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HISTORY

Principal photography began 17 Apr 1989, according to the 19 Apr 1989 DV and 25 Apr 1989 HR, with a scheduled “wrap date” of 30 Jun 1989. Though Downtown takes place in Philadelphia, PA, the film was set to be filmed “entirely in Los Angeles with about one week of second unit lensing done on location in Philly.” Local newspapers, including the 27 Aug 1989 Philadelphia Inquirer and 16 Jan 1990 Philadelphia Daily News, questioned how a police officer could be transferred from a suburban township to the city of Philadelphia, which is a separate government entity, and why a precinct on Diamond Street in North Philadelphia would be called “downtown,” when that designation in real life refers to Central Philadelphia. One reviewer also remarked about a mountain in the background of a back lot chase sequence, pointing out that Philadelphia had no mountains.
       The original script in AMPAS library files was alternately titled Diamond Street. Call sheets in AMPAS library files list the following California locations: La Canada ("Bryn Mawr"), Claremont, Pasadena, University Park ("Dennis Curren's" home), Los Angeles, Ports O' Call in San Pedro, Woodland Hills (the "Sweet" estate), and stages 6 and 14 at the Warner Center in Woodland Hills.
       Reviews for Downtown were generally unfavorable. The 13 Jan 1990 Washington Post called it “just a B-grade movie, aimed at the lowest common entertainment denominator.” The 16 Jan 1990 Chicago Tribune disliked the film because it “lurches crudely and disruptively between sitcom flippancy, sickening violence, cartoonish physical comedy and oozing sentimentality.” The 17 Jan 1990 USA Today ... More Less

Principal photography began 17 Apr 1989, according to the 19 Apr 1989 DV and 25 Apr 1989 HR, with a scheduled “wrap date” of 30 Jun 1989. Though Downtown takes place in Philadelphia, PA, the film was set to be filmed “entirely in Los Angeles with about one week of second unit lensing done on location in Philly.” Local newspapers, including the 27 Aug 1989 Philadelphia Inquirer and 16 Jan 1990 Philadelphia Daily News, questioned how a police officer could be transferred from a suburban township to the city of Philadelphia, which is a separate government entity, and why a precinct on Diamond Street in North Philadelphia would be called “downtown,” when that designation in real life refers to Central Philadelphia. One reviewer also remarked about a mountain in the background of a back lot chase sequence, pointing out that Philadelphia had no mountains.
       The original script in AMPAS library files was alternately titled Diamond Street. Call sheets in AMPAS library files list the following California locations: La Canada ("Bryn Mawr"), Claremont, Pasadena, University Park ("Dennis Curren's" home), Los Angeles, Ports O' Call in San Pedro, Woodland Hills (the "Sweet" estate), and stages 6 and 14 at the Warner Center in Woodland Hills.
       Reviews for Downtown were generally unfavorable. The 13 Jan 1990 Washington Post called it “just a B-grade movie, aimed at the lowest common entertainment denominator.” The 16 Jan 1990 Chicago Tribune disliked the film because it “lurches crudely and disruptively between sitcom flippancy, sickening violence, cartoonish physical comedy and oozing sentimentality.” The 17 Jan 1990 USA Today branded Downtown as “derivative, dull, dopey, degrading, dumb, deplorable,” and criticized star Anthony Edwards for being “so bland he makes Wonder Bread look funky.” The Mar 1990 Box, which called Downtown “loud, grossly racist and stupid,” reported that it “lost a full 50 percent of its business during its second weekend, racking up a pathetic gross of $1.5 million.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Mar 1990.
---
Chicago Tribune
16 Jan 1990
p. 5.
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1989
p. 1, 21.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 1989.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 1990
p. 4, 88.
Los Angeles Times
15 Jan 1990
p. 9.
New York Times
13 Jan 1990
p. 14.
Philadelphia Daily News
16 Jan 1990
p. 36.
Philadelphia Inquirer
27 Aug 1989
Section L, p. 3.
The Washington Post
13 Jan 1990
Section D, p. 1.
