153 user 104 critic

Get Shorty (1995)

A mobster travels to Hollywood to collect a debt, and discovers that the movie business is much the same as his current job.


Barry Sonnenfeld


Elmore Leonard (novel), Scott Frank (screenplay)
2,504 ( 312)

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Travolta ... Chili Palmer
Gene Hackman ... Harry Zimm
Rene Russo ... Karen Flores
Danny DeVito ... Martin Weir
Dennis Farina ... Ray 'Bones' Barboni
Delroy Lindo ... Bo Catlett
James Gandolfini ... Bear
Jon Gries ... Ronnie Wingate
Renee Props ... Nicki
David Paymer ... Leo Devoe
Martin Ferrero ... Tommy Carlo
Miguel Sandoval ... Mr. Escobar
Jacob Vargas ... Yayo Portillo
Linda Hart ... Fay Devoe
Bobby Slayton ... Dick Allen


Some guys get all the luck, whether they like it or not. Chili Palmer happens to be in Hollywood collecting a gambling debt when he's struck by lightning (not literally). Called a natural for the movie business, he's snagged up by a producer. The rest is history. Written by Joshua Davis <xtnb64a@prodigy.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Mob Is Tough. But It's Nothing Like Show Business. See more »


Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

MGM Studios [United States]





Release Date:

20 October 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El nombre del juego See more »


Box Office


$30,250,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to Executive Producer and Director Barry Sonnenfeld, the other producers were considering John Travolta for the lead role, even before his Pulp Fiction (1994) comeback. See more »


After she finds Chili in her house for the second time, Karen's boots disappear when she walks upstairs. See more »


[first lines]
Tommy Carlo: It's fucking cold outside.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In memory of Danny Gill See more »

Alternate Versions

To accommodate the rule that aeroplane crashes cannot be shown on flights, the in-flight movie version changes the dialogue so that Leo escapes from a train wreck, instead of a plane crash. However, it can still be seen that the crash investigation was clearly happening in an airport hangar. See more »


Referenced in V.I.P.: Get Vallery (2001) See more »


Chubb Sub
Written by Medeski Martin & Wood
Performed by Medeski Martin & Wood
Courtesy of Gramavision, a Rykodisc label
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

No great depth or real big laughs to it but it is slickly entertaining and cool
19 April 2005 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When his boss has a heart attack, mob hard man Chili Palmer finds himself working indirectly for Ray Barboni. Barboni's instance on picking through his books and finds the case of a dry-cleaner who owes money but is dead. With pressure to cover the debt himself, Chili sets out to find the man who he knows isn't really dead – his search takes him to LA where he follows up another debt in the form of Harry Zimm. Zimm is a producer of trashy movies and Chili sees him as his way into the movie business and out of loan sharking – businesses that he realises are actually not that different.

With the release (and drubbing) of the sequel, I decided to take the chance to watch the original film again and review it because I hadn't seen it since it first came out a decade ago. The story is potentially quite messy as it has quite a few threads with different characters coming and going quite quickly and it is to its credit that it manages to hold it all together and bring it off satisfyingly well. It doesn't have a great deal of depth of course but it only aims to be slick and it manages to do this pretty well considering. The script has plenty of injokes to match the slick dialogue and narrative and the story does move along in a manner that is enjoyable on several levels. I think claims that it is "hilarious" is maybe taking it a bit too far because it isn't really laugh out loud funny more than once or twice but it is entertaining in a stylish and slick way that makes it quite fun to watch.

The cast really help and the majority of them give enjoyable performances even if the aforementioned depth isn't there for them to do a great deal with. Travolta enjoys a funnier version of the role that gave him his mid-nineties comeback with Pulp Fiction and he handles himself well – as slick as he is sleek and with a really cool presence that is important since the character is nothing more than cool presence. De Vito does really well sending up movie stars (specifically, if we are to believe all we read, Dustin Hoffman) but Russo seems to be an addition with nothing specific to do despite her still being enjoyable. Farina can do mobsters in his sleep so at least here he gets to enjoy himself at the same time; Lindo is a good match for Travolta and is a good bit of casting with good support from Gandolfini. In joke cameos are "take it or leave it" so they are not critical to the film but Keitel, Baldwin and Marshall stand out as being in there.

Overall this is not a film that is hilarious or one that has great character development. Rather what it is is a slick story told with style and swagger – much like Chili himself. The plot threads are helped by not ever having a lot of detail behind them to be picked up but they are still potentially messy and the film does well to bring them all together in a pleasing and knowing fashion. The starry cast is good value and all in all the film is entertaining; which was all I really wanted from it in the first place.

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