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In the Line of Fire
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Reviews & Ratings for
In the Line of Fire More at IMDbPro »

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52 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

I Can't Look Away

9/10
Author: (mattymatt30) from Saskatchewan
26 March 2004

'In the Line of Fire' is one of those Hollywood films that shows up on tv quite a bit, but although I've seen it a few times, I usually end up sitting through the whole thing again. Why? - It's GOOD! Clint Eastwood is great as usual, and the character he plays is interesting and more fleshed out than usual. The character, Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan, is haunted by the fact that he was on the detail that failed to protect President Kennedy in Dallas, and now he's forced to match wits with a professional assassin that is openly declaring that he will kill the president. However, the film doesn't make him a depressed, brooding, and obsessed character. He's charming and personable, and is realistic as a guy that has experienced a lot in life and is comfortable in his own skin. He's even quite convincing when he flirts with the pretty younger agent played by Rene Russo. The killer, played by John Malkovich at his best, is cerebral, deliberate, and enjoys playing high stakes games of life and death. He even goes by the name of another presidential assassin, John Booth.

The film is consistently enjoyable, and it delivers all the goods - suspense, action, romance, and drama - all in their proper amounts. It's a fun film that is really helped by the great actors in it!

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38 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

Crackling excitement!

8/10
Author: Jeff (spoonjef@aol.com) from L.A. CA
31 July 1999

In The Line of Fire gives us a great game of cat and mouse. Clint Eastwood is plagued by John Malkovich in this riveting film. Malkovich says he's going to kill the president, and he purposely calls Eastwood, and pushes his buttons. He questions Eastwood's ability to protect someone. Malkovich brings a cold, but very intelligent mindset to his character. Everything he does, he does for a reason, and he's not shy about killing. Eastwood has to overcome the suspicions of his superiors in order to catch Malkovich, but no one wants to listen to him. The result is a film that crackles with suspense that escalates to a tense scene in a ballroom at the Bonneventure Hotel. Wolfgang Peterson ratchets up the tension and we feel every turn.

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40 out of 50 people found the following review useful:

Underrated Thriller

9/10
Author: RChatterjee81 from North Hollywood, CA
14 October 2004

Quite simply a well-made, well-written and wonderfully acted movie. Eastwood is classic as grizzled Secret Service Agent Frank Horrigan and Rene Russo

holds her own as partner (and love interest) Lilly Raines. But the movie's

greatness rests on the shoulders of John Malkovich as "Booth". He captures

this character's rage and hatred, as well as his humanity oddly enough.

Personally I think this was his best performance and should have received an

Oscar for it (But I loved Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive as well that year). Overall a great movie to see you want to peek into an assassin's mind and be

on the edge of your seat the whole way through. Enjoy!!

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30 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Peterson and Eastwood make a great team

8/10
Author: SmileysWorld from United States
11 January 2002

Clint Eastwood scores big in this thriller from 1993.Teamed with an absolute master of edge of your seat suspense,Wolfgang Peterson, Eastwood delivers as only he can.Also,John Malkovich goes on my list of most effective screen villains in the history of cinema as the demented assassin.As for Rene Russo as Clint's love interest,I think Kirk Douglas said it best when he said,referring to his own career,"I keep getting older,and my leading ladies keep getting younger".This film is a very effective thriller with enough plot twists and surprises to keep you going.Eastwood and Peterson should team together more often. Top notch movie.

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27 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Top Thriller

8/10
Author: mjw2305 from England
14 January 2007

Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) is a secret service agent plagued with guilt over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, while he was on duty. Thirty years later and the current president is entering a re-election campaign, but he is receiving death threats; and Horrigan has been called in to assist in what should be a routine research operation. John Malkovich plays the professional assassin and master of disguise who is tracking the president, and using the past he begins to torture Horrigan in a psychological duel of cat and mouse.

Malkovich, Eastwood and Rene Russo all give wonderful performances in this top notch thriller. The direction is excellent and the entire picture is charged with tension and intrigue throughout.

A must see for thriller fans 8/10

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29 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Right on target

Author: Dodger-9 from York
8 November 2000

Clint Eastwood could do no wrong in the early Nineties.

Hot on the heels of Unforgiven, he teamed up with The Perfect Storm director Wolfgang Petersen for one of the best thrillers of the decade - In the Line of Fire.

Imagine a cross between The Day of the Jackal and The Bodyguard and you get the idea.

Hollywood's craggiest leading man plays Frank Horrigan, a troubled bodyguard assigned to protect the US president against a psychopathic assassin.

