Shoot to Kill (1988)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime  |  12 February 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 9,049 users  
Reviews: 48 user | 18 critic

Sidney Poitier returned to the big screen in this action-thriller, after a decade-long absence. When a cunning murderer vanishes into the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest, pursuing... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Scannell ...
Frederick Coffin ...
Michael MacRae ...
Robert Lesser ...
Milton Selzer ...
Mr. Berger
Les Lannom ...
Sheriff Arnett
Sam Baker
Sam Hiona ...
Inspector Hsu (as Samuel Hiona)


Sidney Poitier returned to the big screen in this action-thriller, after a decade-long absence. When a cunning murderer vanishes into the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest, pursuing FBI agent Warren Stantin (Poitier) must exchange familiar city streets for unknown wilderness trails. Completely out of his element, Stantin is forced to enlist the aid of expert tracker Jonathan Knox (PLATOON'S Tom Berenger). The killer has infiltrated a guided hiking trip led by Knox's girlfriend Sarah (Kirstie Alley, at the height of her Cheers fame). Viewers don't know which of the hikers is the killer, and the tension lasts well into the movie. Written by Donny Dollar

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's about staying alive. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mountain Man  »

Box Office


$29,300,090 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The killer's identity is not revealed until midway through the film. He attempts to evade detection by killing a member of a hiking expedition and taking his place. To keep the audience guessing as to the true identity of the villain, some of the hikers were played by actors known for playing bad guys: notably Clancy Brown, Frederick Coffin, and Andrew Robinson. See more »


Knox's boots change as he is climbing the cliff. See more »


Steve: [after Warren deliberately tosses the diamonds a few feet] JESUS CHRIST! Is that the best you can throw?
See more »


References Blazing Saddles (1974) See more »


I Love A Parade
Written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler
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User Reviews

A triumph!
29 July 2002 | by (danville, VA) – See all my reviews

I would just like to start off this review by giving Sidney Poitier the recognition he deserves. He is most definitely one of the most distinguished and talented actors of our generation and a role model for all aspiring actors! Now, on with the review. I first saw this movie during a vacation to the beach with my friend and his family. I had seen several other Poitier efforts such as "In the Heat of the Night" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?",and I stumbled upon this thriller while watching television on one of the nights that it rained. I stopped at TBS and I'm certainly glad that I did! This movie is one of best Poitier movies I've ever viewed! This film incorporates comedy into a genre the usually takes itself a little too seriously. The movie has an overall seriousness about it, but there are a few cheeky moments between Poitier and Berenger. Some of these comedic moments include: a scene where Berenger and Poitier are in an ice tunnel during a snow storm. Berenger is laying on top of Poitier to keep him from freezing to death. Poitier asks something like : "What are you queer or something?!" and Berenger says something like: "What's the matter? Haven't you ever heard about us mountain boys?" Another funny moment comes when Poitier is trying to scale a wall even though he is exhausted. Berenger is at the top trying to convince him to go back. The look on Poitier's face is more than enough to inspire a chuckle. The performances, the direction, and the cinematography are all well done in this film. The beautiful mountain landscapes inspire sort of a wistful feeling that can often be distracting. I'll also give a thumbs up to the sound effects department of this film. The sound of the rope snapping when Berenger was plummeting from the cable extending across the gorge was enough to make me wince with agony. This movie was executed well and my only complaint was that the villain's identity was revealed earlier than I thought it should have been. All in all I think it was a solid effort that I think anyone who is a fan of suspense films will enjoy. Your best bet as far as renting this movie is to go to a hole-in-the-wall movie rental store that never throws any movie away because, as other reviews have said, it is very hard to find. You may get lucky once in a blue moon and catch it on TBS or TNT, but the edited for TV versions are never as good as the uncut versions. If none of the mom and pop movie rental outlets still carry it, go to blockbuster and demand that they order this movie for you! This movie is a definite must-see for any fan of the suspense genre! FINAL SCORE 9/10

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