Hit man Cleve approaches writer/cop Dennis about a story for his next book: How Cleve made a living, working for one of the most powerful politicians in the country. To get the story right,... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Meechum
Roberta Gillian
Holly Meechum
David Madlock
Anne Pitoniak ...
Mrs. Foster
Cleve's Mother
Sully Boyar ...
Cleve's Father (as Harold Tyner)
E. Brian Dean ...
Taxi Driver
Jeffrey Josephson ...
Edward Blackoff ...
Longshoreman #1


Hit man Cleve approaches writer/cop Dennis about a story for his next book: How Cleve made a living, working for one of the most powerful politicians in the country. To get the story right, they travel around the country to gather statements and evidence, while strong forces use any means they can to keep the story untold. Written by Lars Skogan <si2_ls92362@debet.nhh.no>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If words could kill... See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 September 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hard Cover  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,278,150 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In an interview with Harvey F. Chartrand for the article "John Flynn: Out for Action", director John Flynn said of this film: "There is no Watergate connection. I rewrote the script. The Writers Guild adjudicated against me and I received no credit, as they decided I hadn't written at least 51% of the script. Once Larry Cohen and I overcame that conflict, we became good friends and he sent me other scripts over the years. The original story was called 'Hard Cover'. We changed the title to 'Best Seller' in post-production, as 'Hard Cover' didn't test well with preview audiences. Then a woman sued us all--me, Larry Cohen, James Woods, and producer Carter DeHaven. This woman claimed we had stolen the plot of a book she wrote called 'Best Seller'. We went on to prove that this could not be the case, because Larry Cohen had submitted a treatment to Columbia prior to the copyright of this book. It's amazing, though, because there were plot similarities. Her book was about a killer who writes a best seller incriminating the people who hired him. Turns out this lady didn't want money. She asked for a three-picture deal with Hemdale Films". See more »


The movie very clearly states that the main action takes place in 1987. Meechum is given an invitation from Madlock to an afternoon party on "Saturday, April 22nd at noon". April 22nd fell on a Wednesday in 1987. See more »


Cleve: Anybody can kill anybody, even the President, remember?
See more »


Written by Claude Debussy
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User Reviews

Exciting But Violent Thriller
12 July 2001 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"Best Seller" is essentially a two character movie. On one hand there is Brian Dennehy as a veteran cop who also writes crime novels based on real events. On the other hand there is James Woods as a professional killer who has been spurned by his former employer (Paul Shenar). He seeks out Dennehy to try to convince him to write his story of how a now rich and powerful magnate rose to the top over the bodies of others.

The first part of the movie involves Woods trying to convince Dennehy that his story is on the level. The second part of the story covers Shenar's attempts to intimidate Woods and Dennehy and prevent the publication of Dennehy's book.

Woods and Dennehy play off of each other marvelously. Woods is cold and calculating as the hit man and Dennehy is torn between his sworn duty as a cop and his desire to get to the truth.

"Best Seller" is not for the faint of heart. There are scenes of graphic violence, which I feel are necessary within the context of the story. The film is worth a look if for nothing else than to watch two veteran performers at their best.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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