John Malkovich delivers a stunning performance as the man on the end of the trigger and acclaimed German director Petersen directs with such skill, Eastwood even asked his advice when he came to direct A Perfect World.

Clint was 63 when he made this and brought a lifetime of experience to the role of a world weary Secret Service agent haunted by the fact he failed to save President Kennedy from the fatal bullet.

The clever use of a doctored photo by Hollywood whiz kids shows the actor/director stood at the side of JFK. A nice touch which is well worth looking out for.

To be honest, ITLOF is a cliched thriller, the sort of story which crops up most weeks as a glossy, no brain offering on Channel 5.

However, both director and stars took the well worn material and gave it a fresh spin, upping the tension several notches with each passing scene, resulting in a spectacular finale which is great value for money.

Rene Russo is so good she could play the part in her sleep. The former model adds a degree of mature charm to her role of an agent who Horrigan believes is mere `window dressing' for the department.

As with all of Wolfgang's movies, believability is everything. A rare degree of authenticity was achieved during the crowd scenes when the German film-maker integrated his fictitious President with the crowds from the Clinton and Bush election campaign.

The cost? A cool $4million.

The script had been knocking around Hollywood for a decade before it was dusted down and given a green light. It was originally to star Dustin Hoffman (who signed up for Petersen's follow up, Outbreak).

British director Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough) was due to direct the Hoffman version, but when David Puttnam took over as the head of Columbia in 1987, the movie was put on hold.

Producer Jeff Apple (a man more known in the trade for his interactive shopping shows than films) brought in Jeff Maguire to polish up the script.

The idea of Horrigan as an agent who failed to stop JFK's untimely death gave the movie a twist that Hollywood execs found delicious.

Before long, there was a feeding frenzy over the new, improved script and eventually, Rob Reiner's Castle Rock company snapped it up for a million dollars with Clint Eastwood on board.

Petersen had wanted Harrison Ford, but eventually cast him as the President in Air Force One (which you may remember was the film of the week a couple of weeks ago).

As any Clint fan knows, he's a jazz fan - a passion shared by Horrigan in what seemed to be a tailor made role adapted for old Mr Squinty after he signed on the dotted line.

However, Frank's love of piano and jazz was already on the page - a happy accident which helped turn Horrigan into one of Clint's most likeable big screen characters.

Top drawer stuff.

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19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Satisfactory Condition

7/10
Author: Robert J. Maxwell (rmax304823@yahoo.com) from Deming, New Mexico, USA
28 April 2002

This is another of Eastwood's many movies mixing intrigue, action, and a dollop of romance, along with "The Gauntlet," "Firefox," and so forth. Clint's acting range by now is pretty familiar. In this one, he's taciturn and a bit outrageous, especially with women and superiors. There are no surprises in his performance. But the film itself is something of a surprise; it's above average.

Clint is Frank, a Secret Service agent who, perhaps in a moment of doubt, failed to catch the bullet that killed JFK. He then took to drink, which drove his family away, and now plods along in the bureaucracy until he is contacted by John Malkovitch, calling himself "Booth," who strikes up a sort of skewed relationship with him based on their shared, disillusioned conviction that everything is meaningless except the impulse to escape dreariness and predictability. Now, this is rather an anfractuous set of attitudes for a performer like Clint to project, but he does rather well, less robotic than usual. And he does seem to carry around with him, like a burden of stone, the memory of that moment in Dallas. He's tested again halfway through this movie. He is hanging from the roof of a tall building, grasping Booth's hand, and he pulls his pistol and points it at Booth, who asks him if he is really willing to shoot. If he does, of course, he saves the president from an attempted assassination by a CIA-trained murderer, but he does so at the cost of his own life. Booth twits him about the situation as they hold hands in midair. And Clint even has a short speech, talking to Renee Russo, about his failure to save the president in Dallas. "If I'd have reacted quickly enough, I could have taken that shot . . . and that would have been alright with me." It's underplayed, but his voice chokes slightly, his eyes water, and his lip trembles. It's one of the few scenes in any of Clint's films that might properly be called "moving." We know from his newfound resolve that given another chance he would take the bullet this time. (The irony is that he doesn't like the current president. Who could? He gives pompous speeches in Colorado about how they "carved a nation out of the wilderness." Didn't they do the same thing in Las Vegas?)

It's often said that a movie is only as good as its villain. It isn't true, nothing is that simple, but an argument could be made for its truth value in this case. The reptilian John Malkovitch with his Tartar eyes is marvelous.

