiun arrives and kills a man who aims his gun at Remo’s back. Remo reports Stone’s attack to Harold Smith, but Smith refuses to go after Grove claiming it would hurt their operation. Smith explains that if their identities were discovered, they would have to take their own lives to protect their secrets. Chiun admits he has been ordered to kill Remo in the event of their discovery. Sometime later, MacCleary and Remo break into Grove’s aerospace facility. While MacCleary steals computer files, Remo discovers the HARP prototype. Remo inadvertently triggers an alarm, and their presence becomes known. As the men flee, MacCleary is shot in the back. He gives Remo the files, and tells him to leave. MacCleary is captured and placed in a makeshift hospital bed, as Grove’s men prepare to question him. Left alone, MacCleary uses a knife to cut his life support machine, and kills himself. Smith tells Remo that the HARP defense system does not work, and Grove is scamming the government out of millions. He sends Remo to follow Grove to a military weapons testing site called “Mount Promise,” and advises him to make Grove’s death look like a “perfect accident.” At Mount Promise, George Grove shows Major Fleming photographs of her and Remo, and insinuates that they are working together. She leaves in anger at the accusations, and encounters Remo outside, disguised in Army fatigues. As she insults him, it occurs to her that Remo works for Army intelligence, and he allows her to believe this notion. Major Fleming apologizes to Remo, believing they are both investigating the faulty AR-60 weapon created by Grove. Grove sends one of his men to handle Major Fleming, and she and Remo are taken to a testing facility, and led in to an airtight chamber. When they are locked inside, Remo sees Grove’s henchman, Stone, through the chamber window, and realizes they are trapped. Stone gasses them, knocking Major Fleming unconscious. He enters the room wearing a gas mask, and strangles Remo, who removes Stone’s gas mask, and smashes his face into the window, pressing the thug’s diamond-encrusted front tooth into the glass, creating a weak point. Remo takes a running leap, smashing the window to escape. Grove learns that there was a fatality in the gas chamber, and is surprised to learn it was Stone, not Remo and Fleming who died. In the presence of General Watson, Grove hides his disappointment. General Watson believes Remo murdered Stone and kidnapped Major Fleming, and orders his men to capture Remo. Elsewhere, Remo and Rayner Fleming make their way through a forest, and become friendly, nearly sharing a kiss. Chiun follows them into the woods, and insults Remo for fraternizing with Fleming, who is insulted when Chiun tells her that a woman’s place is “at home making babies.” Remo accuses Chiun of being there to kill him, in the event that he is unsuccessful murdering George Grove. However, Chiun claims he only came to oversee his pupil’s Sinanju practice. The threesome make their way through the forest, and hijack a truck they find being repaired by the side of a road. However, the brakes fail, and they are forced to jump from the moving vehicle. Chiun did not bail out in time, but Remo finds him, unharmed, in the crushed truck cab. Chiun calls Remo “my son,” and waits with Major Fleming while Remo completes his mission to kill Grove. As Remo runs through a field, mines explode around him. He leaps onto a log being transferred by a pulley, rigged above the forest. While he dangles from the log, Grove fires high-powered artillery at him from a truck. Remo releases the log, which rolls down a hill and hits the truck carrying Grove and General Watson, and knocks it over a cliff. Remo joins Chiun and Major Fleming at a boat dock to make their escape. However, Grove emerges from the wreckage, pointing a gun at him. Remo dodges the bullets using his Sinanju training. He ignites a fire, which moves toward the overturned truck, causing an explosion that kills Grove. Elsewhere, Harold Smith listens to instantaneous classified reports of George Grove and General Watson’s deaths. As Army officers surround them, Chiun runs across the surface of the water toward the boat. Remo and Chiun flee, leaving Fleming behind to maintain her innocence. She smiles in amusement as they escape. +

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

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