Armed and Dangerous (1986 film)

Last updated
Armed and Dangerous
Armed and dangerous.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mark L. Lester
Written by Brian Grazer
James Keach
Harold Ramis
Peter Torokvei
Produced byBrian Grazer
James Keach
CinematographyFred Schuler
Edited by Daniel P. Hanley
Mike Hill
Gregory Prange
Music byBill Meyers
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • August 15, 1986 (1986-08-15)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million
Box office$15,945,534 [1]

Armed and Dangerous is a 1986 American comedy film directed by Mark L. Lester and starring John Candy, Eugene Levy, Robert Loggia and Meg Ryan. [2] It was filmed on location in and around Los Angeles, California.



Los Angeles police officer Frank Dooley is framed for stealing a television set by corrupt detectives Rizzo and Nedler and dismissed from the force. Meanwhile, hapless defense attorney Norman Kane is threatened with death by his latest client should he fail to keep him out of prison. Kane reveals his ineptitude and the death threat to the judge, who agrees to render a long sentence if Kane resigns as a lawyer.

Dooley and Kane meet when they apply for work at Guard Dog Security, run by Captain Clarence O'Connell and part of a union represented by Klepper and Lazarus. Becoming licensed security guards after a single afternoon of training, Dooley and Kane are made partners by supervisor Maggie Cavanaugh and assigned to night duty at a pharmaceutical warehouse. Ordered to take a lunch break by senior guard Bruno, Kane happens upon an armed robbery of the warehouse and calls Frank for help, but they prove no match for the thieves.

The next day, the pair are berated by O'Connell for their failure. While they are venting their anger toward O'Connell, Maggie reveals that she is his daughter. Dooley and Kane then attend a meeting of the union, where Kane's attempt to file a grievance against Guard Dog is quashed by union president Michael Carlino. Kane pointedly questions Carlino about how the union dues, adding to about $4 million per year, are spent. After Kane rejects an evasive answer from treasurer Lou Brackman, Carlino threatens Kane should he ever attend another union meeting.

Over the next few days, Dooley and Kane find themselves assigned to work at a landfill and a toxic waste dump. Convinced something illegal is afoot after hearing a story from two fellow security guards about a similar robbery, the pair track down Bruno at his gym and interrogate him. Bruno admits that O'Connell had him order them to lunch the night of the robbery. They visit an informant friend of Dooley's for information on Carlino and bring their suspicions to Maggie, but she rejects them for having no evidence.

Dooley and Kane next attend a party thrown by Carlino, hoping to gather some evidence. Eavesdropping on a meeting between Carlino and Brackman, they learn that Carlino is using the pension fund to finance dealings with a drug cartel and plans to have the money robbed from an armored car, with insurance covering the loss. Fearing the insurance company will investigate, Brackman urges Carlino not to execute the robbery. Carlino instructs Klepper and Lazarus to kill Brackman. Dooley and Kane attempt to save Brackman, but are too late to prevent his murder. After a night spent evading police, the two make plans with Maggie to prevent the armored car robbery. Kane and Maggie take over driving the truck, while Dooley plans to meet them ahead of the would-be robbers.

Dooley has problems with his motorcycle while weaving through a traffic jam on L.A.'s Sixth Street Viaduct and is forced to hitch a ride with a trucker who bulls through the traffic, destroying several cars in the process. Meanwhile, Kane and Maggie avoid assaults from multiple cars attempting to hold them up. Dooley is able to arrive in time to save the armored car from a final attack from Klepper and Lazarus. O'Connell arrives, having captured Carlino and his associates, Rizzo and Nedler.

The criminals are arrested and Dooley is invited back to the police force, along with a reluctant Kane.



The project was initially developed by Harold Ramis as a vehicle for Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. [3] According to John Candy, John Carpenter was initially attached to direct. [3] Carpenter stated that he dropped out of the project after Aykroyd stipulated that he would not star in the film unless the script was changed to culminate with a car chase. [4]

Ramis said the film "had died a quiet death, and then was resurrected by Brian Grazer, the producer. And Brian said, 'If I can find a director, can I make the movie?' And I said okay." [5] Candy and Tom Hanks were cast, but Hanks dropped out, and Candy recommended Eugene Levy, his costar in Second City Television and Going Berserk (1983), to replace Hanks. Ramis said the film "was not good. I tried to take my name off it. I took my name off in one place", referring to his executive producer credit, which was removed prior to release. Ramis is still credited as a screenwriter, despite his objections. [5]

Release and reception

The film opened in the United States on August 15, 1986 to poor reviews and low sales at the box office. [3] Armed and Dangerous holds a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on ten reviews. [6]

Reflecting on the movie in 2014, director Mark Lester said, "The movie came out okay, but I wasn't used to working with comedians. I was trying to tell the story and put in some good action scenes, but they didn't care about any of that. They just wanted to be funny." [7]

Related Research Articles

<i>Escape from New York</i> 1981 science fiction action film by John Carpenter

Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored and directed by John Carpenter, and starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Donald Pleasence, Isaac Hayes, Adrienne Barbeau and Harry Dean Stanton.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dan Aykroyd</span> Canadian-American actor (born 1952)

