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Lethal Weapon (1987)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  6 March 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 181,237 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 254 user | 106 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

A veteran cop, Murtaugh, is partnered with a young suicidal cop, Riggs. Both having one thing in common; hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
The General
Ebonie Smith ...
Patrick Cameron ...
Cop #1
Cop #2
Jimmie F. Skaggs ...
Drug Dealer #1


Martin Riggs is an L.A. cop with suicidal tendencies and Roger Murtaugh is the unlucky police officer with whom Riggs is assigned. Together they uncover a huge drug-smuggling operation, and as their success rate grows so does their friendship. Written by Graeme Roy <gsr@cbmamiga.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Pity the bad guys. See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

6 March 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Arma mortal  »

Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


$65,207,127 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut) | (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints) (4 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


An alternate opening and ending were both filmed (and are available on the Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) DVD). The alternate opening featured Martin Riggs drinking alone in a bar where he is accosted by a couple of thugs who want his money. Riggs claims all of his is in the bank and tells the thugs "not to fuck with him." The thugs attack him, but Riggs easily subdues them. He is then allowed to take a free bottle of booze from the bar in exchange for never returning. Director Richard Donner felt the movie should open with a brighter look at Riggs and filmed the scene with Riggs awakening in his trailer to replace it. The alternate ending featured Riggs and Murtaugh saying good-bye to one another. Murtaugh tells Riggs he's thinking of retiring, but Riggs tells him not to. See more »


Obvious stunt performers for the explosion: when Riggs and Murtaugh start walking across the street to the hooker's house, Murtaugh is taller than Riggs. In the next shot showing them from the back, just before the explosion, Riggs is taller than Murtaugh. See more »


Martin Riggs: Hey, look friend, let's just cut the shit. Now we both know why I was transferred. Everybody thinks I'm suicidal, in which case, I'm fucked and nobody wants to work with me; or they think I'm faking to draw a psycho pension, in which case, I'm fucked and nobody wants to work with me. Basically, I'm fucked.
Roger Murtaugh: Guess what?
Martin Riggs: What?
Roger Murtaugh: I don't want to work with you!
Martin Riggs: Hey, don't.
Roger Murtaugh: Ain't got no choice! Looks like we both been fucked!
Martin Riggs: Terrific.
Roger Murtaugh: God hates me. That's what it is.
Martin Riggs: Hate him back; it works for me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a dedication to Dar Robinson, a stuntman who died in a motorbike accident as Lethal Weapon was in Post-Production. See more »


Referenced in Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (2005) See more »


Silent Night
Music by Franz Gruber and lyrics by Joseph Mohr
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An exciting cop drama cleverly constructed...
27 September 2003 | by (Mexico) – See all my reviews

The film opens with a panoramic aerial shot of Los Angeles, where a beautiful blonde girl in a penthouse apartment is lying, in a sexy white satin nightgown, on a luxurious red sofa... Drugs comes into focus on a table next to her...

She rouses herself to sniff some white powder, steps out (completely unbalanced) onto the balcony and stands on the railing, ready to plunge peacefully down...

Mel Gibson is remarkable as Martin Riggs... He is talented as both a cop and a clown... His character carries a great level of tension... He is both charismatic and enigmatic... Riggs is a homicide detective suffering harmful levels of stress, after losing his wife in an automobile accident... He seems unstable... He slaps and pummels a drug dealer in the manner of the "Three Stooges," and dares his hostage taker to shoot him...

He is on the brink of despair... He takes out a bullet, loads it in his .9 millimeter Beretta, puts the gun into his mouth, and appears ready to pull the trigger...

He is suicidal... He snaps a handcuff on a jumper's wrist, and snaps the other end onto his own wrist... Then he holds up the key to the cuffs, and flings it out into space...

He is a sharpshooter... He raises his gun and fires without blinking, and claims that killing is "the only thing he could ever do well."

He is partnered with a black middle-aged police detective to investigate the death of the girl that leaped off the balcony... Both quickly build up a strong friendship that lead them to uncover a very dangerous heroin ring...

Danny Glover is at his best against an actor who can easily steal scenes... He plays an old-fashioned detective who is obsessed about his age, and goes by the book... We simply see him scanning, reading the odds...

Murtaugh - on his 50th birthday - wears his past like a scar... He is a conservative family man who has to follow Riggs' hurtful plan to get his daughter back...

Gary Busey plays Mr. Joshua, a trained expert killer, cool as ice, deadly calm... It's essential for him to find out how much the police know... He tries his best to get Riggs out of the picture... His boss the General (Mitch Ryan) is a rugged man with eyes like chips of stone... The ruthless general thinks that it's now the precise time to turn up the heat... He wants Murtaugh to be tortured... He kidnaps Murtaugh's little girl, the gorgeous Rianne (Traci Wolfe) to make him speak...

Richard Donner's 'Lethal Weapon' is one of the finest films to offer its audience the combination of strong acting, and scenes out of hell... It is an exciting cop drama cleverly constructed... The final battle, where the two cops team up against the general and his henchmen, is especially thrilling... Donner's film also skates around the sexual implications of male bonding, but the scene in which Gibson and Glover are captured by the crooks and tortured dramatizes male vulnerability in a manner that became familiar in the action film...

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