Revenge (1990 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tony Scott
Produced by Stanley Rubin
Hunt Lowry
Written by Jim Harrison (novel)
Jeffrey Alan Fiskin
Starring Kevin Costner
Anthony Quinn
Madeleine Stowe
Miguel Ferrer
John Leguizamo
Music by Jack Nitzsche
Cinematography Jeffrey L. Kimball
Edited by Chris Lebenzon
Michael Tronick
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
(USA & Canada)
New World Pictures
Release dates February 16, 1990
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Box office $15,645,616

Revenge is a 1990 romantic crime thriller film directed by Tony Scott, starring Kevin Costner, Anthony Quinn, Madeleine Stowe, Miguel Ferrer and Sally Kirkland. Some scenes were filmed in Mexico. The movie is a production of New World Pictures and Rastar Films and was released by Columbia Pictures. Revenge also features one of John Leguizamo's earliest movie roles.

The film is based on a novel by Jim Harrison, who co-wrote the script.

Twenty-one years after the film's release, actress Madeleine Stowe would be cast in ABC Studios' hit drama, Revenge, an unrelated project.


Michael J. "Jay" Cochran is a retiring United States Naval Aviator who, after 12 years in the service, wants to relax and live one day at a time. He goes to Mexico, accepting a matched pair of Beretta shotguns and an invitation from his wealthy friend Tiburon "Tibby" Mendez to spend time at his hacienda in Mexico. Tibby is a powerful crime boss, constantly surrounded by bodyguards.

While trying to find the hacienda, Cochran meets a beautiful young woman riding a horse. She is Tibby's wife, Miryea, who lives in lavish surroundings but is unhappy because her much-older husband does not want children, feeling pregnancy would spoil her looks.

Jay is a welcome guest and presents his friend with a Navy G-1 leather flight jacket. But he rubs Tibby's suspicious right-hand man Cesar the wrong way by behaving independently and not acting like an employee. After a dinner Tibby conducts a private meeting with business associates while Miryea gets acquainted with Jay. She becomes attracted to him. The next day they share a private walk on the beach.

During a party, with Tibby and his men nearby, Jay and Miryea secretly make love. Tension grows, as Jay is worried that Tibby will become aware of the situation. Miryea begs Jay not to leave. They arrange a secret rendezvous, Miryea pretending that she will be visiting a friend in Miami when she actually is going to accompany Jay to a remote cabin.

Cesar overhears a conversation in which Miryea asks her Miami friend to lie for her. Tibby visits Jay and invites him on a trip to the Beretta factory to custom-fit his new guns, but Jay declines. Tibby tells his friend goodbye. At the airport, Tibby also gives Miryea one last kiss. Jay is secretly waiting to drive her to the cabin.

At their hideaway, they are surprised by Tibby and his men. Jay's beloved dog is shot dead. Calling Miryea a "faithless whore," Tibby strikes her and cuts her face with a knife, as Tibby's henchmen viciously beat and kick Jay. After setting fire to the cabin, they dump Jay in the desert, and leave him to die.

Miryea is placed in a whorehouse, where she is drugged, abused, and relegated to "common use". The young man responsible for keeping her drugged has AIDS. As Miryea no longer wishes to live the life of a common prostitute, she persuades him to share a needle with her, thus infecting her.

Jay's unconscious body is discovered by a Mexican Good Samaritan, who slowly nurses him back to health. He returns to the burnt cabin and retrieves some money he had stashed away. His rescuer drives Jay to town and gives him a knife to "cut the balls off your enemy". He encounters a Texan delivering a horse, who offers Jay a ride in his car. Inside a cantina, Jay notices one of the thugs who had thrashed him; he follows him into the men's room and cuts his throat.

After a day on the road, the Texan, clearly ill, trades his horse to a wealthy man, who recognizes Jay from an afternoon at Tibby's estate. The friendly Texan dies in his car, apparently of tuberculosis.

At a motel, Jay runs across Amador, the cousin of the Mexican Good Samaritan who had saved his life. Amador and his quiet friend, Ignacio, have their own issues with Tibby Mendez and are willing to help. They capture another of Tibby's henchmen, who tells them where Miryea can be found. Jay barges into the brothel to rescue her, only to find that she has been moved. No one but Tibby knows where she is.

Jay, Amador, and Ignacio ambush Tibby and his bodyguard on a trail. Jay is here for revenge, but first Tibby requests that Jay ask forgiveness for having stolen his wife.

Miryea is in a convent hospice, dying of AIDS. By the time Jay arrives, it is too late. He carries her outside, where she dies in his arms.



The film earned mixed-to-negative reviews from critics. It currently holds a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 14 reviews.

Alternate versions[edit]

The version included on the 2007 DVD and Blu-ray releases is Tony Scott's shorter director's cut, running 104 minutes. The original 124-minute version is due to Kevin Costner and Ray Stark.

The director's cut includes several re-edits, and in general deletes many scenes in the original cut:

  • During the scene where Jay is beaten, the main henchmen stomps on one of his hands, crushing several fingers; in the new cut, that scene is missing, replaced by that same thug kicking Jay a few times while he is on the floor.
  • The Jeep-ride sequence is shown in a more explicit way; also the audience sees Miryea and Jay stopping at a nearby lake to drink some beer and have sex. The original soundtrack sequence has been changed.
  • Kirkland's role is shortened.
  • In the opening flying sequence, while Jay's jet is in the sky, a beaten man can be seen crawling in the desert, as a premonition of future events.
  • After Tibby's revenge, the audience sees him selecting a new young wife, but as if it was something more protocol-related.
  • All the scenes that showed Jay's doubts and hesitations relating to the affair are gone in the new cut.

External links[edit]