IMDb > Murphy's Law (1986)
Murphy's Law
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Murphy's Law (1986) More at IMDbPro »


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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Gail Morgan Hickman (written by)
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Release Date:
18 April 1986 (USA) See more »
He's a cop, She's a thief, together they're running for their lives See more »
An action-packed thriller starring Charles Bronson as Jack Murphy, a cop who is running to stay alive long enough to even the score with his wife's killer. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
He's been framed! See more (48 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Charles Bronson ... Jack Murphy

Kathleen Wilhoite ... Arabella McGee

Carrie Snodgress ... Joan Freeman

Robert F. Lyons ... Art Penney

Richard Romanus ... Frank Vincenzo

Angel Tompkins ... Jan
Bill Henderson ... Ben Wilcove
James Luisi ... Ed Reineke
Clifford A. Pellow ... Lieutenant Nachman

Janet MacLachlan ... Dr. Lovell

Lawrence Tierney ... Cameron
Jerome Thor ... Judge Kellerman
Mischa Hausserman ... Dave Manzarek
Cal Haynes ... Reese
Hans Howes ... Santana
Joseph Roman ... Carl (as Joseph Spallina Roman)
Chris DeRose ... Tony Vincenzo (as Chris De Rose)
Frank Annese ... Kelly
Paul McCallum ... Hog

Dennis Hayden ... Sonny

Tony Montero ... Max

David Hayman ... Jack
Lisa Vice ... Blonde

Janet Rotblatt ... Mrs. Vincenzo

Greg Finley ... Booking Sergeant
Jerry Lazarus ... Lawyer

Robert Axelrod ... Hotel Clerk
John Hawker ... Hotel Guest
Bert Williams ... Police Captain

Daniel D. Halleck ... Lead Cop (as Daniel Halleck)

Randall Carver ... Mechanic

Gerald Berns ... Young Cop
Don Brodie ... Old Man (as Don L. Brodie)
Graham Timbes ... Detective
David K. Johnston ... Guard #1
Paul McCauley ... Bailiff
Brooks Wachtel ... Maitre D'
Richard Hochberg ... Man with Glasses
John F. McCarthy ... Patrol Cop

Leigh Lombardi ... Stewardess

Charlie Brewer ... Security Guard
Charles A. Nero ... Liquor Clerk
Wheeler Henderson ... Woman in Bathroom
Frank Bove ... Guard #2

Christopher Stanley ... Ambulance Attendant (as Chris Stanley)
Linda Harwood ... Waitress
Nancie Clark ... Restaurant Patron
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

C. Courtney Joyner ... Bar Patron
Michael Cooper ... LAX Policeman (uncredited)
Shawn McBurney ... Waiter (uncredited)

Directed by
J. Lee Thompson 
Writing credits
Gail Morgan Hickman (written by)

