The Hit (1984)

the hit poster 1984 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Smart, clever movie


Movie Info

Movie Name: The Hit

Studio: Zenith Entertainment

Genre(s): Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  May 18, 1984 (Cannes)/March 8, 1985 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

the hit terence stamp john hurt

Nice to see you…

Willie Parker (Terence Stamp) squealed on his partners in crime, and now ten years later, he’s finally going to pay for it.  Kidnapped from his home by a hitman named Braddock (John Hurt) and his “hitman in training” partner Myron (Tim Roth), Willie is being transported from Spain to Paris for the job.  A stop in Madrid adds an unexpected woman named Maggie (Laura del Sol) to the mix as Braddock finds his simple job is getting more and more complex.  With the police closing in and the French border looming, Braddock must make some decisions.

Directed by Stephen Frears, The Hit is a crime drama.  The movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was released in the United States the following year.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #469).

I often just grab Criterion movies when they pop-up used or at the library and try to watch them with no background.  The Hit was one of those movies.  I like Frears, Stamp, and Hurt, so I hoped I would enjoy it.  The Hit turned out to be a fun road movie that touches on being a comedy.  A ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

the hit laura del sol john hurt

This is not a nice way to treat your hostages when you take them out for a drive

The story feels a lot like Fargo in its telling.  Though the kidnappers are playing a deadly serious game, there is a hint of humor to many of the scenes.  From the picking up of the car in Madrid to Stamp’s continuing efforts to play with the hitmen’s minds, the movie is loaded with clever dialogue and ideas.

Stamp plays it cool and collected as the kidnapping victim, and he seems to know that he’s playing a game.  He professes his fear of not dying, but that is because in his mind, it is still a game…and he dies running in fear and shot in the back when the game doesn’t end as he expects.  Hurt likewise can’t decide what game he is playing.  He is filled with doubt, but when it comes down the assignment, he executes it (even if it isn’t “right”).  I also like Roth who sometimes can be too much.  Here, his flippant personality fits the character of a guy who thinks it would be a good idea to get involved in organized crime for the money but doesn’t think of the consequences.  Bill Hunter is good in his small role as Maggie’s lover, and Laura del Sol also plays a good survivor who does what she can to stay alive and test the waters.

the hit monasterio de piedra waterfall

Waving that gun at me is ruining my moment of zen

The movie also looks fantastic.  The framing and cinematography is great as it highlights Spain and the Spanish countryside.  This combines with a soundtrack provided by Eric Clapton and Roger Waters with flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia performing.

The Hit was definitely a good grab.  It has a very modern feel despite its age and feels more like a late 1990s or a mid-1970s style of crime movie.  It jumps in quick and keeps going a rather quick pace (something crime films often do not do).  It is clever yet gritty, and it makes the most of what it has…The Hit hits on all cylinders and keeps firing.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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