IMDb > A Shock to the System (1990)
A Shock to the System
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A Shock to the System (1990) More at IMDbPro »

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A Shock to the System -- Open-ended Trailer from HBO


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Writers (WGA):
Simon Brett (novel)
Andrew Klavan (screenplay)
View company contact information for A Shock to the System on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
23 March 1990 (USA) See more »
Killing is easy... Getting away with it is murder. See more »
When you think you're at the top of the corporate ladder and then discover they have managed to pull that ladder away... See more » | Add synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Crime DOES Pay if You Kill Horrible People!!! See more (35 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Michael Caine ... Graham Marshall

Elizabeth McGovern ... Stella Anderson

Peter Riegert ... Robert Benham

Swoosie Kurtz ... Leslie Marshall

Will Patton ... Lt. Laker

Jenny Wright ... Melanie O'Conner

John McMartin ... George Brewster
Barbara Baxley ... Lillian

Haviland Morris ... Tara Liston

Philip Moon ... Henry Park
Kent Broadhurst ... Executive #1

Zach Grenier ... Executive #2

David Schramm ... Executive #3
Sam Schacht ... David Jones
Christopher Durang ... Convention Speaker

Mia Dillon ... Graham's Secretary
Alice Haining ... Benham's Secretary
Patience Moore ... Wanda Maas
Darrell Wilks ... Joe
Scotty Bloch ... Secretary #1
Kim Staunton ... Secretary #2
Alicia Hoge ... Secretary #3
Mike Cicchetti ... Beggar #1
Rick Petrucelli ... Beggar #2
Victor Truro ... Bum
Rik Colitti ... Bum #2

Mike Starr ... Bum #3

Miguel Pérez ... Transit Cop

John Finn ... Motorman
Tyrone Jackson ... Messenger
Marie Sylvia ... Waitress

Samuel L. Jackson ... Ulysses (three-card monte game)

Jonathan Freeman ... Decorator in Bob's Office
Elizabeth Moran ... Partygoer

Joe Zaloom ... Hot Dog Vendor

Socorro Santiago ... Rental Car Attendant / Additional Dialogue

Welker White ... Kennel Driver

Frank Ferrara ... Off Duty Cab Driver
Sheila Stainback ... News Anchor Woman
Jim Dratfield ... Additional Dialogue
Fred Ephraim ... Additional Dialogue
Garry Goodrow ... Additional Dialogue
David H. Kramer ... Additional Dialogue
Angela Pietropinto ... Additional Dialogue
Craig Sechler ... Additional Dialogue
Louise Williams ... Additional Dialogue
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

José Alvarez ... Train Rider (uncredited)
Carl Burrows ... Businessman (uncredited)

Brian Gildea ... Construction Worker (uncredited)

Anibal O. Lleras ... Homeless (uncredited)

Charlie Sara ... Commuter at Grand Central Station (uncredited)
Anthony Scavone ... Mark (uncredited)

Directed by
Jan Egleson 
Writing credits
Simon Brett (novel)

Andrew Klavan (screenplay)