USA Today
17 Jan 1990
p. 4D.
Variety
17 Jan 1990
pp. 27-28.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Joe Pantoliano
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PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Gale Anne Hurd Production
A Richard Benjamin Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Best boy elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Company grip
Company grip
Company grip
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
Gaffer, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set des
Set des
Leadman
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Stage foreman
Mill foreman
Propmaker foreman
Propmaker foreman
Paint foreman
Labor foreman
Labor foreman
Labor foreman
Prop master, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men's cost supv
Women's cost supv
Set costumer
Set costumer
Cost supv, 2d unit
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom person
Cable person
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
Rerec mixer
ADR stage
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Titles and opticals
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hair stylist
Makeup artist, 2d unit
Makeup artist, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting assoc
Scr supv
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod coord
Asst to Ms. Hurd
Asst to Mr. Maguire
Asst to Mr. Benjamin
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Auditor
Asst auditor
Asst auditor
Casting asst
Casting asst
Unit pub
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Picture car coord
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Mr. Whitaker's trainer
Mr. Whitaker's trainer
Projectionist
Voice casting
Scr supv, 2d unit
Scr supv, 2d unit
Loc mgr, 2d unit
Cranes and dollies by
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
DeLuxe col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Downtown," written by Def Jef, Matt Dike and Mike Ross, produced by Matt Dike and Mike Ross, performed by Def Jef, courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Records
"Principal's Office," written by Michael Young, Matt Dike and Mike Ross, performed by Young M.C., courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Records
"Shut Down," written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
+
SONGS
"Downtown," written by Def Jef, Matt Dike and Mike Ross, produced by Matt Dike and Mike Ross, performed by Def Jef, courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Records
"Principal's Office," written by Michael Young, Matt Dike and Mike Ross, performed by Young M.C., courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Records
"Shut Down," written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"I Get Around," written by Brian Wilson, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"Catch A Wave," written by Brian Wilson, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"Surfin' U.S.A.," written by Chuck Berry and Brian Wilson, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"Surfer Girl," written by Brian Wilson, performed by The Beach Boys, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc., arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
"I Go To Work," written and performed by Kool Moe Dee, courtesy of Jive Records
"It Takes Two," written by Rob Ginyard, performed by Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock, courtesy of Profile Records, Inc.
"Me, Myself and I," written by Kelvin Mercer-David Jolicoeur-Vincent Mason-Paul Huston-George Clinton-Phillippe Wynn, performed by De La Soul, courtesy of Tommy Boy Music Inc.
"Shake It," written and performed by MC Shy D, courtesy of Skyywalker Records.
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COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Diamond Street
Release Date:
12 January 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 12 January 1990
New York opening: week of 13 January 1990
Production Date:
17 April--30 June 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
16 January 1990
Copyright Number:
PA442188
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® Cameras by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29813
