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Hudson Hawk (1991)

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A cat burglar is forced to steal Da Vinci works of art for a world domination plot.

Director:

Michael Lehmann

Writers:

Bruce Willis (story), Robert Kraft (story) | 2 more credits »
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Willis ... Hudson Hawk
Danny Aiello ... Tommy Five-Tone
Andie MacDowell ... Anna Baragli
James Coburn ... George Kaplan
Richard E. Grant ... Darwin Mayflower
Sandra Bernhard ... Minerva Mayflower
Donald Burton ... Alfred
Don Harvey ... Snickers
David Caruso ... Kit Kat
Andrew Bryniarski ... Butterfinger
Lorraine Toussaint ... Almond Joy
Burtt Harris Burtt Harris ... Gates
Frank Stallone ... Cesar Mario
Carmine Zozzora Carmine Zozzora ... Antony Mario (as Carmine Zozorra)
Stefano Molinari Stefano Molinari ... Leonardo da Vinci (as Stephano Molinari)
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Storyline

Eddie Hawkins, called Hudson Hawk has just been released from ten years of prison and is planning to spend the rest of his life honestly. But then the crazy Mayflower couple blackmail him to steal some of the works of Leonardo da Vinci. If he refuses, they threaten to kill his friend Tommy. Written by Harald Mayr <marvin@bike.augusta.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Catch the Excitement. Catch the Adventure. Catch the Hawk. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

24 May 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Adventures of Hudson Hawk See more »

Filming Locations:

Hungary See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$17,218,080
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

CDS (digital 35 mm prints)| Dolby SR (analog 35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In this film Danny Aiello plays the Italian 'criminal' Tommy Five-Tone . This could be seen as an in-joke at The Godfather: Part II (1974) where Danny Aiello's character, one of the Rosato brothers, attempts to murder Frankie Pentanglis, a.k.a. Frankie Five-Angels. See more »

Goofs

When Tommy is quizzing Hudson Hawk on song lengths, he asks "National Anthem, Whitney Houston, Super Bowl 17?" Whitney Houston sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl 25. Leslie Easterbrook, who played Callahan in the "Police Academy" movies, sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl 17. Also the Whitney Houston version was 116 seconds not "7 minutes 17 seconds" as Hudson claims. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: Long ago, the Duke of Milan commissioned a little known artist to erect a Mammoth statue of a horse. The time was 1481... The artist was Leonardo da Vinci... The guy on the donkey's just a guy on a donkey.
See more »

Connections

References The President's Analyst (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

SIDE BY SIDE
Written by Harry M. Woods (as Harry Woods)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
You could be better than you are

In May of 1991 the world was just not ready for Hudson Hawk, and apparently this caused a lot of confusion in the marketing department. How on Earth were they supposed to sell this strange oddity of a film? Eventually they settled on Bruce Willis brand recognition and built an ad campaign that would promote it as a sort of Die Hard-lite. When audiences eventually found out it was an absurdist, cartoon caper comedy they didn't quite know what to make of it and it was widely panned by critics and filmgoers alike. Not fair. Hudson Hawk is actually a wonderful little movie with a reputation is simply doesn't deserve.

By the time July of 1991 rolled around the movie was getting its UK premier and the ad campaign had changed to play up the comedy and adventure more than the action. I remember 10-year-old me (already a Die Hard and Willis fan) sitting alone in a screen at the old UCI cinema in Kinnaird Park thinking "this looks awesome". If a kid could tell the difference...

Being a 15-rating here in the UK (and rated R in the US) I had to wait until it hit home video. As soon as the end credits rolled I was fascinated by this new Cappuccino thing that Hawk was always harping on about. It became my go-to beverage whenever and wherever it was being served (an idiosyncrasy that has since been ruined by the horrific advent of "fashionable coffee"). As you can tell, I've been a fan of Hudson Hawk since I was a kid.

Bruce Willis is Eddie Hawkins, the world's greatest cat-burglar, who is determined to go straight after a long stretch in prison. Too bad for him that an assortment of eccentric villains are determined to force him to do their dirty work in a crazy world domination plot. Take the usual tropes of James Bond, Crosby and Hope, the Pink Panther, and retro heist movies and you'll have something close to what Hudson Hawk attempts to be. It is handsomely shot in real European locations with lots of quotable dialogue courtesy of Daniel Waters who co-wrote the script with Die Hard scribe Steven E. De Souza, based on Willis' original ideas. Yes, Bruce Willis created Hudson Hawk himself.

The movie is far from perfect though, even the biggest Hudson Hawk fans know that. It is way too complicated and will take several viewings just to fully grasp what the hell is going on. However, even in 1991 it seemed that De Souza and Waters knew that the European Union and forthcoming "single currency market" would be a terrible idea. The plot to ruin the world economy would probably be lauded in these more politically turbulent times.

Also,the literal bookends are an indulgence too far, and Andie McDowell (a last minute replacement for Isabella Rossellini and Maruschka Detmers) is just about tolerable in a role that she clearly didn't understand. The scene where she feigns mental illness by speaking in Dolphin-ish is yet another eccentricity that the film could have done without. But the main fault here is the swearing. The cast are dropping f-bombs and mofos all over the place and it just doesn't sit well the overall tone. There is absolutely no reason why Hudson Hawk should have been anything more than a PG. When I was 10-years-old I was overdosing on episodes of The Young Ones (a similarly anarchic and crazy TV show) and this movie really appealed to me. I do believe that kids and family audiences were the people that Hudson Hawk should have been sold to and the R-rating harmed the films appeal a lot.

McDowell aside, the cast are all either wonderfully over-the-top or strangely quirky. From James Coburn's enthusiastic CIA crook, to a restrained David Caruso as the mute Kit Kat. He doesn't even have any lines and he has a character arc. If you are in need of light- hearted, good-natured entertainment then Hudson Hawk never fails. It is a real shame that this never had the chance to develop into a franchise. If so we might have been spared the awfulness of Die Hard 4 and 5.


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