Running Scared (1986) Maybe Scared To Ruin Your Teenage Memories?

Running Scared (1986) Gregory Hines billy crystal peter hyams un marked police car

There are some films in your teenage years that resonate a true fondness in your memory. You remember when you first watched it, that feeling of getting to know the characters as their friendship for each other develops. Invested in their close bond together on the screen, you care for these characters as they look out for one another. This comes across in laughter, bravery in the face of danger, keeping an eye on their partners back, a bond so close they could be brothers, a real bromance. The buddy cop movie is always a sure fire winner in that movie genre cannon. Running Scared ticked all those boxes for me as a youth.

Running Scared (1986) Gregory Hines billy crystal guns at the ready

Now don’t get me wrong hehe I know Running Scared was no classic and if I’m being very honest, I’ve been putting off a revisit for many years. Running scared, so to speak, not wanting to ruin my first and only viewing experience when I rented on VHS from our local Ritz Video chain (later to get bought out by Blockbuster Video). Kind of inspired by fellow film blogger Mike’s Take On The Movies recent post on another 80’s buddy cop movie, Stakeout I thought it only fitting to throw caution to the wind and basically man up! It was either gonna have tears of joy or my teenage memories crushed to a pulp! I sucked it up and pushed the play button with my uncontrollable shaking finger!

Tagline – Two of Chicago’s Finest?

Jeez the opening intro scene didn’t do much for my morale, good lawdy that stinking stilton lump of 80’s cheesy sax. Can you believe this is Rod Temperton, the legendary British songwriter who wrote Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Rock With You, George Benson’s Give Me The Night and countless other instant hit pop tunes! Well yep it is and in sure fire eighties soundtrack style the music is ripe but hey it’s fun and ties the film firmly to the era of 1986.

Running Scared (1986) Gregory Hines billy crystal Snake (Joe Pantoliano) cop car

The music fades and here we get to see our two cheeky Chicago cop buddies Ray Hughes (Gregory Hines) and Danny Costanzo (Billy Crystal) as they bust balls as undercover detectives. They are staking out the premises of local bad boy drug dealer crook, Snake (Joe Pantoliano). A hood with a suitcase filled with $50K of cash money. This dude has connections to the real thug they want, up and coming drug dealer Julio Gonzales (Jimmy Smits). Julio Gonzales wants to be the new top drug lord of Chicago and these two annoying cops are ruining his perfect plans.

Running Scared (1986) drug lord dealer jimmy smits bad guy

But we all know everything isn’t going to be that sweet and easy for Ray and Danny. In walks barking Captain Logan (Dan Hedaya) with total disdain and despair at the two wise cracking cop failures and decides these two need a vacation as punishment. He knows they live for the drama, the adrenaline rush of the police work, the slow paced holiday is gonna drive them mad. It will teach them a lesson. It’s does, well, until they buy a bar! Drinking on the job, serving sexy ladies and still policing as such, as bouncers throwing out the riff raff. They realise they are tired of being shot at and it’s only a matter of time before one of them, if not both of them are gonna get killed.

Running Scared (1986) Gregory Hines billy crystal steven Bauer Jon Gries rookie cops

With 30 days notice on their work contract, they just have to stay alive. Plus it would be good to bring down Julio Gonzales as a notch on their retirement. With two assigned rookies to help, hopefully everything is going to be nice and easy? They got 30 days to stay alive!!

A few random observations

  • The Florida Key West vacation montage is hilarious, with all the buddy bonding, roller skating, novelty t-shirts, cheating at fishing and a multitude of bikini clad babes all dancing to the sweet sound of the velvet blue eyed soul brother number one, Michael McDonald’s Sweet Freedom.

Running Scared (1986) boobie t-shirt fun Gregory Hines billy crystal

  • Steven Bauer is pretty unrecognisable with his beard and long hair, he plays one of the rookie cops Detective Frank Sigliano. He is best known I feel for being Tony Montana (Al Pacino) best friend Manny Ribera in the Scarface.
  • Tracy Reed, who plays Ray’s girl Maryann, quick bottom and boob flash always seemed to stay in my head for some reason!
  • I didn’t remember the train line car chase being quite so ridiculous!
  • Larry Hankin plays the magic cop mechanic Ace in a brilliant little scene.
  • Directed by Peter Hyams who made two awesome sci-fi’s on my favs list, Sean Connery in Outland and Elliott Gould in Capricorn One.

