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Running Scared is a 1986 action/comedy film directed by Peter Hyams, written by Gary Devore and Jimmy Huston, and starring Gregory HinesBilly Crystal, and Jimmy Smits. Hines and Crystal play Chicago police officers who, after nearly being killed on the job, decide to retire and open a bar in Key West, only to get caught up in making one last arrest before they go.


 [hide*1 Plot


Ray Hughes (Hines) and Danny Costanzo (Crystal) are two detectives working Chicago's North Side, known for their childish demeanors and unorthodox police methods, which get results in their various cases. One such case involves trying to bust up-and-coming drug dealer Julio Gonzales (Jimmy Smits). After arresting Snake (Joe Pantoliano), one of Julio’s associates, they convince him to wear a wire in order to get the necessary evidence to put Julio away. Snake is setting the detectives up, however, and during the bust, the pair look as though they will be killed for sure, but two undercover detectives in Julio’s gang step in to make the arrest. In the ensuing melee, most of Julio’s gang escape, but Ray and Danny capture Gonzales.

Back at the station Ray and Danny expect to be praised, but instead their captain (Dan Hedaya) chastises them for their sloppy work (as revealed by Snake’s wire) and orders them to take a vacation. On vacation in Key WestFlorida, the pair begin to question their career choice after the experience and decide to retire and open a bar.

When they return to Chicago and inform the captain of their intentions, they find out that Gonzales has been released and is free on bail. Incensed, they vow to capture Gonzales before retiring, but by being a little more careful in the process. To add insult to injury, Captain Logan assigns them the additional task of training their replacements before they go; detectives Anthony Montoya (Jon Gries) and Frank Sigliano (Steven Bauer), none other than the two undercover officers that saved them from being killed in the Gonzales bust.

During one of the attempts to capture Gonzales, Ray and Danny confiscate a large shipment of his drugs coming from Colombia. In order to get them back, Gonzales kidnaps Danny’s ex-wife Anna (Darlanne Fluegel), whom he still loves and has been trying to reconcile with, and says he will trade her for his drugs, otherwise he will kill her. Danny agrees, leading to the final confrontation inside the high-rise atrium of the James R. Thompson Center. During the ensuing firefight, Danny and Ray ironically rescue their would-be protégés in a way similar to their own rescuing, and Gonzales is killed. Anna and Danny reconcile and he and Ray decide not to retire after all.



Running Scared was a moderate box office success earning over $38 million. Reviews were mixed, however, and the film has a current 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 13 reviews. Film critic Roger Ebert recommended it saying that it “transcends its dreary roots and turns out to be a lot of fun”.[1]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times, however, advised people to "stay home and watch Miami Vice or Cagney and Lacey" instead.[2]

Box office[edit][]

The movie debuted at number 6 at the US box office.[3]


Running Scared
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released 1986
Genre R&B
Length 43:04
Label MCA Records
Producer Rod Temperton, Dick Rudolph, andBruce Swedien

The Running Scared soundtrack was released in conjunction with the movie and contained a mix of songs and music featured in the film. The album sold well and produced three top 15 hits with performances by KlymaxxMichael McDonaldNew Edition, and Patti LaBelle. Producer Rod Temperton also contributed two songs with his band The Rod Temperton Beat Wagon.

Track listing[edit][]

No. Title Performer Length
1 "Man Size Love" Klymaxx 4:15
2 "Sweet Freedom" Michael McDonald 7:38
3 "I Just Wanna Be Loved" Ready For The World 4:55
4 "Running Scared" Fee Waybill 4:31
5 "Once In A Lifetime Groove" New Edition 4:05
6 "I Know What I Want" Patti LaBelle 3:56
7 "Say You Really Want Me" Kim Wilde 4:31
8 "El Chase (Instrumental)" The Rod Temperton Beat Wagon 5:33
9 "Never Too Late To Start" The Rod Temperton Beat Wagon 4:11

Singles chart positions[edit][]

Year Single Chart Position
1986 Man Size Love Billboard Hot 100 15[4]
Once In A Lifetime Groove Dance Music/Club Play Singles 9[4]
Once In A Lifetime Groove Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 10[4]
Once In A Lifetime Groove Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 10[4]
Sweet Freedom Adult Contemporary 4[4]
Sweet Freedom Billboard Hot 100 7[4]
Sweet Freedom Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 17[4]
1987 Say You Really Want Me Billboard Hot 100 44[4]

Album chart position[edit][]

Year Album Chart Position
1986 Running Scared R&B Albums 38[4]
Running Scared Billboard 200 43[4]