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Big Trouble (1986)

R | | Comedy | 30 May 1986 (USA)
Insurance agent plots with client to kill her nutty husband.



(as Warren Bogle)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arlene Hoffman
Dr. Lopez
Steve Alterman ...
Peter Hoffman
Jerry Pavlon ...
Michael Hoffman
Joshua Hoffman
Det. Murphy
Karl Lukas ...
Police captain
Maryedith Burrell ...


Insurance agent plots with client to kill her nutty husband.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 May 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Grande Burla  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Due to its similarities to Universal Pictures' classic "Double Indemnity," Columbia Pictures (producing "Big Trouble") needed story rights from Universal. Frank Price, then head at Universal and former studio head at Columbia, gave Columbia the rights in return for taking over the production of two films Columbia was making. One of those was "Back to the Future" that Price had championed while at Columbia and which he produced at Universal to great success. See more »


References The Great Escape (1963) See more »


Trio No. 15
Written by Joseph Haydn (as Franz Josef Haydn)
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I wonder what Billy thought?
27 April 2016 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Long time buddies from Actor's Studio days John Cassavetes and Peter Falk collaborate on this humorous send up of Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity. Wilder's whose humor could be grimly ironic was still around when Big Trouble came out. I wonder what Billy thought especially since Double Indemnity classic that it is has very few laughs.

It was one fateful day when Alan Arkin met up with Beverly D'Angelo who had that low cut come up and see me ambiance that got Arkin hooked. Up there for a homeowner's policy discussion, Arkin sells them a life insurance policy for husband Peter Falk with that ever fateful double indemnity clause for accidental death.

Our first meeting with Falk should tell you this won't work out quite like Double Indemnity did. Both he and D'Angelo like to live large, check out the mansion they have. And I won't say what it is that Falk does for a living to bring in the Benjamins, but trust me he's one shady character. In fact not unlike the man he played in my favorite Peter Falk movie The Brink's Job, but far more upper class or at least he's used to living like that.

Now a man used to privilege is Robert Stack, CEO of the insurance company that Arkin works for. Arkin's having trouble and who wouldn't paying tuition for his teenage triplets who MUST go to Yale to study music. Stack's a hearty and hateful privileged WASP snob who tells Arkin it's better that people make it on their own. No help from him getting into his birthright alma mater. After that Arkin is as easy prey for D'Angelo as Fred MacMurray was for Barbara Stanwyck in the original.

All I will say is that Big Trouble doesn't quite work out the way the original did. Funniest scene in the film for me is the Medical Examiner's office where the post mortem is conducted by Dr. Richard Libertini who is in on the plot and who's a character himself. The Edward G. Robinson insurance investigator role is Charles Durning. Durning is as smart as Robinson, but it wouldn't have taken a Barton Keyes like genius to blow this one up.

Big Trouble will not be a Billy Wilder like classic, but it's pretty funny and director Cassavetes and actor Falk work well together with the whole cast. Cassavetes and Falk had almost 35 years of experience together and they function like a well greased machine.

In addition to Billy Wilder both Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck were also still with us when Big Trouble hit the big screen. Wonder what they thought too?

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