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48 Hours (1982, Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy)



After Southern Comfort and The Warriors, Walter Hill turned his hand to that most tired of genres, the buddy cop adventure, and enlivened it for a new generation yet to face Lethal Weapon.

After busting out of prison, Albert Ganz (James Remar) kidnaps a former associate’s girlfriend, demanding a ransom of some cash from a previous robbery. The use of a stolen credit card betrays his location, and the police – including bullish Detective Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) – move in.

Ganz kills Cates’ colleagues and escapes. The veteran cop needs help, and arranges for embittered former Ganz associate Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) to get a 48-hour release. They get fast results, tracing gang member Luther (David Patrick Kelly), who leads them to the elusive Billy Bear (Sonny Landham). Cates’ abrasive style annoys Hammond, but he is eventually forced to admit he’s been holding the robbery cash after all. Setting Ganz up to collect it, the pair watch and wait for their target, and a date with justice‚Ķ

Hill’s formula is simple and effective: attack the senses with enough stunts, shoot-outs and swearing to disguise the relative paucity of plot, which eventually becomes a virtue in the hands of a film-maker at his peak. A strong cast helps, with Nolte giving the first of many grizzled veteran roles that continue to mark out his career. Murphy – who won the role after the late Gregory Hines dropped out to shoot Cotton Club – is the perfect foil, honing the patter and attitude which makes Hammond a prototype Axel Foley. Remarkably, the racial angle isn’t laboured, with Hill’s take reminiscent on a comment about Dirty Harry: ‘he’s an equal opportunities bigot.’ Dialogue is sharp considering the four very different writers, and the sequel, Another 48 Hrs, was as inferior as it was inevitable.

production details
USA | 96 minutes | 1982

Director: Walter Hill
Script: Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill, Larry Gross, Steven E. de Souza, Jeb Stuart,

Nick Nolte as Jack Cates
Eddie Murphy as Reggie Hammond
Annette O’Toole as Elaine
Frank McRae as Haden
James Remar as Albert Ganz
David Patrick Kelly as Luther
Sonny Landham as Billy Bear
Brion James as Ben Kehoe
Kerry Sherman as Rosalie, Hostage Girl
Jonathan Banks as Algren
James Keane as Vanzant
Tara King as Frizzy, Hotel Desk Clerk
Greta Blackburn as Lisa, Blonde Hooker
Margot Rose as Casey
Denise Crosby as Sally
Olivia Brown as Candy
Todd Allen as Young Cop
Bill Dearth as Thin Cop
Ned Dowd as Big Cop
Jim Haynie as Old Cop
Jack Thibeau as Detective
Jon St. Elwood as Plainclothes Man
Clare Nono as Ruth
Sandy Martin as Policewoman
Matt Landers as Bob
Peter Jason as Cowboy Bartender
Bill Cross as First Cop
Chris Mulkey as Second Cop
Marcelino Sanchez as Parking Lot Attendant
Bennie E. Dobbins as Road Gang Guard
Walter Scott as Road Gang Guard
W. T. Zacha as Road Gang Guard
Loyd Catlett as Prison Guard
B. G. Fisher as Prison Guard
Reid Cruickshanks as Prison Guard
R. D. Call as Duty Sergeant
Brenda Venus as Hooker
Gloria Gifford as Hooker
Nick Dimitri as Torchy’s Patron
John Dennis Johnston as Torchy’s Patron
Rock A. Walker as Torchy’s Patron
Dave Moordigian as Gas Station Attendant
J. Wesley Huston as Security Guard
Gary Pettinger as Cop with Gun
Marquerita Wallace as Bar Girl
Angela Robinson as Bar Girl
Jack Lightsy as Bartender
John Hauk as Henry Wong
Bob Yanez as Interrogator
Clint Smith as Leroy
Luis Contreras as Gang Member
Suzanne M. Regard as Cowgirl Dancer
Ola Ray as Vroman’s Dancer
Bjaye Turner as Vroman’s Dancer
Begonya Plaza as Indian Hooker