Unlawful Entry (film)

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Unlawful Entry
Unlawful Entry.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jonathan Kaplan
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • George Putnam
  • John Katchmer
Music by James Horner
CinematographyJamie Anderson
Edited byCurtiss Clayton
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 26, 1992 (1992-06-26)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$23 million
Box office$57.1 million (US) [1]

Unlawful Entry is a 1992 American psychological thriller film directed by Jonathan Kaplan and starring Kurt Russell, Madeleine Stowe, and Ray Liotta. [2]


The film involves a couple who befriend a lonely policeman, only for him to develop an unrequited fixation on the wife, leading to chilling consequences. Ray Liotta was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain in 1993 for his portrayal of the psychopathic cop. The film was remade in Bollywood as Fareb in 1996.


Michael and Karen Carr (Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe) are a couple living in an upscale part of Los Angeles. One night, an intruder enters their home through their skylight, upsetting their tranquility. The intruder briefly takes Karen as a hostage, before dumping her in the swimming pool and escaping.

The Carrs call the police, one of whom, Pete Davis (Ray Liotta), takes extra interest in the couple's case. He cuts through department red tape and quickly installs a security system in the Carrs' house.

When Michael expresses an interest in getting revenge on the intruder, Pete invites him on a ride-along with his partner, Roy Cole (Roger E. Mosley). After dropping Cole off, Pete takes Michael out to arrest the man who broke into the Carrs' house, offering Michael a chance to take some revenge using Pete's nightstick. Michael declines, but Pete viciously beats the intruder, leaving Michael deeply suspicious of Pete's mental stability. He suggests that Pete get some professional help and, especially, stay far away from him and Karen in the future.

Rejecting both suggestions, Pete instead begins to stalk the couple, particularly Karen, with whom he's obsessed. Pete even appears in the couple's bedroom one night while they are making love, just to "check that everything's okay".

When Michael files a complaint against Pete's unwanted attentions, Pete uses his police connections to destroy Michael's business reputation. Encountering bemused apathy from Pete's superiors in the LAPD, Michael turns to Cole, who orders his partner to cease his obsessing, see a shrink or face suspension. Pete then murders Cole, blaming it on a known criminal.

Pete then frames Michael on drug charges by planting a supply of cocaine in the Carrs' house, enabling him to move in on Karen. Jeopardizing his attorney's finances, Michael gets out on bail and takes matters into his own hands.

Back at the Carr house, after finding that Pete has brutally murdered her friend, Karen rejects a now distraught Pete, who, on branding her a tease for leading him on and kissing him, goes berserk and attempts to rape her. Michael returns home and Pete attacks him and Karen. Pete and Michael fight, but outside of their bathroom, Pete is able to hold Michael at gunpoint. Karen then bursts out of the room and attacks him, allowing Michael to gain the upper hand. Michael punches Pete and knocks him down the stairs. After regaining consciousness, Pete taunts Michael once more, believing that, as a citizen, Michael will just arrest Pete, only for Michael to instead shoot Pete to death. Michael and Karen go outside and wait for the police to arrive.




Principal photography began on October 25, 1991. Filming took place in and around Los Angeles, California. The house that was used for the Carr residence in the film is located at 546 Wilcox Ave. The school sequence was filmed at Doris Place Elementary School. The sequence where Michael is in jail was filmed at Lincoln Heights Jail. Production wrapped on February 5, 1992.


Box office

The film was released in the U.S. on June 26, 1992, opening at #2 in 1,511 theaters, an average of $6,662 per theater. Grossing $10,067,609 in the opening weekend, it went on to gross $57,138,719 in the domestic market. [1] It was a box-office success, and brought back its $23 million budget.

Critical response

Unlawful Entry received positive reviews from critics, as it holds a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 34 reviews. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale. [3]

Roger Ebert praised director Jonathan Kaplan for giving the film's story a sense of realism with its locations, characters with "unrestrained realism" from the actors and having "undertones of a serious social drama" when confronting fears about a delusional police authority. [4] Variety 's Todd McCarthy wrote that despite being another film that follows in the mould of Fatal Attraction , he called it "a very effective victimization thriller", praising both Liotta and Russell's performances and Kaplan's direction of the script into "areas of social and class-structure observations" when dealing with unhinged police figures in an urban setting. [5] In her review for The New York Times , Janet Maslin was critical of the three main leads lacking depth and substance in the motivations of their characters but gave credit to Liotta for giving "complexity" to his role, a solid supporting cast and the "level-headed" direction Kaplan takes with the plot, even as it stretches credibility. [6]

See also

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  1. 1 2 "Unlawful Entry". Box Office Mojo .
  2. Maslin, Janet (June 26, 1992). "Unlawful Entry (1992) Review/Film; An Officer Too Involved in His Work". The New York Times .
  3. "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  4. Ebert, Roger (June 26, 1992). "Unlawful Entry Movie Review". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved March 14, 2018.Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg
  5. McCarthy, Todd (June 22, 1992). "Unlawful Entry". Variety . Penske Media Corporation . Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  6. Maslin, Janet (June 26, 1992). "An Officer Too Involved in His Work" . The New York Times . Retrieved March 14, 2018.