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The Hunter (1980) Poster

(1980)

Trivia

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Steve McQueen was diagnosed with cancer the month after filming had ended.
During filming Eli Wallach found it difficult to believe the rumors that Steve McQueen was dying.
This movie was Steve McQueen's third movie made as part of his comeback. McQueen had stopped making movies after The Towering Inferno (1974). His first comeback film was An Enemy of the People (1978) whilst his second was Tom Horn (1980).
When Steve McQueen arrived at one of locations used for the film, he was checked into a really nice hotel with all the amenities available at the time. When he found out that the crew was staying in a cheaper motel nearby, he checked out of the hotel and stayed in the motel with the crew.
This movie is based on the life of real bounty hunter Ralph "Papa" Thorson aka Ralph Thorson. Thorson performed three roles on this movie. He acted as a technical consultant, had written the novel on which it was based, and played a small cameo.
The real Ralph Thorson, portrayed by Steve McQueen in this movie, was killed by a car bomb in 1994.
Steve McQueen's final film.
According to numerous biographies and documentaries on Steve McQueen's life, one of the first signs of problems relating to the cancer in his lungs (which would claim his life) occurred when shooting a scene in which McQueen is running down the street and turns a corner. When the director yelled, "Cut!", McQueen didn't come back around the corner. McQueen was found leaning against a wall trying desperately to catch his breath.
Lee Marvin was considered for the lead role before Steve McQueen accepted the part.
The toys that Steve McQueen's character tinkered with during the movie were from his own collection.
Producers of this picture were not satisfied with Michel Legrand's musical score which was too baroque for a thriller, they said. Finally,they came to an agreement with the French composer. Legrand's music was kept on US copies but a new musical score composed by Charles Bernstein was mixed with the soundtrack for copies released in Europe.
Steve McQueen came up with the idea of going against his famous car racing abilities by portraying Papa Thorson as a terrible driver.
Even though he was in poor health, Steve McQueen did most of his own stunts.
The film received poor reviews, with several critics suggesting it felt like it was made for television.
LeVar Burton's role was not in the original script. Steve McQueen liked his work and figured there should be more roles for him, so the role of Tommy Price was written in.
Publicity for this picture stated that it took some dramatic license with Ralph Thorson's life but the major events depicted in the movie actually occurred in real life.
This film reunites Steve McQueen with Eli Wallach twenty years after they worked together on The Magnificent Seven (1960).
Producer Mort Engelberg once said of bounty hunter Ralph "Papa" Thorson: "Thorson is the last of his kind - a man born into an age to which he really does not belong. Among other things, insurance companies will not insure his life, and he will never receive any social security payments . . . I felt that if ever there was material for an explosive film - this was it."
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Reportedly, Steve McQueen's salary for this picture was US $3 million plus a percentage of the profits.
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The strange, stubby looking, non-lethal device that Thorson uses once in the film to stop the large angry man in his house is the original Stun Gun made by MB Associates in San Ramon CA. This 36mm device used a large leather or canvas bag filled with lead shot to stop people without major injury or death instead of electricity like today's Stun Guns.The "Bean Bag" rounds also used dye to mark people that were hit by this device. Non-lethal "Bean Bag" rounds are still used today by police and law enforcement agencies but are now built into normal shotgun cartridges and do not require a special device to fire them.
The legend of Ralph Thorson as depicted in this movie is that, as publicity for the film indicated, as a bounty-hunter he had captured over 5000 fugitives from justice who had jumped bail.
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This movie was not the first time that Steve McQueen played a bounty hunter. McQueen had played a bounty hunter about twenty years earlier in the TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958), and in Tom Horn (1980).
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Although he has second billing, Eli Wallach appears in only three scenes.
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When Papa came to know that Tommy Price was released from custody and end up repairing his TV set, the real life Papa Thorson did house former skip tracers who he did take into custody and did provide a few with stable employment and/or loaned money. Not depicted in the film is Papa's role as an ordained minister (he was a bishop in real life) with the Temple of Inspired Living, and Dottie bringing in cases (in the film she is a schoolteacher instead of a case worker).
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This film's opening prologue states: "In an 1872 decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that bail bondsmen may employ private citizens to act on their behalf. The Court ruled that these private citizens "may pursue and apprehend a bail violator in another state or country; and if necessary, may break and enter his house for that purpose." With the arrival of civilization and the closing of the American frontier in the early 1900s, the "bounty hunter" became extinct. But someone forgot to tell Ralph "Papa" Thorson...".
The 1951 chevy used in The Hunter was featured on an episode of Pawn Stars before being auctioned in 2013. Rick purchased the car for $37000 from a private seller who had purchased the chevy from the estate of Steve McQueen
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'Allmovie' notes that this film "features stunt work that anticipates the 'Lethal Weapon' series".
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A 2006 TV commercial for Allstate Insurance (directed by Phil Joanou) paid homage to the car chase scene in the Marina Towers - including the scene of the car crash into the Chicago River.
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Final theatrically released movie for director Buzz Kulik.
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The green jacket wore by Steve McQueen was the famous MA-1 flight ("bomber") jacket made by Alpha Industries, original manufacturer for the US Air Force.
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The actual 1951 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe convertible Steve McQueen drove in this film sold for $84,000 in an auction in 2013.
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Three 1979 Pontiac Grand Prixs were used during the chase up the Marina City West Tower parking garage - one of the cars which was used in the stunt where the car dives out of the West Tower on the 17th floor was fitted with an accelerator lock fixed to the trunk; the car was later salvaged from the Chicago River. Six camera crews filmed the car dive including one from a hovering helicopter. In the original script - the fugitive Bernardo was supposed to survive the crash but the producers changed the script where the impact of the Grand Prix was too severe.
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The meaning and relevance of this movie's title is that it refers to a shortened version of the word Bounty-Hunter which is the profession of the central character played by Steve McQueen.
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Papa means Dad in Spanish.
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Cameo 

Ralph Thorson: The Real "Papa" Thorson plays the bartender at the bar where Steve McQueen drinks after a character commits suicide.

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