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Desperate Measures (1998)

Frank Conner is an honest police officer who desperately needs to save his son's life. However, after losing all hope, he finds out that a criminal Peter McCabe in jail is his only savior.


Barbet Schroeder


David Klass
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Keaton ... Peter McCabe
Andy Garcia ... Frank Conner
Brian Cox ... Captain Jeremiah Cassidy
Marcia Gay Harden ... Dr. Samantha Hawkins
Erik King ... Nate Oliver
Efrain Figueroa ... Vargas
Joseph Cross ... Matthew Conner
Janel Moloney ... Sarah Davis
Richard Riehle ... Ed Fayne
Tracey Walter ... Medical Inmate
Peter Weireter Peter Weireter ... SWAT Team Commander
Keith Diamond ... Derrick Wilson
Steve Park ... Dr. Gosha
Steven Schub ... SWAT in Airduct
Neal Matarazzo ... Cell Guard


San Francisco police officer Frank Connor is in a frantic search for a compatible bone marrow donor for his gravely ill son. There's only one catch: the potential donor is convicted multiple murderer Peter McCabe who sees a trip to the hospital as the perfect opportunity to get what he wants most: freedom. With McCabe's escape, the entire hospital becomes a battleground and Connor must pursue and, ironically, protect the deadly fugitive who is his son's only hope for survival. Written by Sony Pictures (with permission)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Time is running out See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Michael Keaton and Joseph Cross appeared in Jack Frost (1998). See more »


When Conner is helping a shot officer shot in the arm, the officer's shirt is open showing a stomach wound and his white t-shirt with a big blood stain. In the next shot, the shirt is buttoned and we see his uniform is navy blue. His open shirt is seen in next shot as he is on table being examined. See more »


Peter McCabe: You have to appreciate the irony. After all these years of being locked up, I'm given the opportunity to kill again. A cop's kid, too, and all I have to do is sit right here.
See more »


References Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) See more »


Written by John Fogerty (as John C. Fogerty)
Performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival
See more »

User Reviews

Desperate Film-making!
28 August 2005 | by lavatchSee all my reviews

Here is an example of a film that is soooooooo bad that it actually makes for fun and indeed hilarious viewing! In sitting through this film, I honestly felt that I was watching "Airplane"!

Take for example one of the crucial "dramatic" moments in which the zealous police detective (Andy Garcia) and the pediatrician (Marcia Gay Harden) are crossing over the skyway from one building to another. At that moment, Andy's character needs to get the doctor to his sick son who desperately needs a bone marrow transfusion that is to be provided by a killer on the loose (Michael Keaton). At the precise moment when the detective and the doctor are walking on the skyway, it is revealed that the doctor has a fear of heights! She then collapses into the fetal position as the detective helps her across the skyway. The film is filled with moments just like this one in which an intended serious scene turns to comedy.

Take also the casting of Michael Keaton (primarily a comic actor) in the role of the psychopathic killer. Keaton has a mischievous charm, but not a killer instinct. I never once believed that he was capable of perpetrating any violence.

The setting for the film was in San Francisco. Early in the story, we see the Keaton character being transported by armored vehicle from the high security penitentiary (San Quentin?) to a hospital in downtown San Francicsco. But after he makes his break from the hospital, it turns out that the prison is located immediately next door. This made no sense whatsoever in the logic of the film's narrative.

The police officers in this film were especially wooden and even passive as Keaton's character seemingly took the entire San Francisco police force captive. Even such reliable character actors as Richard Riehle and Brian Cox looked ridiculous in their roles. In the end, the incompetence of the police officers was exceeded only by that of the filmmakers in this preposterous excuse for a film!

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Release Date:

30 January 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Desperate Measures See more »

Filming Locations:

Québec, Canada See more »


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,833,412, 1 February 1998

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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