Raw Deal (1986 film)

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Raw Deal
Raw deal.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Irvin
Produced by Martha Schumacher
Screenplay by Gary DeVore
Norman Wexler
Story by Luciano Vincenzoni
Sergio Donati
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Kathryn Harrold
Darren McGavin
Sam Wanamaker
Paul Shenar
Steven Hill
Ed Lauter
Joe Regalbuto
Music by Tom Bähler
Chris Boardman
Albhy Galuten
Claude Gaudette (theme "Kaminski Stomps")
Cinematography Alex Thomson
Edited by Anne V. Coates
Distributed by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Embassy Pictures
Release dates
  • June 6, 1986 (1986-06-06)
Running time 107 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11 million[1]
Box office $18,130,359 (Worldwide)

Raw Deal is 1986 American action film directed by John Irvin, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold, Darren McGavin and Sam Wanamaker. The film was released in the United States on June 6, 1986. The film tells the story of an elderly and embittered high ranking FBI chief, Harry Shannon, who wants to get revenge against a Mafia organization and sends a former FBI agent and now small-town sheriff Mark Kaminsky to destroy the organization from the inside.


On December 16, 1985, in a remote wooded cabin a mob informant with information on Luigi Patrovita, the strongest of the Chicago Outfit Dons, is being protected by FBI bodyguards. They are ambushed by a hit squad armed with automatic weapons who brutally slaughter the bodyguards and the witness. One of the agents killed while protecting the informant was Blair Shannon, son of FBI Chief Harry Shannon (Darren McGavin), who vows revenge.

Small-town sheriff Mark Kaminsky (Arnold Schwarzenegger) goes home to his wife (Blanche Baker) who is angry at what their lives have been reduced to and in a drunken fit, throws a cake at Mark. Kaminsky once worked for the FBI, but five years ago he brutally beat a suspect who molested, murdered, and mutilated a young girl. He was given the option to "resign or be prosecuted" by the ambitious prosecutor Marvin Baxter (Joe Regalbuto), who is now Special Federal Prosecutor heading up a committee looking into the dealings of mobster Luigi Patrovita (Sam Wanamaker).

Shannon calls Kaminsky in on a secret assignment of revenge, to infiltrate Patrovita's organization and "tear it up". Harry cannot do anything officially, and the FBI has a leak who has been getting agents killed, which is why Kaminsky must go in secret. Harry dangles the prospect of Kaminsky being re-instated with the FBI, leading to Kaminsky faking his own death in a chemical plant explosion and posing as convicted felon Joseph P. Brenner. Kaminsky manages to get an audience with Patrovita's right hand man Rocca (Paul Shenar), and convinces them of his worth by harassing Martin Lamanski (Steven Hill), a rival mob boss who is trying to move in on Patrovita's territory. While at Rocca's underground casino, he makes the acquaintance of Monique (Kathryn Harrold), a woman who works for Rocca's top lieutenant Max Keller (Robert Davi).

Kaminsky continues to work his way into the good graces of the Patrovita family, including devising a plan that recovers $100 million of heroin and cash seized by the feds from one of Patrovita's hideouts and assisting in Lamanski's assassination. Keller isn't convinced that 'Brenner' is all that he says he is. Keller eventually manages to find proof of the deception, showing Kaminsky's photo to a police informant who arrested the real Brenner in the past. The leak the FBI has been looking for is revealed as none other than Baxter, who is forced to stay close to Patrovita. Kaminsky accompanies Keller to a cemetery for a hit job, but finds out that the target is Harry Shannon, which causes him to blow his cover. Kaminsky and Shannon manage to kill Keller and the other hit man who came along, but not without Shannon being shot and severely wounded.

