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Downtown (1990)

Police Officer Alex Kearney works in a rich, plush suburb of Philadelphia. When he stops an important businessman and his story of the incident is not believed, he is sent to work Downtown,... See full summary »


Richard Benjamin


Nat Mauldin

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Edwards ... Alex Kearney
Forest Whitaker ... Dennis Curren
Penelope Ann Miller ... Lori Mitchell
Joe Pantoliano ... White
David Clennon ... Jerome Sweet
Art Evans ... Henry Coleman
Rick Aiello ... Mickey Witlin
Roger Aaron Brown ... Lt. Sam Parral
Ron Canada ... Lowell Harris
Wanda De Jesus ... Luisa Diaz
Francis X. McCarthy ... Inspector Ben Glass (as Frank McCarthy)
Kimberly Scott ... Christine Curren
Ryan McWhorter Ryan McWhorter ... Ephraim Cain
Danuel Pipoly ... Skip Markowitz
Maurice Hill Maurice Hill ... Man with Dog


Police Officer Alex Kearney works in a rich, plush suburb of Philadelphia. When he stops an important businessman and his story of the incident is not believed, he is sent to work Downtown, the most dangerous, crime-filled precinct in the city. Everyone there is sure that this 'by the book', pampered, suburban cop is going to get himself, and whoever is assigned as his partner, killed. Detective Dennis Curren, draws the unfortunate 'babysitting' assignment. But when Alex's best friend is killed investigating a stolen car, Alex throws the book out the window tracking down the killer. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When you pound this beat, it pounds you back.


Action | Comedy | Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

12 January 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deux flics à Downtown See more »

Filming Locations:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Forest Whitaker and Anthony Edwards had minor roles in " Fast Times at Ridgemont High". See more »


When White pulls abreast of Alex and Dennis to shoot, he rolls down the window and you hear the sound of a pump shotgun being cycled. White is holding an over/under shotgun which does not make any such sound. See more »


Henry Coleman: A fuck-up. Another goddamn, four-star, class-A fuck-up! Every backward candy-ass shit-for-brains fuck-up in the city, I get 'em. Not Wynnefield, not South Philly, not Germantown, me!
See more »


Referenced in Crazy People (1990) See more »


Written and Performed by Kool Moe Dee
Courtesy of Jive Records
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User Reviews

Hack Writer Alert
17 August 2008 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

"Downtown" is a box office crash & burn from 1990. Basically it is yet another unsuccessful attempt to follow-up on the success of "Beverly Hills Cop" (without the benefit of Eddie Murphy). These inter-racial, buddy picture, cop movie, comedy-action features simply don't work without a talented comic and Anthony Edwards of "Revenge of the Nerds" fame is only mildly funny. Add to this a more serious group of themes than Murphy had to deal with and the incongruity of mixing these conflicting genres makes the whole a lot less than the sum of its parts.

Yet "Downtown" is more entertaining than its "bomb at the box office" reputation would lead you to believe. The production design, filming, and editing are first class. Although the action scenes are unconvincing, this is due more to lamely inserted comedy elements than cheap staging.

Much is genuinely embarrassing such as when a PCP abuser holds a little girl hostage, with a gun to her head, and the subtext lamely plays the scene for laughs. What genius thought that scene would work? And they wonder why these things lose money? In this exercise in schizoid film-making, Anthony Edwards and Forest Whitaker are the standard odd couple partnering up to solve the murder of Edwards' former partner. Nerd boy Alex (Edwards) in his worst scenes listens to Beach Boys music and in his best scenes is paired with his girlfriend (Penelope Ann Miller).

Alex is a suburban patrolman who has been banished to the worst downtown Philly division because of a confrontation with a slimy bigwig (unconvincingly overplayed by David Clennon). Dennis (Whitaker) is a detective with a lot of baggage that makes it difficult for him to warm up to Alex.

But Alex and Dennis eventually bond (big surprise) and Whitaker turns in a pretty good performance (much too good for this material). Whitaker and Miller assist the marginally talented but generally likable Edwards enough that it is possible for the average viewer to suspend disbelief most of the time and actually get into the story. Just be prepared for a lot of extremely lame moments that would have been more entertaining had the editor relegated them to his deleted scenes bin.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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