6.6/10
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46 user 28 critic

Narrow Margin (1990)

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

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(screenplay), (earlier screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Hunnicut
...
Nelson (as James B. Sikking)
...
Michael Tarlow
...
Sgt. Dominick Benti (as M. Emmett Walsh)
...
Kathryn Weller
...
Jack Wootton
...
Martin Larner
B.A. 'Smitty' Smith ...
Keller
Codie Lucas Wilbee ...
Barbara Russell ...
Nicholas' Mother (as Barbara E. Russell)
Antony Holland ...
Elderly Man
Doreen Ramos ...
Elderly Woman
...
James Dahlbeck
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:

One witness. Two determined killers. The ultimate thrill ride. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le seul témoin  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$10,873,237 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two of the movie's main cast - J.T. Walsh and M. Emmet Walsh - were both last named "Walsh". Both have been associated with the film noir and suspense-thriller genres but Narrow Margin (1990) is the only ever picture in which they both have appeared. See more »

Goofs

The characters' shadows in the final showdown on the car roof are of different lengths in different shots. Most notably, in one shot the villain casts his shadow all the way onto the rocks that pass the train, while in the very next shot his shadow is short and stays entirely on the car roof. See more »

Quotes

[in helicopter above mountains]
Caulfield: Why does he have to fly so low?
Sergeant Dominick Benti: We're not low. The ground's high.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Mindstorm (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not quite the "Edge" of suspense, but you can see it from here…
10 June 2008 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

What a completely redundant and pointless idea to do a remake of Richard Fleischer's superb and still perfectly undated film-noir masterpiece "The Narrow Margin"… But hey, bad ideas got turned into highly entertaining movies before and particularly the cast & crew involved in this early 90's production should make you more confident. Peter Hyams is a gifted director (and an even better cinematographer), Gene Hackman is his good old reliable self and, since the script pretty much follows the same trail – or should I say 'rail' – as the '52 original, you already know that'll be good as well. Carol Hunnicut witnesses the cold-blooded murder of a mafia attorney at the end of their blind date and promptly becomes the only key witness ever to testify against well-protected crime lord Leo Watts. When the dedicated prosecutor Robert Caulfield travels out her secluded hideout place in order to convince the reluctant woman to do the right thing, this triggers a virulent deadly cat and mouse game with a duo of professional killers. The chase largely takes place on the night train to Vancouver (the ideal inescapable location) and the good guys' only advantage is that their opponents don't know what Carol looks like. One of the taglines proudly claims that "Narrow Margin" will take you to the edge of suspense. That is perhaps a slightly too optimistic promise, but it's definitely one of the better suspense-thrillers of its time. A lot of little elements and twists in the plot seem rushed and don't make a whole lot of sense, but who cares when there's stuff to enjoy like a spectacular helicopter Vs. Jeep chase through the Canadian forests or an exhilarating battle of train's rooftop? Bruce Broughton's divinely unsettling score most definitely increases the tension level even more. Gene Hackman clearly enjoyed starring in this light-headed action thriller and particularly his speech to the killers – about why he prefers working on the right side of the law – is truly priceless. There are some great names in the supportive cast as well (J.T. Walsh, M. Emmet Walsh…) but sadly their roles are too brief. Overall recommended as long as you don't anticipate a flawless masterpiece but, if it ever comes down to choosing just one, go for the superior 50's original.


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