Running Scared (1986)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Distinguished by a sharp, witty dialogue between its two cop protagonists, Ray and Danny (Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal), this entertaining crime drama is well worth a visit. Ray and Danny are nearly blown away by super bad guy Julio (Jimmy Smits), and their boss is peeved at them as usual. So the two are given a holiday from their beat in Chicago and travel to the sunny shores of Key West. They like it enough to retire from police work and open a business there. But when the duo returns to the Windy City, Julio is about to pull off a big drug deal and retirement may not be such a good idea.
R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Action & Adventure , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MGM Home Entertainment

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Gregory Hines
as Ray Hughes
Billy Crystal
as Danny Costanzo
Jimmy Smits
as Julio Gonzales
Steven Bauer
as Det. Frank Sigliano
Darlanne Fluegel
as Anna Costanzo
Dan Hedaya
as Capt. Logan
Tracy Reed
as Maryann
John DiSanti
as Vinnie
Don Calfa
as Women's Room Lawyer
Robert Lesser
as Supoena Lawyer
Betty Carvalho
as Apartment Manager
Ron Cummins
as Paging Officer
John LaMotta
as Evidence officer
Richard Kuss
as Desk officer
Jeff Silverman
as Property Officer
Jaime Alba
as Tatoo Customer (sic)
Fred Buch
as Bank Manager
Richardo Gutierrez
as Sgt. Garcia
Etel Billig
as Aunt Sophie
Deanna Dunagan
as Sister Rebecca
Mike Bacarella
as TV Box Loader
Jon Gries
as Tony
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Critic Reviews for Running Scared

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (6)

"Running Scared" tries to be a light comedy in a violent, comic-book world. That's a difficult juggling act, and director Peter Hyams doesn't pull it off.

Full Review… | May 27, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

A functional 1986 actioner about two wisecracking Chicago cops (Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal) and their vendetta against a Latino crime lord (Jimmy Smits).

Full Review… | May 27, 2014
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

No more original or eventful than an average police TV show, so it must sink or swim on the moment-by-moment cleverness of the dialog and the behavioral talents of Hines and Crystal. Fortunately, these elements prove formidable.

Full Review… | May 27, 2014
Top Critic

Crystal and Hines do flavour the film with genuine warmth, and despite some cheap gags, work well together to produce some truly funny moments.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Another, thoroughly depressing demonstration of the extent to which television now dictates the style and the manners of so many of the movies we see in theaters.

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

This genre is so overpopulated that it hardly seems like we need one more example, and yet "Running Scared" transcends its dreary roots and turns out to be a lot of fun.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Running Scared

This buddy cop crime comedy/drama is good, I liked it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


What a piece of shit. I like just about everybody in it, but it tries too hard to be funny (which it's not) to be a true action comedy and it's not funny enough to be a good comedy. Hines and Crystal are probably the two least believably cops ever (except for Adam Sandler, maybe). True 80's entertainment...if you're actually entertained by it.

Derek Daniels
Derek Daniels

Super Reviewer


When two hotshot Chicago detectives have a brush with their own mortality, they decide to buy a bar and retire to Key West after cracking one last case. Running Scared is the kind of film that at least on paper, looks like a pig. The plot is the usual mix of cliched characters and by the numbers plot devices (particularly the inevitable man-boy pleasing finale), and the cast hardly screams A-list. But what this film gets right is the sense of fun; it's tongue is firmly in its cheek and the great comic chemistry between Crystal and Hines is backed up by a constant stream of consistently funny jokes (my personal highlights include the police line-up and Hines' battle of the bird with a ten year old!) It's definitely a matter of taste, but for me Running Scared is at least as good as contemporary Beverly Hills Cop and ranks alongside the likes of Back To The Future, Ghostbusters and Die Hard as my cinematic comfort food, and will forever be one of my favourite guilty pleasures.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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