Daniel Edward Aykroyd is a Canadian and American actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer, and musician.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Candy</span> Canadian actor and comedian (1950–1994)

John Franklin Candy was a Canadian actor and comedian who is best known for his work in Hollywood films. Candy first rose to national prominence in the 1970s as a member of the Toronto branch of the Second City and its SCTV sketch comedy series. He rose to international fame in the 1980s with his roles in comedic films such as Stripes, Splash, Brewster's Millions, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Spaceballs, The Great Outdoors, Uncle Buck, and Cool Runnings. He also appeared in supporting roles in The Blues Brothers, National Lampoon's Vacation, Little Shop of Horrors, and Home Alone, and featured in dramatic roles in Only the Lonely and JFK.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Blues Brothers</span> American blues and soul band

The Blues Brothers are an American blues and soul revivalist band founded in 1978 by comedians Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as part of a musical sketch on Saturday Night Live. Belushi and Aykroyd were lead vocalist 'Joliet' Jake Blues and harmonica player and vocalist Elwood Blues, respectively, donning black suits with matching trilby hats and sunglasses. The band was composed of well-known musicians and debuted as the musical guest in a 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live, opening the show performing "Hey Bartender" and "Soul Man".

<i>Ghostbusters</i> 1984 film by Ivan Reitman

Ghostbusters is a 1984 American supernatural comedy film directed and produced by Ivan Reitman, and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. It stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler, three eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York City. It also stars Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis, and features Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, and William Atherton in supporting roles.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harold Ramis</span> American actor, comedian, and filmmaker (1944–2014)

Harold Allen Ramis was an American actor, comedian, and filmmaker. His best-known film acting roles were as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989), and as Russell Ziskey in Stripes (1981); he also co-wrote those films. As a director, his films include the comedies Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Groundhog Day (1993), Analyze This (1999) and Analyze That (2002). Ramis was the original head writer of the television series SCTV, on which he also performed, as well as a co-writer of Groundhog Day and National Lampoon's Animal House (1978). The final film that he wrote, produced, directed, and acted in was Year One (2009).

<i>National Lampoons Vacation</i> 1983 US film by Harold Ramis

National Lampoon's Vacation, sometimes referred to as simply Vacation, is a 1983 American road trip comedy film directed by Harold Ramis starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Imogene Coca, Randy Quaid, John Candy, and Christie Brinkley in her acting debut with special appearances by Eddie Bracken, Brian Doyle-Murray, Miriam Flynn, James Keach, Eugene Levy, and Frank McRae.

<i>Stripes</i> (film) 1981 film by Ivan Reitman

Stripes is a 1981 American military comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, P. J. Soles, Sean Young, and John Candy. Ramis wrote the film with Len Blum and Dan Goldberg, the latter of whom also served as producer alongside Reitman. Numerous actors, including John Larroquette, John Diehl, Conrad Dunn, Judge Reinhold, Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas, Timothy Busfield, and Bill Paxton, appear in the film in some of the earliest roles of their careers. The film's score was composed by Elmer Bernstein.

<i>Caddyshack II</i> 1988 film by Allan Arkush

Caddyshack II is a 1988 American sports comedy film and a sequel to the 1980 film Caddyshack. Directed by Allan Arkush and written by Harold Ramis and PJ Torokvei, it stars Jackie Mason, Robert Stack, Dyan Cannon, Dina Merrill, Jonathan Silverman, Brian McNamara, Marsha Warfield, Paul Bartel, and Randy Quaid with special appearances by Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. It tells the story of a wealthy and widowed real estate developer who goes up against Bushwood County Club's snobbish president in a golfing tournament.

<i>Ghostbusters II</i> 1989 film by Ivan Reitman

Ghostbusters II is a 1989 American supernatural comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts. It is the sequel to the 1984 film Ghostbusters and the second film in the Ghostbusters franchise. Set five years after the events of the first film, the Ghostbusters have been sued and put out of business after the destruction caused during their battle with the deity Gozer. When a new paranormal threat emerges, the Ghostbusters reunite to combat it and save the world.

<i>Sleepers</i> (film) 1996 film by Barry Levinson

Sleepers is a 1996 American legal crime drama film written, produced and directed by Barry Levinson, and based on Lorenzo Carcaterra's 1995 book of the same name. The film stars Kevin Bacon, Jason Patric, Brad Pitt, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Vittorio Gassman, Brad Renfro, Ron Eldard, Jeffrey Donovan, Terry Kinney, Joe Perrino, Geoffrey Wigdor, Jonathan Tucker, Bruno Kirby and Billy Crudup. The title is a slang term for juvenile delinquents who serve sentences longer than nine months.

<i>Nothing but Trouble</i> (1991 film) 1991 film by Dan Aykroyd

Nothing but Trouble is a 1991 American comedy horror film written and directed by Dan Aykroyd in his directorial debut, based on a story by his brother Peter, and starring Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, and Demi Moore. It tells the story of two yuppies and the clients of one of them who are taken to court for running a stop sign in the bizarre, financially bankrupt small town of Valkenvania, which is dominated by a 106-year-old judge. Tupac Shakur made his acting debut, as a member of the rap group Digital Underground.

