6.3/10
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79 user 50 critic

Tightrope (1984)

New Orleans single dad and cop Wes Block (Clint Eastwood) goes after a serial rapist-killer, but when he gets too close to the target, the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted.

Director:

Richard Tuggle

Writer:

Richard Tuggle (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Wes Block
Geneviève Bujold ... Beryl Thibodeaux
Dan Hedaya ... Det. Molinari
Alison Eastwood ... Amanda Block
Jenny Beck ... Penny Block (as Jennifer Beck)
Marco St. John ... Leander Rolfe
Rebecca Perle ... Becky Jacklin
Regina Richardson Regina Richardson ... Sarita
Randi Brooks ... Jamie Cory
Jamie Rose ... Melanie Silber
Margaret Howell Margaret Howell ... Judy Harper
Rebecca Clemons Rebecca Clemons ... Girl with Whip
Janet MacLachlan ... Dr. Yarlofsky
Graham Paul Graham Paul ... Luther
Bill Holliday Bill Holliday ... Police Chief
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Storyline

Wes Block (Clint Eastwood) is a detective who's put on the case of a serial killer whose victims are young and pretty women, that he rapes and murders. The killings are getting personal when the killer chooses victims who are acquaintances of Block. Even his daughters are threatened. Written by Tony Kessen <rhkessen@cs.vu.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A cop on the edge...


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 August 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Wolf hetzt die Meute See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,156,545, 19 August 1984

Gross USA:

$48,143,579

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$48,143,579
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Writer and Director Richard Tuggle, the inspiration for the story happened to be crimes committed by the Bay Area Rapist, who had been terrorizing the San Francisco Bay Area for much of the previous ten years. This movie's serial killer turned out to be an ex-cop. In April 2018, the Bay Area Rapist was finally arrested after advanced DNA testing matched his DNA to some of the crimes. Ironically enough, the Bay Area Rapist was an ex-cop as well, and is now more commonly known as the Golden State Killer, suspected in at least twelve murders in addition to the more than fifty rapes. See more »

Goofs

Despite shooting on location in New Orleans, not one person in this movie has a regional Louisiana, New Orleans, or Cajun accent. See more »

Quotes

Beryl Thibodeaux: Do you investigate many sexual crimes?
Wes Block: Why?
Beryl Thibodeaux: I was wondering if they've had any... effect on you.
Wes Block: Well, they did make me want to treat my wife a little more tenderly.
Beryl Thibodeaux: How did she respond?
Wes Block: She said she wasn't interested in tenderness.
See more »

Alternate Versions

ABC edited 16 minutes from this film for its 1987 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Flying Doctors: Sins of the Father (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not as tight as it could be.
19 October 2010 | by son_of_cheese_messiahSee all my reviews

TightRope is a very accurate name for this picture, the most interesting aspect of which is Eastwood's attempts to balance his duties as a responsible and loving father with his taste for deviant sex. This latter he shares with the serial killer he is pursuing. The killer has a penchant for strangling his victims with ribbons which I guess is another meaning for "tight rope".

Eastwood's character is very well fleshed out and his desire to provide a safe and normal home life for his daughters and later to establish a relationship with a rape defence adviser he is attracted to, is very believable. While this is happening, he is drawn deeper and deeper into the dark world of bondage and sado-masochism and there is for a long time some doubt as to which way he will fall and even that he may know more about the killings than he admits.

All this is very compellingly handled.

Unfortunately the villain is straight out of central casting. A one-dimensional cardboard cut-out who the film makers attempt to give some mystery to by having him wear masks. Yawn. Unlike Eastwood, this villain is poorly drawn and apart from an uncharacteristic appearance at the start, is completely silent. He just swans around in the shadows a-la the phantom of the opera and has little of the sense of personality even of Scorpio in Dirty Harry.

There is no real reason why he should be masked, actually, since he is an undistinguished looking character, and stalking around with an assortment of facial coverings is more likely to draw attention to himself if anything. One must believe that this oddly disguised person can enter and leave buildings (such as brothels - highly security conscious in the real world) without anyone noticing. Or perhaps he goes in unmasked and whips out his disguise later? Who knows? If the latter, why bother with the disguise at all? It certainly has not been thought out and is a very cheap attempt to create a sense of intrigue and danger.

Its a pity because the constant appearance of this silly villain actually detracts from the menace and darkness of this film. Without him, there would be real doubt as to whether Eastwood was really the killer himself, for instance. I do not think I give anything away in saying this, since the clunking villain is seen stalking Eastwood from quite early on, hovering behind him or looking in the skylight, so much so that you feel like shouting "He's behind you!" in a pantomime sort of way.

Other details do not ring true, such as Eastwood telling a young male hooker to go to a warehouse to be paid by the killer then going there himself to find (surprise! Surprise!) the hooker hanging by his neck. Cheap and unrealistic writing like this add to the schlock horror feel.

All this leads to a routine and unnecessarily gory finale. However, a touching moment with his girlfriend shows that the film makers do understand subtlety.


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