Produced by
Alice Arlen .... associate producer
Patrick McCormick .... producer
Leslie Morgan .... executive producer
Original Music by
Gary Chang 
Cinematography by
Paul Goldsmith (director of photography)
Film Editing by
William M. Anderson 
Peter C. Frank 
Casting by
Mary Colquhoun 
Production Design by
Howard Cummings 
Art Direction by
Bob Shaw  (as Robert K. Shaw Jr.)
Set Decoration by
Robert J. Franco 
Costume Design by
John A. Dunn 
Makeup Department
Kathryn Bihr .... hair stylist: Mr. Caine
Kathryn Bihr .... makeup artist: Mr. Caine
Victor DeNicola .... hair designer
Toni Trimble .... makeup artist
Production Management
Carl Clifford .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Otie Brown .... dga trainee
Johanna Jensen .... second assistant director
Amy Sayres .... first assistant director
Art Department
Will Alovis .... assistant construction coordinator
Scott Buckwald .... assistant construction coordinator
Debbie DeVilla .... painter
John M. Dwyer .... lead set dresser
Martha Fishkin .... lead set dresser
Laura Giordano .... painter
Melvin Lee Green .... carpenter
Bruce Lee Gross .... assistant property master (as Bruce Gross)
Martin Henderson .... assistant props
Tim Hunter .... painter
Elizabeth Linn .... lead painter (as Elizabeth L. Linn)
Ulf Lovén .... carpenter
Timothy Metzger .... lead set dresser
Rudy Pelikan .... construction grip
Raymond M. Samitz .... construction coordinator
Jean Roman Seyfried .... painter
Jean Roman Seyfried .... scenic artist
Jonathan Stein .... set builder
Ron Stone .... property master
Greg Sullivan .... scenic artist
Sound Department
Louis Bertini .... sound editor
Elisha Birnbaum .... foley artist
Kristine Bulakowski .... assistant adr editor
David Carbonara .... apprentice sound editor
Louis Cerborino .... supervising sound editor
Dan Edelstein .... assistant sound editor
Noreen Evans .... assistant sound editor
Tom Fleischman .... sound re-recording mixer
Thomas A. Gulino .... supervising sound editor
Jane McCulley .... adr editor
Danny Michael .... sound mixer
Andrew Schmetterling .... boom operator
Jeffrey Stern .... supervising sound editor
Susan M. Wagner .... assistant sound editor
Mark Wolfson .... sound recording engineer
Billy Youdelman .... sound recording engineer
Special Effects by
Wilfred Caban .... pyrotechnician
Steven Kirshoff .... special effects
Denis Zack .... special effects technician
Visual Effects by
Randall Balsmeyer .... visual effects supervisor
Frank Ferrara .... stunt coordinator
John Hayden .... stunts
Gino Lucci .... stunts
Michael Russo .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Stuart Allen .... crane technician: Louma crane
Lynn Breschel .... best boy electric
Jonathan Burkhart .... assistant camera
Ken Ferris .... additional photographer
Ken Ferris .... camera operator
Bob Gambardella .... lighting technician
Haddon Hufford .... dolly grip
Larry McConkey .... Steadicam operator
Michael C. Perry .... best boy electric
Chris Skutch .... third grip
Michael Slovis .... gaffer
Susan Starr .... first assistant camera
John Thomas .... best boy electric
David S. Tuttman .... second assistant camera
Paul Wachter .... best boy grip
Lynne Warberg .... still photographer
Tony Whitman .... key grip
Joan Zierler .... additional first assistant camera
Casting Department
Virginia Addison .... casting assistant
Ted Hook .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lisa R. Frucht .... wardrobe assistant
Kathleen Gerlach .... assistant costume designer
Kathy Kiatta .... wardrobe production assistant (as Kathleen Kiata)
Susie Money .... wardrobe supervisor
Editorial Department
Andrew Doerfer .... assistant editor
Andrew Hafitz .... apprentice editor
Nell Kelly .... assistant editor
Scott Bokun .... apprentice editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Sharon Boyle .... music supervisor
Suki Buchman .... music editor
Gary Goetzman .... music supervisor
James Harrah .... composer: additional music
Marshall Persinger .... music assistant
Sandy K. Tanaka .... music coordinator
Transportation Department
Tom O'Donnell .... transportation coordinator
Louis Volpe .... transportation co-coordinator (as Louis 'Sonny' Volpe)
Other crew
Joan Altman .... post-production auditor
Carlyn Bochicchio .... assistant production office coordinator
Eva Z. Cabrera .... script supervisor
Jay Cannold .... production assistant
Ady Cohen .... assistant craft service
Walter Cohen .... location assistant (as Walter J. Cohen)
Annemarie Costello .... production associate
David DeClerque .... location manager
David Feldman .... production assistant
Raymond L. Forsythe .... unit publicist
Jan Foster .... location coordinator
John Michael Haas .... production assistant
Dylan Hopkins .... production assistant
Elisabeth Jereski .... production assistant (as Liz Jeresky)
Alexander Lasky .... production assistant
Lexy Lovell .... production assistant
Michael McCormick .... production auditor
Frank McKenna .... craft service
Larry Meistrich .... production assistant
Michelle Morrissey .... production office coordinator (as Michelle Weinberg)
Barbara Pflughaupt .... unit publicist
Michael Schenk .... production assistant
Russell Swanson .... production assistant
Alexander Wardwell .... production assistant
Bart Wenrich .... location assistant
Lewis D. Wheeler .... assistant: Mr. Egleson

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
88 min | Canada:89 min (Ontario)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:Atp | Canada:14 (Ontario) | Iceland:L | Iceland:12 (re-rating) | UK:15 | USA:R

Did You Know?

The Lt. Laker character played by Will Patton has often being described as being a "Columbo" (1971)-like detective.See more »
Boom mic visible: At 72:59 when Graham is following the secretary that has the envelope opened and wrapped again by Stella to the elevator a boom Mic is visible.See more »
[first lines]
Graham Marshall:It all began one night when the lights went out.
See more »
Movie Connections:


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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Crime DOES Pay if You Kill Horrible People!!!, 21 September 1999

Who says Michael Caine is a so-so actor? He plays the perfect combination of a truly nice guy ground down by his shrewish wife, his slimy peer-then-boss, and corporate life, in general. Movies like this give us corporate slaves a little relief from the utter amoral depravity of the 'civilized' world we inhabit in these rabbit warrens, otherwise known as 'Cubical Hell'.

This man makes you completely sympathize with every one of his murders, all nicely planned to look like accidents. In fact, I am amazed that some lawyer hasn't pulled the 'Shock to the System' defense. Certainly, it has as much attraction for the frustrated as the films usually blamed. It's just more subtle, more high-brow and takes a little more finesse.

The detective is wonderfully nosy, but how he can walk up to Caine in the middle of New York City is quite amazing to me. A little too much dramatic license, too much coincidence to be believable but you tend to forget your logical approach to life.

Reality is easily suspended as Caine gets in his licks for all the humuliations we nice people have suffered in the corporate world, where the rapacious are rewarded by CEO salaries. The laughs are fast and furious, all delivered in that great understated British fashion.

Mr. Downtrodden gets his licks in and when the new boss talks about his Cessna, you've already fixed the engine. There are traces of 'The Ruling Class' in here, as Mr. Nice Guy becomes king of the mountain by firing everyone 'who is not a contributor', thus ingratiating himself with Mr. Cessna. McGovern gives her Basset hound, soulful looks all through the film, and you feel her conflict about turning this wonderful guy in. She is promoted out and away, and all is well, which is usual for corporate shenanigans. They just usually don't involve murder.

Buy it and love it. Forget the professional reviewers for once on this. It's not meant to be 'Hamlet'.

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