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, policemen Alex Kearney and Mickey “Mick” Witlin, patrolling the suburb of Bryn Mawr, break up a fight between two boys at a lemonade stand. Driving the boys home, Alex pulls over his girlfriend, Lori Mitchell, and pretends to give her a ticket until she bribes him with a kiss. Later, as Mick gets out to urinate behind a tree, a sports car driven by Jerome Sweet passes at high speed and runs a stop sign. Without Mick, Alex pursues Sweet to his estate and demands to see his license and registration. Sweet picks up a rock and smashes his passenger window to get the registration. By the time Alex returns to his station, his boss, Inspector Ben Glass, berates him for harassing Sweet, a wealthy retired policeman’s son who recently donated $250,000 to police causes. Sweet falsely charges Alex with smashing his car window. Inspector Glass transfers Alex downtown to the Diamond Street District in the heart of Philadelphia’s black “ghetto.” Meanwhile, two African-American felons, Marcus Valentine and Ronnie, steal a Mercedes-Benz. The next day, Alex Kearney drives to work in Lori’s Volkswagen and parks outside the police station. Inside, he steps into the middle of a shootout between police and a gang trying to break a thug out of jail. Suddenly, black plainclothes detective Dennis Curren puts a shotgun to Alex’s head, fools the thugs into thinking he is one of them, and dispatches the leaders. Captain Henry Coleman, angry that a white suburban cop has been sent to his district, assigns Alex as partner to Dennis, who is equally angry to be saddled with him. On patrol, a robbery call goes bad when Alex hears ... +


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, policemen Alex Kearney and Mickey “Mick” Witlin, patrolling the suburb of Bryn Mawr, break up a fight between two boys at a lemonade stand. Driving the boys home, Alex pulls over his girlfriend, Lori Mitchell, and pretends to give her a ticket until she bribes him with a kiss. Later, as Mick gets out to urinate behind a tree, a sports car driven by Jerome Sweet passes at high speed and runs a stop sign. Without Mick, Alex pursues Sweet to his estate and demands to see his license and registration. Sweet picks up a rock and smashes his passenger window to get the registration. By the time Alex returns to his station, his boss, Inspector Ben Glass, berates him for harassing Sweet, a wealthy retired policeman’s son who recently donated $250,000 to police causes. Sweet falsely charges Alex with smashing his car window. Inspector Glass transfers Alex downtown to the Diamond Street District in the heart of Philadelphia’s black “ghetto.” Meanwhile, two African-American felons, Marcus Valentine and Ronnie, steal a Mercedes-Benz. The next day, Alex Kearney drives to work in Lori’s Volkswagen and parks outside the police station. Inside, he steps into the middle of a shootout between police and a gang trying to break a thug out of jail. Suddenly, black plainclothes detective Dennis Curren puts a shotgun to Alex’s head, fools the thugs into thinking he is one of them, and dispatches the leaders. Captain Henry Coleman, angry that a white suburban cop has been sent to his district, assigns Alex as partner to Dennis, who is equally angry to be saddled with him. On patrol, a robbery call goes bad when Alex hears screams in an apartment and is attacked by a man, a woman, and six kids in the middle of a domestic dispute. Alex runs naked downstairs with only his badge and gun belt. When he returns to the station, Alex finds that thieves have stripped Lori’s VW. At home that evening, Lori is furious, and demands Alex quit the force, but he explains that the new assignment is his chance to work with real cops. The next morning, Alex’s former partner, Mick, drops him off at Diamond Street, and as Mick tries to find his way to a freeway entrance, he sees Marcus Valentine and Ronnie drive a Mercedes-Benz into an alley. The men pull up to a parked car, and Valentine gets out and receives an envelope from a man named White. As Valentine returns to the Mercedes, Mick arrests him and Ronnie. White bloodies himself, gets out of his car, and runs toward Mick, pleading to be saved from the “robbers.” He climbs into the patrol car as Mick radios for backup, and cuts Mick’s throat. Later, in Jerome Sweet’s office, White claims he had to kill the policeman or else the gang members would talk. Sweet tells him to start “moving tonight.” That night, as Lori consoles Alex over the loss of their friend, White and dockworker Gary Haber direct a dozen stolen luxury automobiles from a warehouse to a waiting cargo ship. The next morning, Diamond Street detectives investigate Mick’s murder, but Captain Coleman orders Alex to stay in the station house. Dennis gives him a job of collating stacks of files on felons who steal expensive cars with those of felons who use weapons. When Alex asks why the district has no computer, Dennis laughs. Later, Alex joins Dennis at an all-black “soul food” restaurant, but as they return to headquarters, he becomes sick. While Alex throws up in the bathroom, Matthew, an arrestee on drugs, grabs a policeman’s gun, holds it to a girl’s head, and babbles about taking her to the “promised land.” Using a public address system, Alex tells the hostage-taker in a deep, echoed voice to “let my people go.” Matthew scoffs until Alex vomits again, making a sound that convinces the crazed felon to surrender. The next day, Alex returns to Diamond Street with a list of names he ran through the Bryn