Desperate Hours (1990)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  5 October 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 5,043 users  
Reviews: 49 user | 21 critic

An escaped con on the run from the law moves into a married couple's home and takes over their lives.



(novel), (play), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brenda Chandler
Nancy Breyers
Danny Gerard ...
Ed Tallent
John Christopher Jones ...


Michael Bosworth is a psychotic criminal who is about to go on trial however, he seduces his lawyer into helping him escape. But as they try to make their getaway, she's left behind. He decides to wait for her to come to him, so he decides to hide at the house of the Cornells. Now it appears that the Cornells have problems of their own. The husband and wife are separated. And there's an FBI agent after them who is using the lawyer to lead them to Bosworth. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Desire is the deadliest weapon of all. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

5 October 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

24 Stunden in seiner Gewalt  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)


$2,742,912 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was made and released about thirty-five years after its source play "The Desperate Hours" by Joseph Hayes had been first performed in 1955. See more »


Cop: [Brenda warned her agents to not fire at the house, but she wasn't heard and they fired anyway. A cop tries to rescue her] Are you hurt?
Brenda Chandler: Only in my ego!
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: The Worst Films of 1990 (1991) See more »


Performed by Cindy Bullens
Written by Cindy Bullens
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A perfect example of a movie being so bad it's good
16 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of those movies that is very difficult to give a star rating because its high entertainment value is due to the fact that it's almost completely terrible.

A remake of the 1955 Humphry Bogart-Fredric March potboiler, DESPERATE HOURS is an unrelentingly bizarre piece of exploitation trash. There's virtually nothing "good" about it. The screenplay ranges from scattershot to just plain off-the-wall weird, the performances are some of the most over-the-top ever committed to film and the direction is borderline psychotic. Director Michael Cimino and producer Dino De Laurentiis once again prove that they are more capable than anyone else in the film industry of taking a potentially good idea and drowning it in excessiveness.

Mickey Rourke and Anthony Hopkins are both excellent actors. They are also actors who go from mannered to berserk very quickly. Both chew the scenery as if their lives depend on it. Mimi Rodgers is wooden even during emotionally intense scenes, Shawnee Smith is distraught before the home invaders show up and Lindsay Crouse is both wooden and over-the-top at the same time.

Kelly Lynch is the only actor who turns in even an appropriate performance, evoking a sense of hopelessness and panic from the start that makes you feel for her character, even if she has dug her own grave. This doesn't help a bewildering early scene in which her blouse spontaneously pops open to reveal her bare breasts make any more sense, however.

There are a lot of interesting plot and characterization ideas floating around the proceedings but none of them are ever fully developed. It reminds me of Cimino's HEAVEN'S GATE and De Laurentiis's DUNE, two similarly flawed but occasionally brilliant disasters which have grown better with age. Maybe with time, viewers will begin to see the tight, complex thriller struggling to break through the mess that is DESPERATE HOURS.

But all this analysis begs the question, would the movie have been more entertaining had it been put together more coherently? The answer is: probably not.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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