Tequila Sunrise

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"A business on the line. A friendship on the edge. A woman caught in the middle."
  • R
  • 1988
  • 1 hr 55 min
  • 6.0  (33,686)
  • 62

Tequila Sunrise is a crime thriller from 1988 that stars Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kurt Russell. Directed by Robert Towne and produced by Thom Mount, the film tells the story of a complicated friendship between two former drug dealers and their shared love interest. Set in the picturesque coastal town of Santa Barbara, California, Tequila Sunrise explores the blurred lines between law enforcement and organized crime. Mel Gibson stars as Dale "Mac" McKussic, a charming and charismatic drug dealer who has recently decided to retire from the hazardous life of trafficking cocaine. Kurt Russell plays Nick Frescia, a police detective who has been trying to catch Mac for years. However, their friendship from high school days makes it difficult for Nick to arrest his old friend.

Michelle Pfeiffer is Jo Ann Vallenari, a restaurant owner who is caught in the middle of the two men's personal and professional conflicts. As a former lover of both Mac and Nick, Jo Ann is torn between her loyalty to Mac and her duty to help Nick bring him to justice. As tensions escalate, Nick becomes increasingly convinced that Mac is planning to make a big drug deal before he can retire, and he sets out to catch him in the act.

One of the main themes of the movie is the contrast between the seemingly idyllic beach town on the surface and the dark underworld lurking beneath it. The characters in Tequila Sunrise are all trying to find a way out of their current circumstances, whether it's Mac trying to leave his criminal past behind, Nick trying to prove himself as a successful detective, or Jo Ann trying to find a stable relationship.

The film is known for its sumptuous cinematography, which captures the beauty of California's Central Coast and the glamorous lifestyle of the main characters. The character of Mac is particularly memorable for his devil-may-care attitude and laid-back style, which is embodied by his love of surfing and his preference for Hawaiian shirts and colorful shorts.

Michelle Pfeiffer's Jo Ann is also a standout character in the film, as she empowers herself in a male-dominated world and stands up for what she believes in. Kurt Russell's Nick is torn between his loyalty to his friend and his commitment to his job, and his character arc explores the complexities of professional and personal relationships.

Tequila Sunrise received mixed reviews upon its release, with some critics praising the stylish direction and strong performances from the lead actors, while others found the plot convoluted and implausible. However, the film has gained a cult following over the years, with many viewers appreciating its nostalgic portrayal of the late 1980s and the chemistry between the three leads.

Overall, Tequila Sunrise is a stylish and entertaining crime thriller that explores the blurred lines between friendship, loyalty, and the law. With its beautiful location, charismatic characters, and complicated plot, the film is a quintessential example of 1980s cinema.

Tequila Sunrise is a 1988 thriller with a runtime of 1 hour and 55 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.0 and a MetaScore of 62.

Tequila Sunrise
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 55 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.0  (33,686)
  • Metascore