Mawr police computer. One, warehouse worker Bruce “Brucie” Tucker, is familiar to Dennis Curren, so they visit him. Alex objects when Dennis slaps and threatens Brucie, because now anything he says will be useless in court. Brucie tells the two cops that a luxury car theft gang operates out of a warehouse near the docks. Dennis’ wife, Christine Curren, later visits headquarters. Alex befriends her and gets invited, over Dennis’ objections, to their son’s birthday party. That evening, while Alex plays with the kids, Dennis thinks he is ridiculous for bringing Beach Boys cassette tapes and singing along karaoke-style. The next morning, when Alex runs into Jerome Sweet, the man mocks his lousy new police assignment downtown. Later that day, Captain Henry Coleman is angry that Alex is working the streets with Dennis Curren. Dennis defends his partner, until he learns that Luisa Diaz, another detective, gave Alex a valuable lead she should have given to him. Dennis tells Alex he does not want to be buddies, because he has already lost a partner. When they drive to a club, Alex insists on leading the investigation, but the black clientele chases him into the street. Inside, Dennis grabs Marcus Valentine and drags him out the back door, where a stolen Mercedes is parked. Marcus protests that the car is not his and someone has set him up. Dennis puts him in the cruiser, then rescues Alex from the crowd. Alex chokes Marcus Valentine with his baton without reading him his rights, and Marcus confesses that a white man at the docks named White killed the cop, not him. Later, police arrest Gary Haber, the dockworker, who betrays the stolen car operation. Detective Luisa Diaz speaks with a police lieutenant in the South American country where the ship is headed, and he assures her the stolen cars will be returned to Philadelphia. Alex objects when the district turns the case over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Meanwhile, at Sweet Imports, Jerome Sweet and White confer with Alex’s old boss, Inspector Glass. That evening, at a Beach Boys party at Curren’s house, Dennis and Alex drink together, and Dennis reveals that his previous white partner was shot to death by a pimp. Dennis misses him, which is why he first resented Alex. The next morning, Alex tells Lori that the theft and export of two dozen German luxury sedans makes no sense, because chopping them up and selling the parts in Philadelphia would bring in more money. Later, at the station, he confides to Dennis that whoever planned the theft wanted police to bust the operation. Why else would they use street kids who would talk if arrested? Driving to the Bryn Mawr station, they discover on the computer similar operations occurred in other cities, were “busted” every time, and nobody could identify the masterminds. Alex guesses that since cars are returned from South America to the Philadelphia docks in police custody, nobody searches them. Inspector Glass sees Alex and Dennis at the station and makes a telephone call. As the two leave Bryn Mawr, White pulls up in another car and fires a shotgun, hitting Dennis. Later, Alex sits at the hospital with Christine Curren while Dennis is in surgery. She confides that her husband likes him. At the station, Alex learns the ship has returned to Philadelphia. He wants to search the cars, but Capt. Coleman turns him down because it is no longer a local case. Alex drives to the port alone. As he sneaks into a warehouse and cuts into the upholstery of a stolen Mercedes, White and a thug knock him unconscious. Alex wakes up tied to a forklift, as Inspector Glass and White stand nearby. Jerome Sweet drives up and says he is heading for the Police Benevolent Association banquet, where he will give a speech, but first, for Alex’s benefit, he tosses a wood palette into a wood chipper and watches the machine spray sawdust. White tells Alex that all he had to do was open the car truck to find drugs. Suddenly, the Diamond Street police raid the docks. Captain Coleman kills Inspector Glass. Alex runs to the Mercedes where he left his gun, and White tries to strangle him with a wire through the sunroof. Alex starts the car and tries to shake White loose from the roof, but nothing works until he rams the wood chipper, sending the killer flying into its maw. White emerges on the other end as a red spray. Alex arrives at the police banquet in a patrol car just as Sweet is leaving, and chases him through Bryn Mawr until they both crash into the modern police station where Alex used to work. Both men are injured, but Alex arrests Sweet and turns him over to other cops. Later, Alex shares a hospital room with the bandaged Dennis Curran. When he puts a Beach Boys cassette into a tape player between their beds, Dennis shoots it. +

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

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