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8 Million Ways to Die (1986)

Scudder is a detective with the Sheriff's Department who is forced to shoot a violent suspect during a narcotics raid. The ensuing psychological aftermath of this shooting worsens his ... See full summary »


Hal Ashby


Lawrence Block (book), Oliver Stone (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... Scudder
Rosanna Arquette ... Sarah
Alexandra Paul ... Sunny
Randy Brooks ... Chance
Andy Garcia ... Angel Maldonado
Lisa Sloan Lisa Sloan ... Linda Scudder
Christa Denton ... Laurie Scudder
Vance Valencia ... Quintero
Wilfredo Hernández Wilfredo Hernández ... Hector Lopez (as Wilfredo Hernandez)
Luisa Leschin Luisa Leschin ... Hector's Wife
Vyto Ruginis ... Durkin
Henry O. Arnold Henry O. Arnold ... Homicide Detective (as Chip Arnold)
James Avery ... Deputy D.A.
Jack Younger Jack Younger ... Drunk
Zoaunne LeRoy Zoaunne LeRoy ... Nurse


Scudder is a detective with the Sheriff's Department who is forced to shoot a violent suspect during a narcotics raid. The ensuing psychological aftermath of this shooting worsens his drinking problem and this alcoholism causes him to lose his job, as well as his marriage. During his recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous, he meets a mysterious stranger who draws him back into a world of vice. In trying to help this beautiful woman, he must enter a crime-world of prostitution and drugs to solve a murder, while resisting the temptation to return to his alcohol abuse. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Death comes to all except those who deserve it most See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

25 April 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

8 Millionen Wege zu sterben See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$609,955, 27 April 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby Digital (uncredited)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


As Oliver Stone was busy in Mexico shooting Salvador (1986) and thus unable to rework his screenplay before production began, Hal Ashby started to write his own script for 8 Million Ways to Die (1986). Ashby worked from both Stone's script and the original novel by Lawrence Block as well as his own research. The fifty pages that Ashby wrote had neither the fiercely evocative color of Stone's screenplay nor particularly exciting dialogue, yet they were the starting point for a much more complex and psychologically interesting film and were consciously designed as a blueprint that the actors and possibly other writers could move forward with later. Ashby gave the fifty pages he wrote to producer Stephen J. Roth (who said he liked them) but abruptly stopped work on his screenplay when he discovered that, without his knowledge, PSO had hired R. Lance Hill to rewrite Stone's script. Ashby, who had confidence in his own screenplay, felt hurt and told Roth, "I don't think I have ever had that one happen to me before." He was further upset on learning that Hill was to report to Mark Damon, cutting Ashby out of the rewriting process completely. See more »


When Scudder shoots Hector in the chest, a small amount of blood leaks out of the wound, and there is no blood on the blue door behind Hector. This suggests the bullet stayed inside Hector's body. Hector continues standing for several seconds, with a small amount of blood trickling. The next second, Hector drops and the front of his shirt is drenched in blood, as well as the door behind him. This suggests an explosive through-and-through shot. See more »


Angel Moldonado: You think I'm a fool? That's rude, man. You're being disrespectful and rude.
Matthew 'Matt' Scudder: Rude? Come on, you were rude all over the fucking street with Sunny, weren't you? Rude?
Angel Moldonado: Let me explain something to you, what happend to Sunny, man. What happened to her, is people think that if you have to kill somebody in the course of... doing business, sometimes it pays to advertise. You know, make it messy. Remind people they bleed when they die. It might even prevent more killings.
Matthew 'Matt' Scudder: You're a real humanitarian.
Angel Moldonado: I ...
See more »


Featured in A Life in Film (2007) See more »


Last Mistake
Performed by New Toys
Written by Barry Coffing
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User Reviews

A Complete Mess but an Entertaining One
12 June 2010 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

8 Million Ways to Die (1986)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Ashby's final theatrical film (which he was also fired from) is part thriller, part crime/drama, part love story but all the way mess. In the film Jeff Bridges plays Matt Scudder, a former cop who was let go from the force due to his drinking problem. He's asked by a prostitute for help but she soon ends up dead so Matt tries to find out who killed her. Everything points to a drug dealer (Andy Garcia) but Matt is able to get the hooker (Rosanna Arquette) that he's in love with in hopes to bringing down the entire racket. In many ways this thing plays out as a modern day noir but if you pick up any film book it's doubtful you're going to find a positive review. In fact, the three books I own each rate this as a BOMB, which I think is a bit unfair. Sure, this movie is a complete mess that at times appears to be three movies rolled into one but this thing is certainly never boring. I'm not sure when Ashby was actually fired but that might have something to do with the overall strange nature of this film. It starts off pretty much as a cop drama but then we get bits and pieces of a love story. We've also got the theme of alcoholism that is constantly being brought up as Bridges is fighting his demons. We then get all sorts of subplots including the drug dealer being in love with the hooker who just happens to have her own demons from her father leaving her as a child. There are all sorts of issues with the screenplay, which is a little surprising since Oliver Stone was one of the writers. I'm not sure how much of his original screenplay actually got filmed but in many ways this thing is a cocaine-warped nuthouse much like SCARFACE. It's funny that both films deal with cocaine and that both have one strange sequence after another. As bad as the screenplay is here you still can't take you eyes off the screen for several reasons. I thought the performances were rather good even if they're constantly being letdown by the material. Bridges was born to play a role like this and manages to turn in a very good performance as the former cop down on his luck and getting in over his head. Garcia is a lot of fun as well and he gets to shout and go off a few times like Pacino did in SCARFACE. We've got Arquette doing a fine job as the hooker with the heart of gold and Randy Brooks is fine as Bridges' friend. The actual mystery of who killed the original hooker is what the film goes on yet it's never really played out in the end as we switch gears to the second hooker. We even get an opening sequence where Bridges gets in trouble for shooting an unarmed man yet the man was beating an officer with a bat but no one ever mentions this as Bridges is getting nailed for it. All of the madness leads up to an even crazier ending with all our main people inside a warehouse full of cocaine, which Bridges keeps setting on fire, one kilo at a time. What falls just continues the crazy ways. I'm not sure if footage was cut out or if some sort of longer version could be put together but while watching the movie it's clear certainly things are either missing or perhaps everything was just thrown together poorly. Either way, this is a mess from start to finish but it's never boring.

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