Produced by
Yoram Globus .... executive producer
Menahem Golan .... executive producer
Gail Morgan Hickman .... associate producer
Jill Ireland .... co-producer
Pancho Kohner .... producer
Original Music by
Marc Donahue 
Valentine McCallum 
Cinematography by
Álex Phillips Jr. (director of photography) (as Alex Phillips)
Film Editing by
Peter Lee-Thompson  (as Peter Lee Thompson)
Charles Simmons 
Casting by
Perry Bullington 
Robert MacDonald 
Production Design by
William Cruse 
Set Decoration by
Whitney Brooke Wheeler  (as W. Brooke Wheeler)
Costume Design by
Shelley Komarov 
Makeup Department
Lilly Benyair-Gart .... hair supervisor (as Lily Benyair)
Lilly Benyair-Gart .... makeup supervisor (as Lily Benyair)
Melonie Cleric .... assistant hairdresser (as Melonie Nadinia Cleric)
Dee Mansano .... makeup artist
Production Management
Jeffrey Silver .... executive in charge of production
Michael R. Sloan .... post-production supervisor
George Van Noy .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Steve Lazarus .... first assistant director
Robert C. Ortwin Jr. .... second assistant director
Art Department
Edwin M. Brewer .... property master (as Edwin Brewer)
Joshua Culp .... assistant art director (as Joshua S. Culp)
Jim Elyea .... set dresser (as James Elyea)
Mark Heiner .... assistant property master
John S. Karas .... construction coordinator (as John Karras)
Aimee D. Orkin .... scenic artist
Rodger M. Pitts .... set dresser
Lynn Risdon .... art department coordinator
Catherine Schlesinger .... art department coordinator
Walter Shipley .... set dresser (as Walt Shipley)
Rene Veluzat .... construction coordinator
David Halver .... art department assistant (uncredited)
Sound Department
George Berndt .... supervising dialogue editor
Jim Borgardt .... dialogue editor (as James A. Borgardt)
Mike Clark .... boom operator
Christine Danelski .... assistant sound effects editor
Elliot Deitch .... sound effects editor
John Duvall .... foley editor
Craig Felburg .... production sound mixer
Dennis Fuller .... cable man
Jessica Gallavan .... assistant dialogue editor
Sandy Gendler .... supervising sound effects editor
Howell Gibbens .... assistant sound effects editor
Robert Glass .... sound re-recording mixer (as Bob Glass)
Victor Grodecki .... dialogue editor
Julie Hall .... sound effects editor
Richard King .... sound effects editor
David Lebrun .... foley editor (as David LeBrun)
Darwin Jay Lollar .... boom operator
Richard Portman .... sound re-recording mixer (as Dick Portman)
Barry Rubinow .... foley editor
Ruth Schell .... dialogue editor
Ralph Stuart .... assistant sound effects editor
Special Effects by
John Bisson .... special effects
Michael Clifford .... special effects (as Michael A. Clifford)
David Bilson .... stunt player
May Boss .... stunt player
Hal Burton .... stunt player
Kerrie Cullen .... stunt player
Christopher Doyle .... stunt player
Beau Vanden Ecker .... associate stunt coordinator (as Beau Van Den Ecker)
Tom Elliott .... stunt player (as Tom Elliot)
Eurlyne Epper .... stunt player
Jeannie Epper .... stunt player
Debbie Evans .... stunt player
Buck McDancer .... stunt player
George Novak .... stunt player
Alan Oliney .... stunt player
Ernie F. Orsatti .... stunt coordinator (as Ernie Orsatti)
Karen Price .... stunt player
Carol Rees .... stunt player
Debby Lynn Ross .... stunt player
John Sherrod .... stunt player
Bob Stephens .... stunt player (as Bob Norm Stephens)
Joe Stone .... stunt player
Harry Wowchuk .... stunt player
David Zellitti .... stunt player
Kenny Bates .... stunts (uncredited)
Ernie F. Orsatti .... stunts (uncredited)
Jacob Rupp .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Josh Bleibtreu .... second assistant camera
Anthony Caldwell .... best boy grip
Andrew Cooper .... still photographer
Caleb Edwards .... best boy grip
Jack English .... gaffer (as John P. English)
Joan Geguld .... grip (as Joan Geduld)
Ed Giovanni .... first assistant camera
Kevin Kuhn .... second assistant camera (as Kevin Kühn)
John Maninger .... electrician (as John H. Maninger)
Tony Mazzucchi .... grip (as Anthony T. Mazzucchi)
Hugh McCallum .... electrician
John Roy Morgan .... key grip (as John Morgan)
Dino Parks .... electrician
Charles W. Smith .... electrician
Pat Swovelin .... second assistant camera
Jesse Tango .... grip (as Jess Tango Jr.)
Newton TerMeer .... best boy electrician (as Newton Termeer)
Eric Ward .... electrician (as Eric A. Ward)
Jamie Young .... grip
George M. Chappell .... electrician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Dennis Hansen .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Heidi Freundlich Gilles .... assistant costume designer
Beverly Val-Brown .... second assistant wardrobe (as Beverly Brown)
Marion Kirk .... costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Johanna Lyle Bennett .... assistant film editor (as Johanna L. Bennett)
Anne Couk .... assistant film editor
Michael J. Duthie .... additional editor
Mary E. Jochem .... assistant film editor
Karen D. Joseph .... assistant film editor (as Karen Joseph)
Daniel Loewenthal .... additional editor
Omneya 'Nini' Mazen .... post-production coordinator
Angelo Russo .... color timer
Scott Stevenson .... assistant film editor
Anne-Marie Vitello .... negative cutter
Ron Vitello .... negative cutter
Craig Weintraub .... assistant film editor
Music Department
John Bisharat .... composer: closing title theme
Bill Black .... assistant music editor
Marc Donahue .... music performer
Paula Erickson .... music supervisor
Valentine McCallum .... music performer
Barbara Pokras .... music editor
Transportation Department
George K. Burnette .... driver
John Conte .... driver
Ross Ellis .... driver
Edward Flotard .... transportation captain
Allan Herendeen .... driver
Jimmy Jones .... transportation coordinator
Joe 'Stinky' Killian .... driver (as Joseph Killian)
George R. Matejka .... driver (as George Metejka)
Tim C. McHenry .... driver (as Tim McHenry)
George Panivics .... driver: chef (as George Panevics)
Joel Renfro .... transportation coordinator (as Joel A. Renfro)
Jim Rogers .... driver
Charlie Rothstein .... driver (as Charles Rothstein)
Daniel Rothstein .... driver
Danny L. Swanson .... driver (as Danny Swanson)
Chip H. White .... driver
John Yarbrough .... driver (as John David Yarbrough)
Bruce Scott .... driver: cast (uncredited)
Other crew
Wenden K. Baldwin .... title designer
Caroline Baron .... assistant production executive
Karin Cooper .... script supervisor
Alan Gershenfeld .... production coordinator
Amy Grandrath .... production assistant
Mischa Hausserman .... aerial coordinator
Gretchen Iverson .... production assistant (as Gretchen Iversen)
Leonor Johnson .... cook's helper
Leslie 'Tinker' Linville .... accounting assistant (as Leslie Linville)
Michael Madl .... security guard
Shelley Mills .... production assistant
Patricia G. Payró .... assistant to producer
Larry Pearson .... location manager
Kevin B. Piatt .... craft service
Kevin B. Piatt .... first aid
Robert Saurman .... police coordinator
Kyle Seidenbaum .... title designer
Jonathan Wolf .... production accountant (as Jonathan D. Wolf)
Erez Yaoz .... production assistant
Enrico Mastracchi Manes .... production assistant (uncredited)
Joe Straw .... production accountant (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
100 min
Color (TVC)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Writer Gail Morgan Hickman formed a friendship with Bronson during this film, which saw him go on to write "Death IV: The Crackdown" in 1987.See more »
Continuity: When Jack and Arabella escape from the hotel, she steps onto the fire ladder first. However it is Jack that steps off the ladder prior to her.See more »
Arabella McGee:Suck a doorknob, you homo!See more »
It's Got to Get BetterSee more »