<i>The Blues Brothers</i> (film) 1980 American musical comedy film by John Landis

The Blues Brothers is a 1980 American musical action comedy film directed by John Landis. It stars John Belushi as "Joliet" Jake Blues and Dan Aykroyd as his brother Elwood, characters developed from the recurring musical sketch "The Blues Brothers" on NBC's variety series Saturday Night Live. The script is set in and around Chicago, Illinois, where it was filmed, and the screenplay is by Aykroyd and Landis. It features musical numbers by rhythm and blues (R&B), soul, and blues singers James Brown, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Chaka Khan, and John Lee Hooker. It features non-musical supporting performances by Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson, Charles Napier, Kathleen Freeman, and John Candy.

<i>City of Hope</i> (1991 film) 1991 film by John Sayles

City of Hope is a 1991 American drama film written, directed, and edited by John Sayles. The film features Vincent Spano, Stephen Mendillo, and Chris Cooper.

The Ghostbusters franchise consists of American supernatural comedies, based on an original concept created by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis in 1984. The plot ostensibly centers around a group of eccentric New York City parapsychologists who investigate, encounter, and capture ghosts, paranormal manifestations, demigods and demons. The franchise expanded with licensed action figures, books, comic books, video games, television series, theme park attractions, and other original Ghostbusters-themed products.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kamo (Bolshevik)</span> Armenian Bolshevik revolutionary (1882–1922)

Simon Arshaki Ter-Petrosian, better known by his nom de guerre of Kamo, was an Old Bolshevik revolutionary and an early companion to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

<i>Money Movers</i> 1978 Australian film

Money Movers is a 1978 Australian crime action drama film written and directed by Bruce Beresford. The film was based on the 1972 novel The Money Movers by Devon Minchin, founder of Metropolitan Security Services. The story deals loosely with two real-life events, the 1970 Sydney Armoured Car Robbery where A$500,000 was stolen from a Mayne Nickless armoured van, and a 1970 incident when A$280,000 was stolen from Metropolitan Security Services' offices by bandits impersonating policemen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1907 Tiflis bank robbery</span> Robbery of bank stagecoach by Bolsheviks in 1907

The 1907 Tiflis bank robbery, also known as the Erivansky Square expropriation, was an armed robbery on 26 June 1907 in the city of Tiflis in the Tiflis Governorate in the Caucasus Viceroyalty of the Russian Empire. A Bolshevik group "expropriated" a bank cash shipment to fund their revolutionary activities. The robbers attacked a bank stagecoach, and the surrounding police and soldiers, using bombs and guns while the stagecoach was transporting money through Erivansky Square between the post office and the Tiflis branch of the State Bank of the Russian Empire. The attack killed forty people and injured fifty others, according to official archive documents. The robbers escaped with 241,000 rubles.

Watershed Music Festival is an annual country music festival held at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. Produced by Live Nation, the first event was held August 3–5, 2012. Watershed is usually a three day festival. The main attractions of the festival are the multiple stages of live music, featuring a mixture of country music superstars, newcomers and local country performers.

<i>Ghostbusters: Afterlife</i> 2021 film by Jason Reitman

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a 2021 American supernatural comedy film directed by Jason Reitman, who co-wrote it with Gil Kenan. It is the sequel to Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989), and the fourth film in the Ghostbusters franchise. The film stars Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Logan Kim and Paul Rudd, alongside Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver reprising their characters from the earlier films. Set 32 years after the events of Ghostbusters II, it follows a single mother and her children who move to an Oklahoma farm they inherited from her estranged father Egon Spengler, a member of the original Ghostbusters.


  1. "Armed and Dangerous".
  2. "Armed and Dangerous". TCM database. Turner Classic Movies . Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 Goldstein, Patrick (August 28, 1986). "JOHN CANDY'S READY TO TAKE CONTROL : My agent is always telling me--'it's not called show art, it's show business.' And I have to learn that . . ". Los Angeles Times . Archived from the original on June 27, 2019. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  4. John Carpenter and Nigel Floyd (July 29, 1994) [Published in 2017]. John Carpenter - The Guardian Interview (1994) (YouTube video) (Interview). National Film Theatre, London: Powerhouse Films Ltd. Event occurs at 1:12:05. Retrieved September 7, 2021. I was going to do Armed and Dangerous at one point and Dan Aykroyd said, 'look, I want the ending changed to a car chase'. And I said, 'let's don't'. And he said, 'I won't do it unless we do'. And I said, 'goodbye'.
  5. 1 2 Klein, Joshua (March 3, 1999). "Harold Ramis (interview)". A.V. Club. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  6. "Armed and Dangerous". Rotten Tomatoes .
  7. Haanen, Roel (January 2014). "Mark L. Lester interview". The Flashback Files. Retrieved May 28, 2022.