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The Way of the Gun (2000)

2:09 | Trailer
Two criminal drifters without sympathy get more than they bargained for after kidnapping and holding for ransom the surrogate mother of a powerful and shady man.





Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryan Phillippe ... Mr. Parker
Benicio Del Toro ... Harold Longbaugh
Juliette Lewis ... Robin
Taye Diggs ... Jeffers
Nicky Katt ... Obecks
Geoffrey Lewis ... Abner Mercer
Dylan Kussman ... Dr. Allen Painter
Scott Wilson ... Hale Chidduck
Kristin Lehman ... Francesca Chidduck
James Caan ... Joe Sarno
Henry Griffin Henry Griffin ... P. Whipped
Armando Guerrero ... Federale #1 (as Mando Guerrero)
Andres Orozco ... Federale #2
Jan Hanks Jan Hanks ... Receptionist (as Jan Jensen)
José Pérez José Pérez ... ? (as Jose Perez)
Learn more

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Two petty if violent criminals kidnap a girl being paid $1m to be a surrogate mother. As the baby is for a gangster the pair's demand for money sees several henchmen and assorted other ruthless characters head after them to Mexico. Bullets rather than talking are always going to settle this one. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence/gore, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The rifle used by Benicio Del Toro at the motel and in the brothel was an Israeli made Galil in 7.62mm. The handguns used by Parker and Longbaugh were Colt MK IV Series 70 Government Models in 9mm for ease of use with blanks. The handguns used by the bodyguards were H&K USP 9's. The Revolvers were Taurus Model 85 .38 Specials. The shotgun was a Remington 870 12 gauge. See more »


The amount of sweat on Dr. Painters shirt during the operation in the motel. See more »


Parker: We're not talking about how long you're gonna live, we're talking about how slow you're gonna die.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Towards the end of the credits: For Arly Thomsen you speak the truth Arly was the Key Grip for this and many other films. See more »


References Viva Zapata! (1952) See more »


Navideña (Holiday Girl)
Written by Carlos Ortega
Performed by Casalando
See more »

User Reviews

Two petty crooks unwittingly hold to ransom the pregnant surrogate mother of a powerful crime kingpin
1 November 2011 | by DanLives1980See all my reviews

It is very rare that a contemporary film can be called an all-time classic when it rises above its immediate competitors or succeeds the older generation of classics from which its inspiration was drawn. 'The Way of the Gun,' writer and director Christopher (The Usual Suspects) McQuarrie's crime-heist thriller unfortunately may never be accepted as a true classic for a number of reasons.

It was such a superior film that it didn't have any worthy competitors, it was way too intellectual for mainstream audiences and the classics it was reminiscent of were the low-key off-mainstream B-movies no one without an outstanding knowledge of film would know of. Simply, this film is here to be appreciated by whoever will take a chance on it and those lucky few will strike gold.

Two mismatched petty crooks - Mr Parker and Mr Longbaugh - live life on the road doing what they have to do to survive on the bare necessities but as Mr Parker states at the beginning of the film' "need is the ultimate monkey." Tired of finding ways to make easy money to provide for their needs, they happen upon a pregnant woman in a small town who seems to be the surrogate mother for a very wealthy man and his wife and decide it's about time they pulled off one most daring plan which would set them up for a long time.

Staging a kidnapping and coming face to face with the surrogate mother's bodyguards, the plot explodes forth like a river through a bursting dam and suddenly the two petty crooks find themselves in over their heads as the expectant father turns out to be one of America's most powerful and dangerous crime kingpins.

Enter Joe Sarno (Caan), a veteran "Bag Man" who has served the kingpin all his life, helping to protect his business and his finances. An old survivor who is as wise as he is guilty and who is intent on doing everything within his power to get the mother and her baby back with no collateral damage, with not a dollar less.

As Sarno sets his sights on the two crooks and assesses the increasingly taut situation, the realisation that it could either be the making or complete destruction of everyone involved dawns over each single player involved and so begins a race against time as numerous secret agendas begin to rear their ugly heads.

McQuarrie's film has everything audiences between the ages of 18 to 60 would appreciate; I say that because 'Way of the Gun' is not only reminiscent of violent '70's modern-day western crime thrillers, it features the kind of characters associated with those old classics and even features two of the era's most familiar faces, James Caan and Jeffrey Lewis to jog the memory.

It is abusively funny and its general sense of humour is sly, if not just grim. The film's subtext skims across issues such as age and discontent, suicidal tendencies and what people will do for personal gain or merely to survive and the many reasons why. Its dramatic scenes are slowly unveiled, perfectly performed and so well timed.

The cast is a powerful and heavy-set ensemble with Benicio Del Toro slinging his heavy acting weight around at will as a quiet but cunning criminal. The scenes between Longbaugh and Sarno are ingeniously fraught with charismatic cool and tangible tension and intimidation.

And Ryan Phillipe admirably man-handling an assumed case of severe miscasting as his sensitive and misunderstood partner in crime; all his teenage dramas and tacky horror film roles are gladly thrown aside as he becomes a boy grown up too fast and clearly damaged by the things Parker has seen and done in his short and miserable life.

Some very tense action scenes are executed finely and purvey a realistic sense of danger. To see the film go from edgy urban gunfights and car chases to all-out western-style stand-offs in the desert completes the picture and simplifies the general motive, allowing the plot to thicken of its own accord but rather than be all about gunfights and motives, the film delves deep into the desperate lives of its characters as time quickly runs out.

By the end of the film, you've been through a roller coaster of human emotion, danger, abuse, intimidation and desperation and every single character has gone his or her own way, manipulating the issue for the sake of their own secret agendas. After all, the prize - fifteen million dollars - is not just fifteen million dollars. "It's a motive with a universal adaptor!" Because of 'Way of the Gun's almost impenetrable plot, its originality, wisdom and fast paced, hard hitting action, you will appreciate this film more and more every time you watch it. It belongs in every self-respecting film lover's favourites collection!

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

8 September 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Way of the Gun See more »


Box Office


$8,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,150,979, 10 September 2000

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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