Manhunt: Search for the Night Stalker (1989)

TV Movie  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  12 November 1989 (USA)
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Based on the true story of Richard "The Night Stalker" Ramirez who terrorized California in 1985 and the two Los Angeles police detectives who try to track him down.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sergeant Frank Salerno
Lieutenant Gil Carrillo
Pearl Carrillo
Peter Morgan
Anne Clark
Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker) (as Gregory Norman Cruz)
Phil Thomas
Jenny Sullivan ...
Jane Salerno
Marisol R. Reyes ...
Maria Hernandez
Roger Hampton ...
Detective Heller
Jack Rader ...
Captain Robert Grimm
Dr. Chow (as Soon-Teck Oh)
Bill Melton
Jake Dengel ...
Mrs. Webster


"Manhunt" vividly tells the terrifying story of the pursuit and capture of Richard Ramirez, "the Night Stalker" - a serial killer who terrorized California in mid 1980s. Written by Jaromir Krol <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

12 November 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hunt for the Night Stalker  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


On two separate occasions, the US Bank Tower is visible: once in the opening credits (hard to see due to darkness, but that's definitely it) and again near the end when Ramirez is trying to evade police. This building didn't begin construction until 1987, two years after the film's setting. See more »


Featured in Confessions of a Hollywood Stuntman (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Works better than sleeping pills
29 September 2004 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

This is the fifteenth year anniversary of the most notable crimes in American History, Richard Ramirez being convicted as America's most feared Serial Killer since Jack the Ripper, and possibly the most popular, due to gaining myriad Media attention and worldwide fame from Male and Female Groupies than any international Rock Star in the Night Stalker trial, and this movie was created to mark this event.

This is suppose to be a Chiller of a thriller- it's trying to be, but the suspense is subdued due to certain scenes of some tedious moments that are unnecessary to be shown, like the cop's private lives, comprised with hammy performances and bad music score with a rip-off of Night Prowler by AC/DC.

The TRUE shadowed actions of the Night Stalker was that he never made a sound of slamming car doors, nor using flashlights in the dark; he adjusted to work in remote darkness. As for the rare avia tennis shoes, he suppose to have dumped them in the San Francisco river, and opt for combat boots later on due to Diane Feinstein's elocution slip up, that's why cops can't see them on his feet. However the movie writers claimed Diane mentioned 'ballistics were the same compared to the L.A. Murders' but that was NOT the only evidence that "damaged" the investigation, she mentioned the avia footprints that the Night Stalker did notify to choose a more common footwear, so there was loose accounts to this movie.

The dialogue was full of terrible lines, and careless errata too, one of Gil Carrillo's daughters was called "Rene" in the beginning, so why was his wife, Pearl, called the same girl "Mica" after 43 minutes into the film? Like one Critic mentioned, Richard Jordan as an experienced detective Frank Salerno, also in charge of the Hillside Strangler case in the 1970's relies on "his gut" than anything else!

Plus, The face of the Night Stalker was revealed near the end of the movie - which is cringe worthy, another Actor should have played Richard, someone with talent. I agree with the same reviewer- Cruz had a single expression on his face, and the Real Richard was slovenly in appearance when he was apprehended by the police but was in fact seraphic looking, blessed with devilishly fierce good looks, and moody hypnotic charm. Gregory Norman Cruz was not a brilliant actor at all, and he kept looking at a certain angle of the camera to appear sinister, surely Keanu Reeves who is good at playing villains could have done a better job at that time of making this movie, he was an unknown actor, tall, looked like a light-skinned Mexican due to his Hawaiian and Caucasoid features, and the same age as Ramirez in 1985, but these days it would be Benjamin Bratt to fit Richard's Visage.

Most of all, There should be scenes that Habitants all over the State that stay up late in the brutal heat of the Californian Summer, their mind playing tricks on them thinking every nuance of sound IS the Stalker - this should meticulously create the convincing fearful atmosphere which the movie did not represent. The movie should be like THE BOSTON STRANGLER; showing the statistics demonstration of locks and guns being sold by the hour in the city to provide an epitome of the aura of Los Angeles in 1985, but unfortunately it was vacantly provided to be unconvincing. Instead Bruce Seth Green done laconic scenes especially of Richard being a fugitive, falling on his face so audience can laugh at him like a pantomime villain, also skidding up some dust, and taking a Mustang with some mooning fat guy hanging out the car window then being knocked unconscious, suddenly people of East L.A. came out of nowhere chasing Richard, pounced on him, and the SAME fat guy with the Mustang was at the scene!! How did he get there so fast despite his quick sleep??

This is an average sleeper; I suggest Philip Carlo's book is a better project than this fine old mess.

2 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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