6.0/10
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87 user 33 critic

Tequila Sunrise (1988)

A former L.A. drug dealer tries to go straight but his past and his underworld connections bring him into the focus of the DEA, the Mexican feds and the Mexican drug cartels.

Director:

Robert Towne

Writer:

Robert Towne
Reviews
Popularity
4,855 ( 1,085)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... McKussic
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Jo Ann
Kurt Russell ... Frescia
Raul Julia ... Carlos / Escalante
J.T. Walsh ... Maguire
Arliss Howard ... Lindroff
Arye Gross ... Andy Leonard
Gabriel Damon ... Cody McKussic
Daniel Zacapa ... Arturo (as Garret Pearson)
Eric Thiele Eric Thiele ... Vittorio
Tom Nolan Tom Nolan ... Leland
Dawn Martel Dawn Martel ... Sin Sister
Lala Sloatman ... Sin Sister #2 (as Lala)
Budd Boetticher ... Judge Nizetitch
Ann Magnuson ... Shaleen
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Storyline

Mac Mckussic is an unlikely drug dealer who wants to go straight. His old and best friend Nick Frescia is now a cop who is assigned to investigate and bring him to justice. Mac is very attracted to Jo Ann, the owner of a stylish restaurant. Nick gets close to Jo Ann attempting to know more about Mac's drug dealing plans and his connections with the Mexican dealer Carlos, who the police believe is coming to town to meet with him. Nick also falls for Jo Ann's charms and his friendship with Mac is in danger. Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Un cocktail explosif [French] See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

2 December 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Traición al amanecer See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,350,974, 4 December 1988, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$41,292,551

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$105,932,000, 31 December 1989
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

When Maguire is listening to surveillance tapes of Jo Ann, she is heard offering Mac a Tequila Sunrise cocktail. See more »

Goofs

When Pfeiffer is at the police station getting her chef released, Russell pulls up and parks directly in front of her car. When they leave the station, his car isn't there and Pfeiffer is able to drive away unobstructed. See more »

Quotes

Nick Frescia: Let's not talk about my business, or his business or your business.
Jo Ann: That leaves us nothing to talk about.
Nick Frescia: Let's eat.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the end credits roll, the color of the text changes from dark orange (at the bottom of the screen) to yellow (at the top), mirroring the colors of a Tequila Sunrise cocktail. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.198 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Worry, Baby
Performed by The Everly Brothers with The Beach Boys
Written by Brian Wilson & Roger Christian
See more »

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User Reviews

Very Underrated
3 June 2000 | by Khaled Yafi-01See all my reviews

Many perceive Tequila sunrise to be a routine, formulaic cop thriller with some nice sets, pretty actors, some guns, some sex....etc. Cynics go on to say that Gibson has never acted worse, that the plot twists are predictable and the love triangle is overly cheesy. I, on the other hand, feel that the film profits greatly from expert cinematography, fluent storytelling and convincing(albeit rather undemanding)acting. Pitting Gibson (the now-retired drug dealer lured back for one last deal) and Russell (the reluctant sheriff assigned to bust him) as best of friends on opposite sides of the law was a strong premise, made even more compelling by the fact that the drug dealer (Gibson) is the sympathetic character and the cop (Russell) is the sly, manipulative sort. There is an apparent sense of irony and it goes a long way to making an otherwise average story, interesting and very watchable. Pfeiffer is the glamorous love interest whose character does a lot to intensify the rivalry between the two men. Much of the drama and strength however comes from the late J.T Walsh as Russell's superior, hell bent on bringing Gibson down and his Mexican drug counter-part who nobody has ever seen. A special sense of irony presents itself at the denouement for Walsh unknowlingly becomes a pawn in the drug ring that has now become the talk of the town thanks to his vendetta.

The also late Raul Julia never disappoints as the charismatic yet enigmatic Mexican law enforcer. Julia and Walsh complement the film beautifully as side characters with dubious intentions. They are multi-faceted and like all the other people in this film are torn between what they should do and what they want to do, and in fact what they end up doing. Nothing is black and white in Tequila Sunrise; it's a very grey area. With every development we learn more about the people and how they are so far from being what we originally perceived. Hats off to to Robert Towne for his writing. Tequila Sunrise may lack the inventiveness, vision, and dynamism of Chinatown (Robert Towne wrote both scripts), but it should, by no means be discarded as a mediocre cop thriller.It is a very slick piece of cinema with fine acting, glamorous sets, and great dialogue. Furthermore, unlike some of it's predecessors it's a film that can be seen repeatedly without losing it's cutting edge. Under appreciated and underrated, Tequila Sunrise is an excellent film


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