6.5/10
4,311
34 user 37 critic

Best Seller (1987)

A hitman approachs a writer to help him create the next best seller on his career, but the violent world he was a part of has other plans.

Director:

John Flynn

Writer:

Larry Cohen
Reviews
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Woods ... Cleve
Brian Dennehy ... Dennis Meechum
Victoria Tennant ... Roberta Gillian
Allison Balson ... Holly Meechum
Paul Shenar ... David Madlock
George Coe ... Graham
Anne Pitoniak Anne Pitoniak ... Mrs. Foster
Mary Carver ... Cleve's Mother
Sully Boyar ... Monks
Kathleen Lloyd ... Annie
Charles Tyner ... Cleve's Father (as Harold Tyner)
E. Brian Dean E. Brian Dean ... Taxi Driver
Jeffrey Josephson Jeffrey Josephson ... Pearlman
Edward Blackoff Edward Blackoff ... Thorn
Branscombe Richmond ... Longshoreman #1
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Storyline

Hit man Cleve approaches writer/cop Dennis about a story for his next book: How Cleve made a living, working for one of the most powerful politicians in the country. To get the story right, they travel around the country to gather statements and evidence, while strong forces use any means they can to keep the story untold. Written by Lars Skogan <si2_ls92362@debet.nhh.no>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Writing A Book Is Easy. Writing A Best Seller Is Murder. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hard Cover See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$905,399, 27 September 1987

Gross USA:

$4,278,150

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,278,150
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hemdale See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director John Flynn claims to have heavily re-written the screenplay prior to principal photography. See more »

Goofs

When Cleve holds the gun to Dennis' neck and talks about only a few ounces of pressure needed, the revolver wasn't cocked and significant force would be needed to actually discharge the weapon. See more »

Quotes

Dennis Meechum: Who fucked it up?
Roberta Gillian: Nobody fucked it up, Mr. Meechum. Just don't expect Hollywood to bail you out.
See more »


Soundtracks

PLAISIR D'AMOUR
Written by Jean Paul Martini
See more »

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User Reviews

Decent thriller with excellent star duo.
14 November 2011 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

Writer Larry Cohen concocts this interesting, entertaining movie that mainly hinges on the often antagonistic relationship between two strong personalities. Brian Dennehy stars as Dennis Meechum, a cop who also writes books based on true crime stories, who is approached by Cleve (James Woods), a professional hit-man for an unscrupulous businessman, David Madlock (Paul Shenar). The hit-man feels inadequately compensated for his years of service, and is now an incredibly disgruntled ex-employee, enough to approach the cop / author to propose writing a book that reveals all the ugly details of the businessman's rise to the top. Capably directed by action specialist John Flynn ("Rolling Thunder", "Lock Up", "Out for Justice"), "Best Seller" tells a pretty good story in slick enough fashion, with some effective moments of very nasty violence. It also has very strong subtext about portraying a dark side to capitalism and corporations, as well as Cleve's own very dark version of The American Dream. It's well paced, with some potent scenes that establish what kind of man Cleve is. Yet, for a man who most of the time comes off as pure scum, he has definite intelligence and a real presence, and in the end does have a redemptive quality; it's the kind of role meant for an actor of Woods's abilities, and he plays it for all it's worth. But Dennehy is equally his match as the dedicated cop both disgusted with and intrigued by his new associate. Appealing Allison Balson plays Dennis's daughter, although supporting players Shenar and Victoria Tennant ultimately end up with not that much to do, and Shenar's character is not what you'd call subtle. Other fine players in the movie include George Coe, Anne Pitoniak, Mary Carver, Sully Boyar, Kathleen Lloyd, and Charles Tyner, with a too brief, uncredited appearance by Seymour Cassel as one of the bodyguards. Reasonably engrossing, with an ending that at least isn't 100% predictable, although some viewers may not find it terribly satisfying. But the interplay between two experienced and reliable movie stars makes it all worthwhile. Seven out of 10.


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