Daylight (film)

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Daylight Stallone.jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed by Rob Cohen
Produced by John Davis
David T. Friendly
Joseph Singer
Written by Leslie Bohem
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Amy Brenneman
Viggo Mortensen
Dan Hedaya
Jay O. Sanders
Karen Young
Claire Bloom
Barry Newman
Stan Shaw
Music by Randy Edelman
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
December 6, 1996
(United States)
December 26, 1996
(United Kingdom)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80 million[1]
Box office $159.2 million[2]

Daylight is a 1996 American disaster thriller film directed by Rob Cohen and starring Sylvester Stallone, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Amy Brenneman, Viggo Mortensen, Dan Hedaya, Stan Shaw, Karen Young and Danielle Harris.


In Upstate New York, a waste management firm loads barrels of toxic waste onto trucks, intending to illegally dispose of them. They are shown heading into a tunnel under the Hudson River between Lower Manhattan and Jersey City, New Jersey along with several other commuters, including struggling playwright Maddy Thompson (Amy Brenneman), some young offenders, a vacationing family, an elderly couple, and a mountain climber named Roy Nord (Viggo Mortensen). Meanwhile, a gang of diamond thieves in a stolen car try to escape the NYPD by racing into the tunnel. The gang force their way through the north tube traffic, spilling the diamonds all over the floor of the car. While a female thief tries to retrieve them, she pushes the gas pedal to the floor, causing the driver to lose control, smashing though a security booth and into one of the trucks, killing them instantly. The waste barrels explode, causing the other trucks to explode and setting off a chain reaction. The tunnel entrances cave in, and a devastating fireball sweeps through the tunnel, incinerating thousands of cars and people.

About to enter the Manhattan end of the tunnel, former New York City Emergency Medical Services Chief Kit Latura (Sylvester Stallone), now working as a cab driver, witnesses the fireball erupting from the entrance. While racing to help whoever he can he runs into an old EMS colleague, who tells him that the tunnel is severely damaged, and could come down if any wrong moves are made. Kit then checks with tunnel administrators, and finds that most of the old exits have been sealed off or are considered unsafe. Kit makes his way into the tunnel through the ventilation system, risking his life as the massive fans can only be slowed down for a short time.

A group of the survivors trapped inside band around Nord, who believes he can find a way out through the mid-river passage, a service corridor running between the north and south tubes. Kit arrives and finds Nord, warning him that the passage could come down at any moment, but Nord dismisses the possibility. Kit barely escapes as the mid-river collapses, killing Nord, and causing another explosion which kills a survivor.

Water begins seeping in from the river above, and Kit uses an explosive to stop the leak. Police officer George Tyrell (Stan Shaw) returns from investigating the Manhattan end and is crushed under a truck as the road shifts. The group manage to free him before he can drown, but he is left with a broken neck. The water level continues to rise and the angry survivors confront Kit. He claims he can slow it down but not stop it, as the clean-up effort on the Manhattan side of the tunnel is causing water to enter their side. Kit recalls that there are sleeping quarters beside the tunnels (left over from when the tunnel was built) and asks George how to access them. Kit finds one by swimming under a security booth, and leads the group to this area, but George has to be left behind. He gives Kit a bracelet intended for his girlfriend Grace (Vanessa Bell Calloway), and tells him to "get them to daylight".

Eleanor (Claire Bloom), one of the elder survivors, is distressed that her late son's dog Cooper is missing. She refuses to go on, then suddenly yet quietly passes away, presumably from hypothermia. The group moves to another room as the first one floods, convincing Eleanor's husband Roger (Colin Fox) to come with them. As they reach the top of an old wooden staircase, Kit notices Cooper swimming in the water below and dives down to rescue him, passing him up to one of the survivors, but a beam falls and destroys the lower half, sending Kit into the water. Maddy tries to help Kit up, but she falls as well, as more of the staircase is knocked down. The main group escape through a manhole into daylight while the corridor caves in behind them, but not before one of the survivors takes a flashlight from his daughter and tosses it to Kit, leaving Kit and the hysterical Maddy behind.

Kit and Maddy swim around looking for a possible way out, with the main highway tunnel now almost completely submerged. Kit realizes he will have to use his explosives to cause a "blow out" and rip the tunnel roof open. The blast forces Maddy towards the surface, but throws Kit downwards. Maddy finds a barely conscious Kit and keeps him afloat, as a boat discovers them offshore. Lying on a stretcher, Kit sees Grace in the crowd and hands her George's bracelet. Maddy insists on riding with him in the ambulance, to which Kit replies "on one condition; we gotta take the bridge."


