Two newly paired cops who are complete opposites must put aside their differences in order to catch a gang of drug smugglers.


Richard Donner


Shane Black
1,927 ( 244)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... Martin Riggs
Danny Glover ... Roger Murtaugh
Gary Busey ... Joshua
Mitchell Ryan ... The General
Tom Atkins ... Michael Hunsaker
Darlene Love ... Trish Murtaugh
Traci Wolfe ... Rianne Murtaugh
Jackie Swanson ... Amanda Hunsaker
Damon Hines Damon Hines ... Nick Murtaugh
Ebonie Smith ... Carrie Murtaugh
Bill Kalmenson ... Beat Cop
Lycia Naff ... Dixie
Patrick Cameron Patrick Cameron ... Cop #1
Don Gordon ... Cop #2
Jimmie F. Skaggs ... Drug Dealer #1


Martin Riggs is an L.A. cop with suicidal tendencies and Roger Murtaugh is the unlucky police officer with whom Riggs is assigned. Together they uncover a huge drug-smuggling operation, and as their success rate grows so does their friendship. Written by Graeme Roy <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


After 20 years on the force, police detective Roger Murtaugh has come face-to-face with the most dangerous killing machine in Los Angeles... his new partner. See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Michael Nouri, who was considered to play Martin Riggs and turned it down, did a different buddy cop movie called The Hidden (1987), which was also set in Los Angeles. See more »


Amanda's stockings are pulled up all the way as she falls, but are neatly rolled down below her knees after she lands. See more »


[During the mano - a - mano fight, Mr. Joshua has pinned Riggs to the ground, overpowering him]
Roger Murtaugh: Martin! Let me take him for you, Riggs! Let me take him!
Martin Riggs: [lifting his head up, growls hoarsely] *NO!*
Roger Murtaugh: *PLEASE!*
Martin Riggs: [growls] NO!
[to Mr. Joshua]
Martin Riggs: *BACK OFF!*
[Riggs rolls his body over Joshua, free himself]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original home video and television prints had the 1984 Warner Bros. logo with the Warner Communications byline at the beginning of the film, current prints had plastered instead with the 1998 Warner Bros. logo, but with the 2003 TimeWarner byline, The logo was also used on post-2003 prints of other films in the series including Lethal Weapon 2, Lethal Weapon 3, and Lethal Weapon 4. See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movie Street Fights (2015) See more »


Bugs Bunny Theme - This Is It
Written by Mack David and Jerry Livingston
Performed by Mel Blanc
See more »

User Reviews

Lethal on if you don't see it
12 May 2010 | by thesar-2See all my reviews

One more year until Die Hard that set all the clichés for future action pics. Until then, you'll just have to settle for Lethal Weapon, the movie that set the buddy-cop clichés. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

What a fantastically realistic, original and fun movie the original Lethal Weapon movie was. In addition, it broke barriers by adding a lot of subliminal "Can't we all just get along" messages. Some less obvious than others and some in your face, like making the two "opposite cop partners" white and black. (Later in the series, they shove "Save the Dolphin" messages down our throats.) Still reeling in his wife's untimely demise, excellent/top notch/Jack Bauer Detective Riggs (Gibson) is suicidal, a la a "lethal weapon" and is teamed with over-the-hill Murtaugh (Glover) to solve a case involving someone in Murtaugh's war-laced past. They don't get along, have totally different personalities and must learn to work together for their common goal: justice. By means of…fists and gunpowder, for the most part.

A lot of this sounds eerily familiar and predictable. And it is…for someone watching this for the first time today. But, again, this is the movie that set the standards. You'll have to thank this movie for the countless, and I mean countless, like in the hundreds, of rip-offs. Thankfully, this beginning of the "new age" buddy movie was very well done, but not without its flaws.

It is said that the majority (if not all) of the Lethal Weapon films are improv'ed. Sure, they had somewhat of a script, but for the most part, the actors just did there thing. 90% of the time, it worked. When it didn't, it was slow and a little bit too realistic, like you were watching a dysfunctional family or cop partners on TruTV. Thankfully, that was only 10%.

My parents took me to Lethal Weapon 2 in 1989. I was 14 and was allowed in due to being accompanied by adults. I had yet to see the original for years to come. I fell madly in love with part two. Unfortunately, once I was able to see this, I was disappointed as it was not as action-packed or funny as part 2. That said, this is still worth watching. You will see excellent acting by Gibson, the iconic Busey of the 1980s and the origin of the buddy-cop movies to follow. Absolutely recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 341 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook





Release Date:

6 March 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lethal Weapon See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,829,949, 8 March 1987

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (cut) | (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints) (4 channels)| Dolby Digital (5.1)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed