60 user 65 critic

52 Pick-Up (1986)

1:46 | Trailer
A secret fling between a man and his mistress leads to blackmail and murder.


John Frankenheimer


Elmore Leonard (novel), Elmore Leonard (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Roy Scheider ... Harry Mitchell
Ann-Margret ... Barbara Mitchell
Vanity ... Doreen
John Glover ... Alan Raimy
Robert Trebor ... Leo Franks
Lonny Chapman ... Jim O'Boyle
Kelly Preston ... Cini
Doug McClure ... Mark Arveson
Clarence Williams III ... Bobby Shy
Alex Henteloff ... Dan Lowenthal
Michelle Walker Michelle Walker ... Counter Girl
Philip Bartko Philip Bartko ... Test Site Worker
Tom Byron ... Party Goer
Herschel Savage ... Party Goer (as Harvey Cowen)
Ron Jeremy ... Party Goer (as Ron Jeremy Hyatt)


Harry Mitchell, an L.A. manufacturer with a fancy car, a nice house, and a wife running for city council, has his life overturned when three masked blackmailers appear with a video tape of Harry and his young mistress. He's been set up, and they want $105,000. To protect his wife's political ambitions, Harry won't go to the police; instead, he shines them on and then doesn't pay. They up their demands, so he goes on the offensive, tracking them down and trying to turn one against the other. Their sociopathic leader, Alan, responds with violence toward the mistress and menace toward Harry's wife. Will Harry let up and pay off Alan or can he find some other solution? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A gripping, fast-paced suspense thriller of homicidal blackmail . . . See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


In 1975, producer Menahem Golan wanted to direct this in Israel with Joe Don Baker, Trish Van Devere and George Hamilton starring. See more »


When John Glover is seen manhandling Ann-Margret at the bridge location (and just before he puts her in the trunk of a car) you can clearly see the shadow of the camera on them at one point during their struggle. See more »


Harry Mitchell: I've been seeing someone. I met her three - three and a half months ago. I don't do this very well.
Barbara Mitchell: Try. Do I know her?
Harry Mitchell: No. I wasn't looking. I didn't go looking.
Barbara Mitchell: How old is she?
Harry Mitchell: Twenty-two.
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK cinema and video versions were cut by 1 min 36 secs and heavily edit a scene where Harry watches a video showing a topless woman being tied to a chair and shot to death. The cuts were waived for the 2004 MGM DVD. See more »


Referenced in Best of the Worst: Our VHS Collection (2019) See more »


Written by George Russell
Published by Russ-Hix Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Soul Note Records
See more »

User Reviews

Underrated Film of 1986
7 September 2001 | by eibon09See all my reviews

Seems out of place in time where the main emphasis in American films were on action and horror. 52 Pick Up(1986) is a film that's more suited to the middle years of the film noir genre during the mid 1940s. Many old and modern themes are put together to create a gripping and well acted thriller. Its roots are deep in Film Noir traditions and notions.

The main villain is one of the most memorable heavies in thrillers of the last twenty years. What makes the film so compelling are the realistic behavior of the villains who are into to something that's way over their heads. The main villain, Alan Raimy is a cool talking but vicious blackmailer and murderer who goes into a war a nerves with nemesis, Harry Mitchell. He is truly a frightening villain unlike in many crime thriller who's can explode at anytime or any second.

52 Pick Up(1986) is based on a novel by Elmore Leonard whose work has been adapted into the big screen or television. In the 1980s most of the Elmore Leonard based features were noirish, serious, and violent films..I.E., 52 Pick Up(1986), Stick(1985), Glitz(1987), and Cat Chaser(1989). During the 1990s films based on Elmore Leonard's work tended to be more lighter and less sleezy and serious like for example, Get Shorty(1995), Jackie Brown(1997), Touch(1996), Out of Sight(1998), and the made for TV movie Pronto(1998). 52 Pick Up(1952) is one of my favorite films based on the crime novels of Elmore Leonard.

The snuff murder sequence involving the murder of Cini played by Kelly Preston is chilling presented. Similiar to the scenes of snuff that the main character sees in 8MM(1998). A disturbing moment as disturbing as the Family massacre and torture home video of Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer(1986) from that same year. Realisticly directed with emotional impact by director, John Frankenheimer.

Filled with a good or excellent plot twist at every turn of the story. The Plot twists in 52 Pick Up(1986) unlike in Reindeer Games(2000) are more believable and well toned. Its the kind of plot twists shown in 52 Pick Up(1986) that shows Elmore Leonard's strengths as a writer and a master of surprising plot twists. My favorite plot twist ocurrs at the end of the motion picture.

Many of the actors of this motion picture give tight convincing performances that supplements the brilliantly crafted direction of John Frankenheimer. Roy Scheider gives his character of Harry Mitchell a combination of human vererability and mental toughness. Ann Margret pulls some surprises as the dissappointed but understanding wife, Barbara Mitchell. John Glover puts on a charismatic performance as the ruthless but suave Alain Raimy.

Carried by mood and attitude for the whole duration of the motion picture. Strong mood is what makes or breaks a Film Noir or crime thriller. 52 Pick Up(1986) has enough mood to last two films. The mood in here is so tense to the point of glass breaking and walls shaking.

There are no heroes in the world of 52 Pick Up, only Criminals and survivals. Harry Mitchell is the ultimate anti hero that is part of Film Noir lore. He is akin to many anti heroes played by Robert Mitchuim, Kirk Douglus, and other tough guys of the Film Noir period. The toughest of tough guys portrayed by Roy Scheider in his long career.

Clarence Williams 3 plays a character which he would do a varation of in the horrible Reindeer Games(2000). He was much better in 52 Pick Up(1986) than he is in Reindeer Games(2000). The blackmail aspect of 52 Pick Up(1986) appears in Reindeer Games with pathetic results. Directed with gritt and intensity by the talented but inconsistent John Frankenheimer.

Kelly Preston brings to her role a sense of naivity and tragedy all in one package. The final moments are nail biting in the tradition of nail biting crime thrillers. Overlooked film that is the type of film rarely made today in Hollywood in our PC world. 52 Pick Up(1986) shows that a crime thriller is more than action set pieces and flashy actors.

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Release Date:

7 November 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

52 Pick-Up See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,654,835, 9 November 1986

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo


Color (TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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