Talk about disillusioned. Okay, he can ham it up a little, sniffing with disdain even as he plugs two innocent hunters between the eyes, but he's fascinating on the screen. Renee Russo has little do to. Fred Thompson, as the chief White House aid, is now back in politics, a relief for movie-goers. If Clint's acting range is limited, Thompson's is something less. In every film he's been in, he wears the same solemn and dissatisfied expression, as if constantly plagued by some form of volcanic digestive disorder.

The direction by Wolfgang Peterson is as good as it was in "Das Boot," which is pretty good. There is a great deal of the usual suspenseful cross-cutting in the final shootout. And when Clint and Russo fall into an impassioned embrace in her hotel room and scuttle backwards towards the bed like two weasels in heat, Peterson playfully shows us their feet along with a succession of objects dropping to the floor -- not only the usual garments but handcuffs, guns, beepers, palm pilots, Dick Tracy wrist watches and other impedimenta. Interrupted, Clint lies back on the bed and sighs, "Now I have to put all that stuff back on again."

Well written and worth watching.

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20 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

It's fannntastic!

10/10
Author: arthurclay from Italy
25 May 2005

A great performance by Clint Eastwood and particularly John Malkovich in my opinion his finest one to date. Malkovich had this one nailed right down to the floor it's incredible. Eastwood is Agent Mike Horrigan, an aged and cynical Secret Service Agent who is finishing out his career busting counterfeiters and chasing down routine assignments. But one assignment which appears to be run of the mill at first turns complicated and deadly serious. Horrigan and his new partner Al are sent to investigate a threat on the President by a "wacko". As fate would have it Horrigan has stumbled not upon a delusional nut but a professional lone wolf who has a big bone to pick with the White House. As Horrigan dives deeper into "Booth's" world he attracts the bad guy's unwanted attention and unbridled admiration for him. Horrigan was JFK's top agent and present in Dallas, Texas when he was assassinated and blames himself for what happened. Now he feels it's up to him to stop the current Head of State from joining the list of dead Presidents. But this killer has turned the tables on Horrigan and now he's the hunted one in a life or death cat and mouse game. Who will win? Who will die? It's a race against time to save the Pres from a chameleon-like enemy who can get to anyone. My favorite Secret Service movie and as good a nail biter as any.

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16 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

A Crackling Thriller!!

Author: claudonio from california
26 January 2000

"In the Line Of Fire" is an expertly crafted thriller that has a fantastic climax. The film starts building suspense a half hour into the movie and it doesn't let up until the final scene. Clint Eastwood does exceptional work as does John Malkovich as the villian, the rest of the cast turns in good performances as well. Director Wolfgang Peterson knows how to build suspense and he does it extremely well, he also directed another top notch suspense thriller "Air Force One."

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

strictly average

5/10
Author: HelloTexas11 from United States
1 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'In The Line Of Fire' is a film that sounds better than it really is. It has all the prerequisites for an exciting thriller- an oddball assassin planning to kill the President, a Secret Service agent determined to stop him, a long cat & mouse game between them, a beautiful woman the agent has an affair with... all tried and true plot devices. The Secret Service agent, Frank Horrigan, is a hard-headed loner, the last surviving member of the detail that guarded John Kennedy when he was shot and killed. All these potentially exciting elements never really come together, and the film has a cut-and-dried, paint-by-the-numbers feel to it. The various subplots come across as clichéd; for instance, we instinctively know, early on, that Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) will fall out of favor with his superiors. We know he and the beautiful Secret Service agent Lily Raines (Rene Russo), even though she apparently can't stand him, will have an affair. We know the nutcase assassin (John Malkovich) will come within a hair's breadth of killing the President. And of course we know Horrigan will prevent it, on duty or not. Granted, the movie delivers all this competently; Eastwood, as always, is fun to watch and some of his dry dialogue is effective. But an air of the routine permeates the film. There is nothing particularly scary about Mitch Leary; he's more annoying than anything in his phone calls to Horrigan, when he taunts the agent for failing to protect Kennedy all those years ago. Nothing in the film is very subtle or mysterious. It is suggested that Horrigan is too old for his job and sure enough in the next scene, he is running alongside the presidential limo, obligingly huffing and puffing to show his age. The film wants to be a cross between 'Silence of the Lambs' and 'The Manchurian Candidate' but has none of those films' layered textures or rich characterizations. It plays like a decently produced TV movie and, taken on that level, is moderately entertaining.

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