In the Line of Fire (1993)



Critic Consensus: 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.

In the Line of Fire Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Wolfgang Petersen's thriller stars Clint Eastwood as Frank Horrigan, an aging Secret Service operative who crosses paths with sociopathic Mitch Leary (John Malkovich), an assassin plotting to kill the President. Frank has been through this before--he was in Dallas in November, 1963, and is the only agent on active duty to have lost a President. By taking on Leary, Horrigan can also take on the personal demons which have haunted him for decades.

Rating: R
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Jeff Maguire
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 29, 1997
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


as Frank Herrigan

as Mitch Leary

as Lilly Raines

as Al D'Andrea

as Bill Watts

as Harry Sargent

as Sam Campagna

as President

as First Lady

as Jack Okura

as Prof. Riger

as Pam Magnus

as Tony Carducci

as Mendoza

as Jimmy Hendrickson

as Leary's Landlady

as Paramedic

as LAPD Brass

as FBI Technician

as FBI Supervisor

as Young Agent

as Political Speaker

as Walter Wickland

as CIA Agent Collins

as Hunter

as Police Captain Howar...

as Bartender

as FBI Official

as Agent Chavez

as Sanford Riggs

as Computer Technician/...

as Party Fat Cat

as Man at Bank

as Woman at Bank

as Reporter at Dulles

as Agent Cozart

as Police Officer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for In the Line of Fire

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Critic Reviews for In the Line of Fire

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (18)

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.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top 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.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top 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.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
New Yorker
Top 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.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

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.

Al S

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.

Jens S.

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.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

In the Line of Fire Quotes

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