Bushwhacked (film)

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Promotional movie poster for the film.
Directed by Greg Beeman
Produced by Charles B. Wessler
Paul Schiff
Written by John Jordan
Danny Byers
Tommy Swerdlow
Michael Goldberg
Starring Daniel Stern
Ari Greenberg
Jon Polito
Anthony Heald
Brad Sullivan
Natalie West
Music by Bill Conti
Cinematography Theo van de Sande
Edited by Ross Albert
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • August 4, 1995 (1995-08-04)
Running time
90 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $7,919,823

Bushwhacked is a 1995 comedy adventure crime film starring Daniel Stern, Jon Polito, Anthony Heald and Brad Sullivan. This was Greg Beeman's last theatrical film before he moved on to direct television movies for Disney Channel. This also marked Sullivan's last theatrical appearance before his retirement in 2000 and his death in 2008.


Max Grabelski (Daniel Stern) is involved with delivering packages to a millionaire named Reinhart Bragden (Anthony Heald) for a $50 tip for each one. He shows up one night, delivering one at 10 PM instead of 10 AM (which the company he works for, Freedom Express, guarantees as the delivery time for all packages). Inside he finds a fire and Agent Palmer (Jon Polito) tries to arrest him for starting it and killing Bragden, but he grabs a gun and escapes. On the news, Palmer falsely names Grabelski as the suspect in Bragden's murder. He also claims that he was trying to take money that was scheduled to be taken out of circulation (which was being delivered to Bragden to be taken care of).

Grabelski then finds out from his boss that another package for Bragden is to be delivered to a place called Devil's Peak. He drives up there while, at the same time, Ranger Scout Troop 12 is planning an overnighter near there. Troop 12 consists of Gordy Patterson, whose mother is troop leader, Ralph, who constantly complains about Mrs. Patterson's performance as scout leader, Milton Fishman, the troop genius who lacks confidence, Dana Jareki, the youngest member and Barnhill, who continuously brags about climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro. Following the inclusion of Kelsey Jordan, the only female member, Gordy convinces his mother to find a new leader. Max steals a car, drives to a gas station, and meets Scout Leader Jack Erickson (Brad Sullivan), who was going to meet them there and whose Hummer he then steals at gunpoint when the gas station attendant figures out he is the wanted man. He switches places with Erickson, (who he calls "Sergeant Doofus" for putting an obscene sticker on his car window), gluing his hands and chin to the steering wheel, and takes his stolen station wagon.

Troop 12 begins to leave for the campgrounds, but Mrs. Patterson refuses to leave since Dana isn't with them, to which Ralph explains that his father refused to let him go. They leave, but at that moment, Dana arrives, stating that his father changed his mind and gives her his permission slip (it is later revealed by Mr. Jareki that Dana forged the signature). Grabelski heads to Devil's Peak but an officer informs him he is "late" for the troop. He is mistaken for the Scout Leader and finds himself in the midst of an overnighter. FBI agents then swarm the base of Devil's Peak and Palmer and Erickson go after him and the troop (who are now considered hostages). He begins acting weird around them, who see it as brilliance rather than crazy and they decide to scale the mountain rather than just have an overnighter. They are discovered by Palmer and Erickson after the troop accidentally urinate on them, and Grabelski and the scouts escape from the pursuing Palmer and Erickson as they run on a fragile bridge that connects from one cliff to the other. While the other scouts make it across, Fishman is the only troop that remains on the bridge since he is scared of heights and also due to the self-confidence that he lacks. Grabelski desperately yells at him to get across and after some thought, Fishman successfully gets across and Grabelski cuts the last supporter of the bridge, causing it to give way just as Erickson and Palmer arrive.

While gathering pinecones, Max grabs a beehive and begins to play football with it. Fishman soon tells him the truth but is too late to avoid getting stung by the swarm. While Fishman, Dana, Ralph and Barnhill treat Max's wounds, Gordy talks to Kelsey about what Max has done so far. Dana, who had kept a Playboy magazine in his backpack away from his parents site, shows it to Ralph and Barnhill. Ralph claims to know all about "the birds and the bees" and is persuaded by Kelsey to explain it to the troop. Grabelski catches Dana with the magazine and takes it away and looks at it himself. The troop then persuade Grabelski to tell them about "the birds and the bees". Grabelski, vacillated by this, reluctantly agrees and uses Kelsey's Barbie dolls to demonstrate sexual intercourse, which leaves the troop appalled.

The next day, after camping out for the night, the troop, listening to Gordy's homemade radio, hears that they are being "held hostage by a psychotic murderer" and they realize Grabelski's true identity rather than the Scout Leader originally sent to help them. Panicked to see that it his him and when Grabelski accidentally pulls out the stolen gun and unknowingly points it at the troop while he continues to sleep, they send out smoke signals for help, which Palmer and Erickson see. Fishman spikes Grabelski's canteen with allergy medicine, cough syrup, and sleeping pills with plans to knock Grabelski unconscious. Persuaded by the troop to drink the drugged canteen, Grabelski finally gives in and drinks it, but it doesn't take effect right away. Eventually, the plan works little time later, but not before Milton accidentally calls out Grabelski's last name.

