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Narrow Margin (1990)

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A Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney is sent to protect a woman who accidentally witnessed a Mafia murder.

Director:

Peter Hyams

Writers:

Peter Hyams (screenplay), Earl Felton (earlier screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gene Hackman ... Robert Caulfield
Anne Archer ... Hunnicut
James Sikking ... Nelson (as James B. Sikking)
J.T. Walsh ... Michael Tarlow
M. Emmet Walsh ... Sgt. Dominick Benti (as M. Emmett Walsh)
Susan Hogan ... Kathryn Weller
Nigel Bennett ... Jack Wootton
J.A. Preston ... Martin Larner
B.A. 'Smitty' Smith B.A. 'Smitty' Smith ... Keller
Codie Lucas Wilbee Codie Lucas Wilbee ... Nicholas
Barbara Russell Barbara Russell ... Nicholas' Mother (as Barbara E. Russell)
Antony Holland Antony Holland ... Elderly Man
Doreen Ramos Doreen Ramos ... Elderly Woman
Kevin McNulty ... James Dahlbeck
Andrew Rhodes Andrew Rhodes ... Nigro
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Storyline

A woman secretly witnesses the murder of her blind date for the evening by a top Mafia boss. She immediately goes into hiding without informing the authorities. When they finally catch up with her, she is unwilling to testify to what she has seen, but the Mafia are on her trail. Accompanied by a deputy district attorney, the woman boards a train travelling through a remote part of Canada. The Mafia know him but they have never seen her. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It will take you to the edge of suspense. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 September 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le seul témoin See more »

Filming Locations:

Alberta, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$10,873,237
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Carolco Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cabin featured in the first act was specifically built for the movie. Peter Hyams decided to build it on top of a mountain in that particular spot while it was still covered in winter snow. When the snow melted it turned out that the spot was actually a dump and it took a short while to clear it out. See more »

Goofs

The helicopter bringing Caulfield and Benti to the cabin has different rear windows in different shots. From the interior, it has ordinary flat windows with sliding ventilation panels -- the rectangular panel frames and tracks are visible. From the exterior, it has unventilated one-piece bubble windows which allow sightseers unobstructed views and photography. See more »

Quotes

Kathryn Weller: I don't want you. Just her. You understand. It's strictly business. You should have taken the money.
Caulfield: You know what I like about you? You're tall.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Decent remake, though still no match for the original
27 January 2003 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

Narrow Margin (1990) is a remake of a fondly remembered B-movie that became a real sleeper hit. It does not match the original for suspense or excitement, but it does boast a truly towering performance by Gene Hackman who takes the Charles MacGraw role and gives it everything he's got.

The story is about a DA from L.A, who travels to a mountain cabin in Canada to pick up a female murder witness. Some baddies follow him (because they want to kill the witness), but he manages to escape with her as far as the local railway station. They board an overnight train, bound for Vancouver, and spend the next day or so evading the killers on the train.

Hackman is quite brilliant, whether delivering panicky dialogue in a whisper or indulging in some violent action atop the speeding express. James B. Sikking makes a chilling assassin. Anne Archer is convincing as the vulnerable and terrified witness who would rather be anywhere other than where she is. Director Peter Hyams packs in some solid action sequences, such as a nerve-jangling car chase through a forest, and a savage fight on the roof of the train.

Where this film falls short is in the suspense department and the pacing. There are moments where Hackman and Archer are allowed to relax too much. One scene in particular involves Hackman and Sikking having a lengthy conversation at a dinner table; when Hackman leaves, you'd expect them to follow him to her, but they don't. There's another bit where the action jumps from about 1 a.m. to the next morning, without any indication of what kind of events have taken place during the night. There's also a lot of long shots of the lovely scenery, but to get the claustrophobic atmosphere the maker's needed to emphasise the inside of the train, not the outside landscapes. It's a pretty good film, but there are just a few things about it which drag it down a peg or two.


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