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In the Line of Fire (1993)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 65
Fresh: 62 | Rotten: 3

A straightforward thriller of the highest order, In the Line of Fire benefits from Wolfgang Peterson's taut direction and charismatic performances from Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich.

89

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 2

A straightforward thriller of the highest order, In the Line of Fire benefits from Wolfgang Peterson's taut direction and charismatic performances from Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich.

audience

79

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 53,852

My Rating

Movie Info

Clint Eastwood delivers one of his finest performances, as a secret service agent haunted by his past in Wolfgang Petersen's taut thriller In the Line of Fire. Eastwood plays Frank Horrigan, a secret service agent who keeps thinking back to November 22, 1963, when, as an agent hand-picked by President Kennedy, he became one of the few agents to have lost a president to an assassin. Decades later, psychotic Mitch Leary (John Malkovich) is stalking another president (Jim Curley) running for

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure

Jeff Maguire

Apr 29, 1997

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Watch It Now

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All Critics (65) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (3) | DVD (22)

Petersen directs his film in a straightforward, workmanlike fashion-few surprises here -- and, curiously, for most of the film is better at establishing a kind of amiability than a hard tension.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Wolfgang Petersen moves the story along, but his real job is to simply stay out of the way of his two racehorse lead actors. And he does.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Every part of this film trades so heavily on Eastwood's presence that it is impossible to imagine it with anyone else in the starring role.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie has a clear, simple thriller logic that's far more satisfying than the static variations-on-a-massacre construction of Eastwood's Dirty Harry pictures and spaghetti Westerns.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite the presence of all these action-flick cliches, In the Line of Fire works. Sure, it's no more than a formula movie, but it's an effective formula movie.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Between them, director Petersen and screenwriter Jeff Maguire do a memorable job developing their characters in this story of personal and professional redemption.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, In the Line of Fire builds a palpable tension between the Eastwood and Malkovich characters.

August 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Tulsa World
Tulsa World

It just builds, relationship by relationship, detail by detail, clever stroke by clever stroke, taking you in and making you its own. It ought to wear a sign: Danger. Professionals At Work.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

What separates In The Line Of Fire from the rest of the bog-standard good-guy/bad-guy set-up is the clear implication throughout that these two sworn enemies have more in common than they may think.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Eerie assassin and protector are perfectly balanced in this classy entertainment.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Preposterous but still thoroughly involving, this tense, kinetic, ingenious thriller is the thinking fan's action movie.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

How fitting that in this summer of dinosaurs, Clint Eastwood has again emerged as the most interesting thing on screen.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

[Peterson] keeps his new film hopping at a lively pace, and he shows sensitivity to the look and feel of American politics.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Petersen piles on the suspense with ruthless skill, while Eastwood reveals the same vulnerability that made his performance in Unforgiven so compelling and convincing.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Feverish suspense is at work in In the Line of Fire, a film of surprising depth for an action thriller. The felicitous interweaving of humor and high drama is another hallmark of this tense story of wits.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

[A] shallow but well assembled thriller.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

In the Line of Fire explores this intriguing premise with subtlety and suspense, particularly during several phone conversations between a gloating, you-can't-stop-me Leary and a visibly shaken Horrigan.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for In the Line of Fire

A sizzling, stunning and pulse-pounding edge of your seat thriller. An relentlessly exciting and thrilling ride. It's gripping, outstanding and unforgettable. Clint Eastwood gives a first-rate Oscar caliber performance, he has the charm, intensity and irresistible romantics that makes this one of the best performances of his career ever and just shows why he`s a movie star. John Malkovich is riveting, giving a chilling and charismatic performance that's just pure dynamite. Packs a piercing bullet of unrelenting suspense and explosive action. This is one Thriller you don't want to miss. It's cleverly constructed and well executed. A triumph by Director, Wolfgang Peterson. A classic cat and mouse mind-game. An exhilarating and adrenaline-pumping film.
December 6, 2012
allan913

Super Reviewer

The secret agent who was on duty in Dallas when Kennedy was shot wants a second chance as a maniac starts to threaten the president. John Malkovich delivers one of his greatest performances as ruthless psychopath (or is he?) who starts playing mind games with protagonist Eastwood, who is far from over his failure in the past. While the agent has to deal with a new team of coworkers, his past and his age, the stalker seeks the contact to him, raising questions like whether or not a president is worth taking a bullet for. Their phone conversations are great scenes of two worthy opponents, with the psycho having the advantage on his side for the longest times. Thankfully, the film never gets overly political or even patriotic, but sticks to its thriller theme and works great there. Of course, things lead to a very exciting showdown. A very satisfying, entertaining and engaging thriller.
March 1, 2012
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

Featuring an excellent script, great direction, and some wonderfully solid performances, this is a very exciting film, and one of the most taut, and suspense, and first-rate thrillers out there. Frank Horrigan is a veteran secret service agent who failed to save JFk from being assassinated. He's still haunted by his past three decades later, and it all comes rushing back to him when he starts receinving menacign phone calls from a sadistic man who stalks him and keeps making threats to not only take out the current president, but Frank as well. This new threat really starts to wear Frank down even more, but the situation also provides him with a long awaited chance at both redemption and closure.

Oh sure, the film is slick, Hollywood-ized and not without some cliches, but despite all that, this is a tightly wound, occasionally very smart, and engaging thriller. What really makes a lot of it work is Jeff Maguire's great script, and the standout performances from a talented and notable cast. Eastwood brings genuine class, heart, and authenticity to the role of Frank, and John Malkovich, though he's now typecasted for this sort of thing, is truly mancing and scary as the cunning, devious, and psyche bruising antagonist. He's played some really great and chilling villains before, but this one easily deserves to be somewhere very near, if not right on top of that list. He brings jsut the right touch to keep the character from becoming a cartoon, or just mindless.

Rene Russo is nice as a tough field chief working with Frank who, despite a rocky start, does begin to warm up to him and become one of the few people he can really trust, which is even more important when things really start to build up to the climax. Dylan McDermot is also fine, though a little rough around the edges in his turn as a rookie agent. It's fun seeing Gary Cole in a pre-Brady Bunch and Office Space role that's as far from comedic as you can get.

I could really nit-pick if I wanted to, but it's really not all that necessary. This isn't the most ingenious film ever, but it's never dull, got a great set up, some really good characters, and the themes of guilt, redemption, and the commonalities between predator and prey are all examined in a well done and entertaining manner. I did like Ennio Morricone's score, but, honestly, I think that might be the only there here that could really be seen as rather weak and a little disappointing.

All in all though, this really does have a great plot and is one of the best thrillers out there. Definitely give this one a watch and prepare yourself for Wolfgang Petersen and his great cast giving some of their best work. As a nice bonus, there's actually some good humorous moments as well that surprisingly fit in instead of sticking out awkwardly.
February 24, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Movies Like In the Line of Fire

    1. Frank Horrigan: You have a rendez-vous with my ass motherfucker!
    – Submitted by Davis M (5 months ago)
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