6.7/10
22,417
66 user 42 critic

Colors (1988)

An experienced cop and his rookie partner patrol the streets of East Los Angeles while trying to keep the gang violence under control.

Director:

Dennis Hopper

Writers:

Michael Schiffer (screenplay), Michael Schiffer (story) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON DISC
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Bad Boys (1983)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Chicago crime kid Mick O'Brien is sent to reform school after accidentally killing a rival's kid brother.

Director: Rick Rosenthal
Stars: Sean Penn, Reni Santoni, Jim Moody
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1978 Pennsylvania, an absentee father is reacquainted with his estranged teenage sons who become intrigued with his romanticized life of crime.

Director: James Foley
Stars: Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Mary Stuart Masterson
American Me (1992)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Mexican-American Mafia kingpin is released from prison, falls in love for the first time, and grows introspective about his gangster lifestyle.

Director: Edward James Olmos
Stars: Edward James Olmos, William Forsythe, Sal Lopez
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The true story of a disillusioned military contractor employee and his drug pusher childhood friend who became walk-in spies for the Soviet Union.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, Pat Hingle
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A New York cop is recruited to return to his hometown and infiltrate the mob ran by his best friend's brother.

Directors: Phil Joanou, Michael Lee Baron
Stars: Sean Penn, Ed Harris, Gary Oldman
New Jack City (1991)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.

Director: Mario Van Peebles
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Penn ... Danny McGavin
Robert Duvall ... Bob Hodges
Maria Conchita Alonso ... Louisa Gomez
Randy Brooks ... Ron Delaney
Grand L. Bush ... Larry Sylvester (as Grand Bush)
Don Cheadle ... Rocket
Gerardo Mejía ... Bird
Glenn Plummer ... High Top
Rudy Ramos ... Melindez
Sy Richardson ... Bailey
Trinidad Silva ... Frog
Charles Walker ... Reed
Damon Wayans ... T-Bone
Fred Asparagus Fred Asparagus ... Cook
Sherman Augustus ... Officer Porter
Edit

Storyline

A confident young cop is shown the ropes by a veteran partner in the dangerous gang-controlled barrios of L.A. about to explode in violence in this look at the gang culture enforced by the colors that members wear. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the heart of our cities people die for wearing the wrong colors See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

29 April 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vigilantes de la calle See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,747,118, 17 April 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$46,616,067
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Orion Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (unrated)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR (Dolby Stereo Spectral Recording)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The crowbar, the officer holds to open the door of Rocket's (Don Cheadle's) girlfriend, has written on it: "May I Come In?" See more »

Goofs

When Hodges calls in to radio dispatch that they are chasing a black Ford LTD, it is actually a Mercury Marquis that they are chasing. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Diaz: Hey Hodges, what do you think about all those hot shot jitter bugs, huh?
Bob Hodges: What about 'em?
Diaz: You never went for this shit, did you?
Bob Hodges: No way.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original theatrical version wasn't shortened but scenes were added when Virgin released the VHS in the UK, marketed as a bonus rather than as a Director's Cut. In the 'international VHS version' two scenes were extended. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Resident Alien (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

LOW RIDER
Performed by War
Written by Lonnie Jordan (as Jordan) / Thomas Allen (as Allen) / Harold R. Brown (as Brown) / Morris D. Dickerson (as Dickerson) / Charles Miller (as Miller) / Lee Oskar (as Oskar) / Howard E. Scott (as Scott) / Jerry Goldstein (as Goldstein)
Published by Far Out Music
Courtesy of LAX Records Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
An Important Piece of American History
19 February 2017 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

An experienced cop (Robert Duvall) and his rookie partner (Sean Penn) patrol the streets of East Los Angeles while trying to keep the gang violence under control.

Looking back now (2017), this film seems so normal, something that could be included in a long list of L.A. gang movies, with the Crips and Bloods fighting it out for turf. We all know about "gangsta rap" and Compton and South Central and all of that. But then you look at the date this film was released -- 1988 -- and you see that all these things we take for granted had never been explored in any detail before. (Merriam-Webster, for example, does not even think the term "gangsta rap" was invented until 1989, even if Schoolly D and Ice-T were already around.)

Although it is probably not true that "Colors" is the first film about gang violence in Los Angeles, it was probably the most influential at the time it came out. Allegedly, some reviews found it even hard to believe that gangs existed in L.A. -- that is just how novel the premise was. Director Dennis Hopper does an excellent job in laying out what these neighborhoods are like and really tackles the crack epidemic head on.

The original script by Richard DiLello (best known as a Beatles historian) actually took place in Chicago (the traditional gang stronghold) and was more about drug dealing than individual gang members. Hopper ordered changes, so Michael Schiffer was hired and the setting was changed to Los Angeles with the focus of the story becoming more about the day-to-day world of gang members. This switch may be the single best decision Hopper made while developing and shooting the film.

What makes the film valuable today, besides its historic aspect, is seeing just how great the casting was, too. Don Cheadle before he was widely known. Tony Todd before "Candyman". Damon Wayans before his entire family became big stars. Even a young Mario Lopez shows up. The idea of having a white kid (Courtney Gains) in a Latino gang seems strange, but as Gains himself says, that was written into the script and he just happened to be lucky enough to get the part.

Thanks to Shout! Factory and their Shout Select label, we now have the full, uncut film on Blu-ray, looking great and sounding fantastic. The Herbie Hancock score is dynamite, to say the least. Special features are a little bit slim, unfortunately -- no commentary and not a single actor interview -- but we do have a look back at both the writing process and the gang situation in 1980s Los Angeles.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 66 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed