Shoot to Kill (1988)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime  |  12 February 1988 (USA)
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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?


Called "Deadly Pursuit" in the UK. Because of the recent massacre in Hungerford, where Micheal Ryan had gone on a shooting rampage killing around dozen people and injuring a number of others, it was thought to be in bad taste to release a film with "shoot" in the title. See more »


Right after Knox and Stantin find the bodies of the other hikers, the camera shows a view of the river. Right before it cuts back to Knox and Stantin, a truck drives into the scene from the left side. They are supposed to be deep in the wilderness at this time. See more »


Steve: [on the phone] I'm sending the maid out with a message
[the maid exits the house and only gets a few feet before being cut down in a hail of bullets]
Steve: [back on the phone] Stantin... did you get the message?
See more »


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

The way that action movies should be made.
10 June 2004 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

Shoot To Kill (GB title: Deadly Pursuit) is a lively, fairly intelligent action film which benefits from good character development. Many post-1980 action films suffer because they are empty spectacles, full of boring stock characters and visually impressive/emotionally redundant stunts. However, this one is different. There are eight main characters (all of them well-realized) as well as a fundamentally exciting plot, sharp dialogue, and a spectacular mountain setting.

FBI agent Warren Stanton (Sidney Poitier) is desperate to track down a dangerous jewel thief following a botched hostage situation. He suspects that the thief has joined a five-man hiking party in the rugged wilderness near Spokane. Unfortunately, there is no way of contacting the hiking guide Sarah (Kirstie Alley) to warn her that a dangerous killer is among her group. Instead, Stanton has to put his trust in another mountain guide, rough and tough Jonathan Knox (Tom Berenger). The unlikely pair pursue the hiking group, hoping to reach them before the killer strikes again.

The film moves at a good pace. Interest is generated on several different fronts: the volatile relationship between Stanton and Knox; the intriguing guessing-game as to which member of the hiking party is actually the jewel thief/killer; the "race-against-time" tension (as soon as the hikers have entered Canada, the killer could dispose of them at any time). There is spectacular action, but it is not emphasised to such an overwhelming degree that other story threads are lost. Shoot To Kill is a very commendable action film and it is a pity that more films in the genre are not up to the same standard.

31 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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