So! drum roll, did watching this for the second time put a rift in the universe and destroy my teenage years? Did I go into the fetal position, slowly rocking and weeping? Hopefully you will be pleased to hear…. I was ok! It’s still fun, rather cheesy and I couldn’t remember the soundtrack being quite so bad. To be honest it was probably never a great film to start with but something about the duo, the friendship and the fun stuck with me and it all held firmly together. I go on to live another day. Haha

Running Scared (1986) Gregory Hines flipping the bird middle finger up

Is there any films from your youth that you might be running scared from and not watching in case they smash your dreams? What did you think of Billy and Gregory together and did you like this film? If you want to, let me know. Thanks for having a read. Have fun watching movies…Mikey Wolf

And to sing us out please step forward Mr Michael Mcdonald. It’s like a trailer for the film plus the boys join Michael for a beer and a dance around the piano. Pure gold.

9 thoughts on “Running Scared (1986) Maybe Scared To Ruin Your Teenage Memories?

  1. I too loved this one at the time and rewatched it about 5 years ago. It was my intro to Billy on the big screen and Hines as well. Sadly he died way too young. Trivia bit if my memory is correct. This was to be a Paul Newman / Gene Hackman affair. Kind of makes sense with the retirement angle running through out. Great pick. Thanks for the link. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes so true Gregory was gone way too soon. Love him dancing with his brother in The Cotton Club and running around Saigon with Willem Dafoe in Off Limits. He always comes across like a real nice fella.
      No way Newman and Hackman! well that would of been something, secretly I’m glad they didn’t do it as we got fun Billy and Greg but those to legends together could of been magical moment. I wonder if it would’ve still have the comedy side to it!
      Thank you for the “unaware” inspiration for my post hehe 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post 🙂 A film like Running Scared (no relation to the 2006 film) is never going to considered an artistic masterpiece or at least one of it’s genre, but it is too hard to dislike. Hines and Crystal just have great chemistry and here is an interesting bit of trivia: the film’s director Peter Hyams also helmed the 1984 sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey entitled 2010. Interesting isn’t it? 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was so gutted that I missed seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey on it’s 50th anniversary showing a few weeks ago. An all time classic. I’m trying to introduce it to my two kids . But I’ve never seen 2010 and I know I really need to. Does it content to the original or a separate story. I think I will treat myself to a voyage into space real soon.
      Yeah I love the chemistry between Hines and Crystal. Hines and Willem Dafoe were great together in Off Limits.
      Didn’t know of the unrelated 2006 “Running Scared” but that sounds like a good film.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes totally agree Eric. Running Scared scored a 6.5 where Stakeout I’d squeeze for a 7. Another Stakeout, long time since I seen that but a 6 maybe! I was just pleased my memories of Running weren’t obliterated hehe.
      Looking at Steven Bauer IMDB page it’s looks like he’s been constantly working but unfortunately age maybe knocked those classic good looks. Surprising the about of times I’ve seen him in something.
      Thief Of Hearts had passed me by. Will keep an eye out for it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember how ecstatic my brother and I were after walking out of the theatrical release of ‘1941’; we’d loved it so much, we went to see it again a week later. When I finally watched it again on video a decade later, I thought, “Um, what kind of crap is THIS?” And I haven’t watched it since…although I did pick up the extended cut on DVD for a buck at a discount store, after hearing this version was better. Haven’t watched it yet, though. And like you with ‘Running Scared’, I’m worried to re-watch ‘Midnight Run’…I saw it in theaters back in 1988 and loved it, but I’m scared now to watch it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha thats funny as I saw 1941 on telly in my youth and didn’t like it much but was wondering if maybe I’d like it now? I think no is the answer. Incredible cast line up though.
      Rest assured buddy, Midnight Run holds up really well. I watched it for the first time in 20 odd years in April. Here’s my mini review which I gave 9/10

      “Oh how much did I enjoy watching this action pack comedy gem again. Superb cast and Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin are so brilliant together. Yaphet Kotto hilarious straight faced all through the film was a big high moment. Top notch entertainment. Strangest thing though, for the last 30 years I thought it was directed by Martin Scorsese and would of put money on it!!! Not until doing this post that I now see it’s by Martin Brest! Doh. Wow, now I know…”


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