The Mighty Quinn (1989)




Critic Consensus: A deft hybrid of laughs, espionage, and music, The Mighty Quinn is a smart, pleasant entertainment that offers an early example of Denzel Washington's onscreen magnetism.

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Movie Info

Xavier Quinn (Denzel Washington) is police chief of a tiny Caribbean island. Quinn's efforts to straddle the fence between the local blacks and the moneyed whites have lost him the respect of both groups. When a murder is committed, Quinn suspects that the killer is Maubee (Robert Townsend), a notoriously elusive criminal who has become a folk hero to the locals. Despite various political pressures -- and the fact that he and Maubee were childhood friends-Quinn vows to solve the murder, and, if … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Hampton Fancher
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 6, 2001
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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as Xavier Quinn

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Critic Reviews for The Mighty Quinn

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3)

[Washington] gives the kind of smooth, funny, laid-back performance that could help make him the first black matinee idol since Sidney Poitier.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

With Fancher's dialogue and Washington's comedic timing, The Mighty Quinn is more fun than a cabana full of bananas.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

The Mighty Quinn is a spy thriller, a buddy movie, a musical, a comedy and a picture that is wise about human nature. And yet with all of those qualities, it never seems to strain.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Pleasing comical murder mystery that takes place on a small Caribbean island.

Full Review… | May 9, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An award-worthy performance by Washington

October 26, 2008
Tsunami Magazine

The colourful locale -- it was shot on the northeastern coast of Jamaica -- spices up the formulaic screenplay, which contains sentimental twaddle about identifying with one's culture.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Audience Reviews for The Mighty Quinn

The smooth and charming Denzel Washington plays a Caribbean cop investigating a murder that his childhood friend Maubee (Robert Townsend) may be implicated in. Townsend plays the role of a carefree individual who does just what he pleases and mostly the wrong side of the law and is constantly laughing at strait laced Xavier Quinn who is not taking crap from the rich white folks that want him to look the other side. Mimi Rogers is convincing as a damsel in distress and Sheryl Lee Ralph showcases her talents as both an actress and a singer while Robert Townsend, steals the show as the cheerfully irresponsible "victim of circumstances". Great location, wonderful reggae music; we also get to see Denzil strutting his stuff on the piano; now if you can just ignore the phony Jamaican accents, you'll enjoy this one a whole lot more!

Deb S

Super Reviewer

I really enjoyed watching "The Mighty Quinn". The picture is very well directed and well casted. Denzel Washington plays a West Indies chief Xavier Quinn (cool name) handling a murder case and is facing a problem since his good friend Maubee (Robert Townsend) may have been involved. Filmmaker Carl Schenkel has a real feel of the Carribean culture, the music and the characters. I admired the small relationship between Washington and Mimi Rogers since they both reminded me of Walter Neff and Phyllis Dietrichson.

"The Mighty Quinn" is one of those great drama thrillers like Arthur Penn's "Night Moves" where you got a very smooth, handsome main character all caught up in a plot that will eventually get in way over his head. In this case it would be Xavier Quinn. For a low budget picture drama, this movie sure puts a badly big budget film to shame.

Critique Threatt
Brian R

Super Reviewer


Very entertaining, good performances by Townsend and Washington. Good ending.

Chosen 718

Super Reviewer

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