  • Sylvester Stallone as Kit Latura, a disgraced former New York City Emergency Medical Services (EMS) chief who tries to save the survivors trapped inside the tunnel. Rob Cohen originally wanted Nicolas Cage to play Kit Latura, but Universal execs felt he was more of a "character actor", and Stallone was more commercially viable
  • Amy Brenneman as Madelyne "Maddy" Thompson, a struggling playwright who was moving out of New York City when the tunnel explosion traps her inside
  • Viggo Mortensen as Roy Nord, a rich sports celebrity known for doing commercials for sports company Territory Beyond who is trapped in the tunnel after an explosion
  • Dan Hedaya as Frank Craft, an EMS medic who is an estranged friend of Kit's after Frank's brother was killed under Kit's watch a year before
  • Stan Shaw as George Tyrell, a transit cop trapped in the tunnel by the explosion
  • Jay O. Sanders as Steven Crighton, a family man taking his wife and daughter to New York to patch up his strained relationship with his family when the explosion traps all three in the tunnel
  • Karen Young as Sarah Crighton, Steven's wife and Ashley's mother who is trapped in the tunnel along with them by the explosion
  • Danielle Harris as Ashley Crighton, Steven and Sarah's 14-year-old daughter who is trapped alongside her distant parents in the tunnel
  • Colin Fox as Roger Trilling, An elderly man trapped alongside his wife Eleanor and their late son's dog Cooper in the tunnel
  • Claire Bloom as Eleanor Trilling, Roger's wife who is trapped alongside her husband and family dog in the tunnel when the explosion seals them inside
  • Vanessa Bell Calloway as Grace Calloway, tunnel operations dispatcher whose boyfriend George Tyrell is trapped inside the tunnel
  • Sage Stallone as Vincent, a young con-artist going to juvenile prison when the explosion traps him and other delinquents in the Holland Tunnel[citation needed], who becomes Ashley's love interest
  • Renoly Santiago as Mikey, a shy juvenile delinquent also trapped inside the tunnel
  • Trina McGee as LaTonya, a female juvenile delinquent trapped along with other trouble youths at the tunnel
  • Marcello Thedford as Kadeem, a young juvenile hoodlum arrested for armed robbery who is also trapped with the others
  • Barry Newman as Norman Bassett, the tunnel operations supervisor
  • Mark Rolston as Chief Dennis Wilson, an antagonistic EMS chief who replaced Kit after his dismissal
  • Jo Anderson as Bloom, an EMS search-and-rescue paramedic
  • Rosemary Forsyth as Ms. London, an arrogant head of New York's engineer company.
  • Lorenzo Wilde (aka Stephen Nalewicki) as a corporate attorney
  • Mark Chadwick as a gem thief, his fatal crash into the waste trucks leads to the explosion.
  • Tony Munafo as the canister truck driver, he is assigned to dump toxic waste in New Jersey under the risk of a federal rap, and dies when the waste trucks explode.


The film received negative reviews and has a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 39 reviews with an average rating of 4.7 out of 10.[3]

There were, however, some moderate and positive reception. Roger Ebert gave the film two stars out of four, commenting, "Daylight is the cinematic equivalent of a golden oldies station, where you never encounter anything you haven't grown to love over the years. At one point, when a trapped civilian asks him if they have a chance, I expected him to say, 'Calm down, lady. I've done this in a dozen other movies.'"[4] Empire gave the film four stars out of five, stating, "Daylight is great because it never tries to be any more than it is — a disaster movie with all the special-effects hoopla the '90s can bring."[5]

Daylight opened in 2,175 theaters in North America and grossed $10,015,875. The film ended up earning only $33,023,469 domestically but $126,189,000 internationally for a total of $159,212,469, double its estimated $80 million production budget.[6]

The film won a Golden Reel Award for best Sound Editing and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category (Richard L. Anderson and David A Whittaker). It was also nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards, Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone) and Worst Original Song (Whenever There Is Love).


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "Daylight (1996)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 19, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Daylight (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 19, 2009. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 6, 1996). "Daylight". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  5. ^ Nathan, Ian. "Daylight". Empire. Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  6. ^

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