Kaminsky escapes, assisted by Monique (who has grown fond of him). He tells her to go to the airport and wait for him. He then suits up, gathers an arsenal of firearms and raids one of Patrovita's gravel pits, eventually killing everyone (to the tune of "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones) and walking off with some of the cash left behind. He then sets off to Patrovita's casino, hidden in a basement level of a high class hotel. There he single handedly wipes out all of Patrovita's soldiers, including the men directly responsible for the murder of Blair Shannon and his fellow FBI agents. Rocca and Patrovita flee to a back room, but before they can do anything Rocca is cut down in a barrage of gunfire. Patrovita flees into an office pleading for his life, but Kaminsky mercilessly guns him down and leaves his body sprawled on a table. On his way out, he encounters a whimpering Baxter and offers him a gun with the same line Baxter gave him five years earlier: "Resign, or be prosecuted. Any way you want it." Kaminsky starts to walk off, and when Baxter attempts to shoot him, Kaminsky turns and shoots Baxter dead in self-defense. After driving to the airport, Kaminsky hands a duffel bag containing $250,000 in cash to Monique and gets her on a chartered plane, telling her she is free and can start a new life with no obligations to anyone.

The epilogue shows Kaminsky visiting Shannon in a hospital, who was crippled as a result of the gunshot wound to his back and has been refusing any therapy or rehabilitation. Kaminsky has been reinstated into the FBI, and his reunion with his wife has now led to Amy being pregnant. Kaminsky wants Shannon to be godfather to the child, but only if Shannon will attempt to walk. Shannon cannot walk easily at first and angrily asks Kaminsky to leave him be, but then Kaminsky tells Shannon he must show the same strength that made him a good father to Blair. Inspired by the love for his son and his gratitude to Kaminski, Shannon makes a strong effort and eventually manages to walk a few feet on his own, embraced by a smiling Kaminsky.



The film was originally produced so that Dino De Laurentiis could inject some quick cash into his long gestating project Total Recall, a film that Laurentiis had owned the rights for, and one that Schwarzenegger would later take the leading role. In part due to the poor box office performance of Raw Deal, De Laurentiis would eventually file for bankruptcy and the rights to Total Recall were sold to Carolco. At the time Schwarzenegger was still in contract with De Laurentiis for a number of Conan the Barbarian sequels, and in exchange for dissolving this multi-picture agreement, Schwarzenegger agreed to star in Raw Deal. Initially Schwarzenegger was more interested in doing Total Recall but De Laurentiis objected as he didn't feel that Schwarzenegger fitted the leading role. Patrick Swayze was cast before De Laurentiis' bankruptcy.[2]

Filming was done on location in Chicago, Castle Hayne, North Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina at the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group Studios.[3] The film was originally intended to be called "Let's Make a Deal", and during production and filming this was changed to "Triple Identity". This referenced the fact that the lead character goes from being an FBI agent, to a small-town sheriff, and then to an undercover operative. In the end Raw Deal was the chosen title, in an attempt to make the film sound more like a regular action movie.[4]


The film received a mixed reception.[5][6] Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Sheila Benson began, "Has it come to this? That we can feel vaguely cheered that "Raw Deal" (citywide), where the bodies again pile up like cordwood, is a better made movie than "Cobra"?" Benson, however, praised Schwarzenegger saying that his strength as an actor is "not that he can toss grown men over ceiling beams, but that he has a vein of sweetness and self-deprecation that no amount of mayhem can obliterate. It has shone from him since "Pumping Iron;" it has allowed him to surmount silly and unwise pieces of action (such as the drunk scenes in one of the "Conans" and here), and even his own awkwardness as an actor."[7]

Box office[edit]

Raw Deal made $5.4 million in 3 days.[8] It went on to gross $15,946,969 in the US, and an additional $2,183,216 in Germany.[9]

Though the film doubled its production budget at the box office, its earnings were a disappointment.[10]


  1. ^ DE LAURENTIIS REJOINS THE RANKS--AT EMBASSY: DE LAURENTIIS: EMBASSY Friendly, David T. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 16 Nov 1985: e1.
  2. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091828/trivia
  3. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091828/locations?ref_=tt_dt_dt
  4. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091828/trivia
  5. ^ "Raw Deal". Variety. 1985-12-31. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  6. ^ "Raw Deal". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  7. ^ Benson, Sheila (1986-06-06). "Movie Review : A 'Raw Deal' For Audience, Cast And Crew". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  8. ^ "Schwarzenegger: Action Star Flexes More Than Muscle In Effort To Overcome He-man Image". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  9. ^ "IMDB Box Office Stats". 
  10. ^ Hunt, Dennis (1986-10-03). "Schwarzenegger Vs. Stallone: 'Deal' Strikes First". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-01. 

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