Palmer, however, shows up alone and "arrests" Grabelski. Though the rest of the troop think Grabelski is the true criminal, Gordy guesses something is not right. Gordy's guess is answered when a helicopter that was supposed to pick up the troop suddenly flies past them, drawing suspicion upon the troop. The troop then realizes Grabelski is innocent when the helicopter that flew by was piloted by a well and alive Bragden and explains the situation to him. Bragden and Palmer are in on the scheme and try to frame him because "no one gives a damn about him". They will then get away with the money once and for all. They also plan on killing Grabelski and the entire troop involved to stage the situation as a murder-suicide. It is then revealed Palmer handcuffed Erickson to a tree nearby.

When attempting to kill Grabelski, the troop, having eavesdrop on the life-threatening plan and the scheme, revolt against Bragden and Palmer by using Kelsey's bra as a sling shot. However, while attempting to hit Bragden, the troop accidentally hit Grabelski with one of the rocks and falls into the river below. The troop then flee as Bragden and Palmer give chase. Dana gets separated from the troop in order to evade capture while the troop jump off a cliff into the river. Bragden and Palmer continue to pursue Grabelski and the troop via helicopter. Grabelski and the troop end up getting away after surviving a near-death experience on a waterfall with the help of Dana. They throw their bags in the river to make them think they are dead. They believe it and leave. Grabelski and the troop later camp out for the night in a cave.

The next morning, the gang then heads toward Devil's Peak while Mrs. Patterson discovers a note left by Grabelski that has an address written on it (where he was headed) and she drives up there only to be tied up by Bragden. The troop then make it to the top of the peak, and realize that Gordy's mother is held captive. When a debate on whether or not Gordy and the troop should take part in the rescue escalates, it gives away their hiding spot when Palmer overhears the argument and threatens them at gunpoint. Before Palmer can kill them, Erickson, who had freed himself from the handcuffs, ambushes him before he can act and glues him to a tree. Erickson tells Grabelski that he needs to have a serious talk with him for taking the Troop in his place, But Grabelski now has to save Patterson first, saving the talk for later. Grabelski attempts to untie Patterson (who angrily accuses him, initially, of purposely taking the troop with him in the first place), but is caught by Bragden and are forced outside at gunpoint to the porch. Before Bragden can kill Grabelski and Patterson execution style, Gordy attempts to stop Bragden, who almost shoots Gordy when he attempts to draw his pistol at him, but Gordy trips and falls off the porch, hanging on to a lone branch on the side of a cliff. Max, out of anger, knocks out Bragden and his fake teeth and rescues Gordy from certain death. As a result, the troop receive Eagle Scout honors. Fortunately, Grabelski is proven innocent and Erickson told him that when he took the troop in his place on the camping trip, he was not following the rules, but when Bragden & Palmer went to kill them, Grabelski was a hero for saving the troop and Erickson hires him by becoming a real scout leader, The Troop congratulates him, then Erickson tells him that he's taking the kids to Yosemite National Park, Grabelski tells the Troop that he's taking them only on the trip, but Erickson says he's taking not only "his" troop, but other troops in the Ranger Scouts as well and they all come after Max and "his" troop and Grabelski screams.



Bushwhacked received very negative reviews by critics and holds a 11% rating Rotten Tomatoes based on 16 reviews that are positive. The film was also a box office bomb, receiving only $7,919,823.

MPAA Rating[edit]

When the film was first released at theaters everywhere in the United States, the film was originally rated "PG-13" by the Motion Picture Association of America because of some strong profanity (the word "fuck" is uttered only once, along with one obscured use of "shit", and several mild religious exclamations) a scene of an implied comical description of sexual innuendo, using Barbie dolls, and other crude dialogues; but the film was given a "PG" rating when the film was re-edited and re-released on VHS and released on DVD as part of the Fox Family Feature series. The "f-word" is spoken by Grabelski during the waterfall near-death experience. Despite having the film re-rated to "PG," The f-word was not dubbed in the 2001 Family Feature VHS and 2002 DVD release.

Home Media[edit]

The original unedited "PG-13" version was released on VHS in 1996 and released another VHS version under 20th Century Fox's "Selections" banner. A widescreen version of the film was also released on Laserdisc. Bushwhacked was re-released again on VHS as part of the Family Feature series on February 6, 2001 as a PG rated film when Beeman dubbed out some of the profanity used in the film. The DVD, also rated PG, was released on March 11, 2002 and was later re-released in 2009. The Family Feature DVD version of the film presented the film in both full screen (side A) and widescreen with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (side B), while the 2009 re-issue of the film was only presented in full screen. Despite the fact Beeman dubbed out most of the curse words originally spoken in the film to receive a PG rating, the re-released VHS and DVD version of Bushwhacked did not have the f-word dubbed out.

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