Partners (1982 film)

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Partners 1982.jpg
Directed by James Burrows
Produced by Aaron Russo
Francis Veber
Written by Francis Veber
Music by Georges Delerue
Cinematography Victor J. Kemper
Edited by Danford B. Greene
Stephen Lovejoy
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
30 April 1982
Running time
93 min
Country  United States
Language English
Box office $4,109,724 (USA)

Partners (1982) is a gay-themed buddy comedy, starring Ryan O'Neal and John Hurt as a mismatched pair of cops.


After a series of murders in Los Angeles's gay community, heterosexual police Sgt. Benson (O'Neal) is assigned to go undercover as half of a gay couple with Officer Kerwin (Hurt), a Records Clerk. Kerwin naively believes that he is closeted although the entire Department knows about his sexual identity. The pair discover an earlier murder and learn that both victims appeared in the same gay magazine. Each had received a call from a hoarse-voiced man asking them to model for him, only to turn up dead soon after. Benson models for the magazine and is approached by the same hoarse-voiced man; but, when another model turns up dead, the man is cleared as a suspect.

Benson grows close to Jill, the photographer of his shoot, and plans a weekend getaway with her. Kerwin suspects her of the murders, but his superiors put it down to jealousy. Kerwin uncovers evidence implicating Jill; but, when the police move to apprehend her, they discover her corpse. Her death unknown to Benson, he arrives for his rendezvous with Jill; and Kerwin races to his aid. Jill's killer, a closeted man whom Jill and one of the victims were blackmailing, admits to Benson that he killed Jill and two of the men but insists that Jill killed her partner in crime. Realizing that Kerwin is outside, the killer shoots at Kerwin who returns fire. Kerwin is wounded, but the other man is killed.


The film derives much of its alleged humor from Benson's discomfort with homosexuality and his stereotyping "gay behaviour." The film shows the evolution of Benson's attitudes toward Kerwin, in particular, and gay people, in general.


Rex Reed, writing for the New York Post, panned the film, saying, "Hollywood's latest crime against humanity in general and homosexuals in particular is a dumb creepshow called Partners - stupid, tasteless and homophobic, this sleazy, superficial film implies that gay cops can't be trusted to work with straight cops because they might fall in love with them." Gene Siskel was also offended and later called it one of the worst films of 1982.[1][2] The two reviews accessible from Rotten Tomatoes,, also find it dumb, but viewer reaction at, for both the DVD and VHS releases, are much more positive. O'Neal was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award as Worst Actor of the Decade. When asked if the movie drew any complaints from gay men during filming, John Hurt said, "They didn't like it that I was wearing a lilac colored, track suit in it. They say homosexuals do not necessarily do that. And the person who saying this is sitting there in a pink track suit, It's a crazy world we live in." [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russo, Vitto. "The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies". Harper & Roe, Publishers Inc. 1987 (Revised Edition). P282.
  2. ^ Sneak Previews: Worst of 1982
  3. ^ Rutledge, Leigh W. (1989). The Gay Fireside Companion. Alyson Publications, Inc. p. 166. 

External links[edit]