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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
He's been framed!, 10 February 2006
Author: paul_johnr from New York

After the ridiculous yet entertaining 'Death Wish 3,' Charles Bronson and his fans needed to relax for a while. Fortunately enough, Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson came out in 1986 with the actioner/dark comedy 'Murphy's Law,' whose texture is almost the complete opposite of DW3. While still carrying its fair share of sex, violence, and overall bad taste, 'Murphy's Law' is a light-hearted film by comparison and makes neat changes to Bronson's on-screen persona.

In a workmanlike script by Gail Morgan Hickman (of TV's 'The Equalizer'), Bronson reprises his earlier cop roles as Jack Murphy, a Los Angeles detective who is going to pieces after breaking up with his sex-starved wife. Murphy is a heavy drinker who struggles to get out of bed in the morning; when he does manage to rise, he argues with other detectives on the force and nags his ex (Angel Topkins), who has begun stripping at a local nightclub.

To fulfill Murphy's Law - "if anything can go wrong, it will" - the justice system has released Joan Freeman (Carrie Snodgress), a psychopath whom Murphy arrested for murder ten years before. Dead-set on revenge, Freeman returns to knock off everyone linked to her case, including Murphy and his acquaintances. Sure enough, Murphy is collared for the death of his ex-wife and finds himself in lockup with Arabella McGee (Kathleen Wilhoite), a foul-mouthed young woman whom he just arrested for driving off with his car. Handcuffed to one another, he manages to take McGee hostage and escape from jail. The bulk of 'Murphy's Law' follows Murphy and McGee in their search for the real killer, ticking off an already-livid mob boss (Richard Romanus) in the process.

Like other Bronson films from the 80s, 'Murphy's Law' doesn't boast Oscar-worthy scriptwriting, acting, or technical work. The film is geared towards an average Bronson connoisseur, with Charles quietly sweeping out the trash. But 'Murphy's Law' isn't without heart: Bronson looks very human, with a healthy amount of vulnerability. In what other 80s film does Bronson get arrested, bleed, pass out, have a concussion, make a friend, and even sit down for a sandwich?

Bronson and Kathleen Wilhoite don't have "chemistry" per se, but to watch an odd friendship develop between Murphy and McGee is entertaining in itself. Although Wilhoite is given a ridiculous number of swear words to toss around ("jock itch" and "camel crotch" are two good ones), McGee still comes off as lovable, a girl you'd actually love to hang around and steal cars with. Carrie Snodgress balances the humor of Murphy and McGee with an intense performance as the killer. The supporting cast, including Robert F. Lyons, Bill Henderson, and Richard Romanus, is quite good, although Romanus is guilty of overacting in certain scenes as mob head Frank Vincenzo.

Compared to J. Lee Thompson's other films of the decade, 'Murphy's Law' is above average technically. The film was decently edited by his son Peter and Charles Simmons (although you should watch Vincenzo's robe during the hooker scene) and crisp cinematography was supplied by Alex Phillips Jr., another Thompson mainstay. Of disappointing quality is the music by Marc Donahue and Valentine McCallum, which is synthesized and very repetitive. Wilhoite sings the more pleasing end theme.

Highly recommended for action fans and a must for Bronson collectors, 'Murphy's Law' is available on DVD from MGM Home Entertainment in dual widescreen and standard format with three-language subtitles. To my surprise, the digital transfer is excellent, showing crystal-clear visuals and almost no grain. Murphy's theatrical trailer is included as an extra, which looks shopworn and has Bronson saying "Don't -mess- with Jack Murphy." Fill in the blank yourself.

After 'Murphy's Law,' Bronson and Thompson hit a dry spell with 'Death Wish 4' and 'Messenger of Death.' They ended their collaboration in 1989 with the engaging 'Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects,' Thompson's last film as a director. Bronson's wife Jill Ireland, incidentally, co-produced 'Murphy' with Pancho Kohner.

*** out of 4

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