Disorganized Crime

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Disorganized Crime
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Kouf
Produced by Lynn Bigelow
Written by Jim Kouf
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Ronald Víctor García
Edited by Frank Morriss
Dallas Puet
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • April 14, 1989 (1989-04-14)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Box office Domestic:

Disorganized Crime is a 1989 heist/comedy film set in Montana. It was written and directed by Jim Kouf and released through Touchstone Pictures. The ensemble cast includes Fred Gwynne, Lou Diamond Phillips, Rubén Blades, William Russ, Corbin Bernsen, Ed O'Neill, Daniel Roebuck and Hoyt Axton.


The story begins in a small town in western Montana where New Jersey based bank robber Frank Salazar has been hiding out from the law after a series of bank robberies in Newark. Upon realizing that the local bank contains a large amount of cash, Salazar recruits four former accomplices to come to town and help him rob the bank. Among them are Nick Bartkowski, a nervous and possibly alcoholic safecracker; Max Green, an old school explosives expert with a heart condition; Ray Forgy, a young, wisecracking auto thief and getaway driver; and Carlos Barrios, a well-manicured lookout and weapons expert.

Before they can arrive, however, two New Jersey detectives (George Denver and Bill Lonigan) catch up with Salazar, arrest him, and extradite him back to New Jersey. But Salazar soon escapes and becomes hopelessly lost in the Montana wilderness as he flees Denver and Lonigan's custody.

Unaware of Salazar's arrest and escape, the four accomplices arrive and realize that he is nowhere to be found. They finally decide to take down the bank on their own but must go through several humorous ordeals before they can complete their plan.



Reviews and reception[edit]

Upon release, Disorganized Crime was met with mixed and overall poor reception by top critics. Both Siskel and Ebert gave it thumbs down; reproach was aimed at the lack of detail given to the bank heist plan. They also claimed that the film relies on "slapstick and cornball barnyard humor," cited its frequency of chase scenes and moments where characters fall in mud and manure. However, Ebert did credit the actions of Lou Diamond Phillips's character as a highlight.[1] Caryn James of The New York Times gave feedback largely echoing Siskel and Ebert and claimed that Rubén Blades gives "the only genuinely comic performance."[2] Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called it "a human rehash of the city-mouse/country-mouse story" but also praised Blades for his "comic zest."

In a 2003 interview with DVD Empire, Lou Diamond Phillips said regarding Disorganized Crime:

"As a film, I felt it was a bit disappointing, and I think it should have been funnier. Unfortunately, I think the script was funnier than the actual film came out to be, but I think we were all on a different page. I think the director wanted to make more of an action film or a heist film than he wanted to make a comedy, and Jim Kouf – he was also the writer – I think that he shied away from the comedy of it, which is unfortunate because if we had gone that way I think the film would have been more satisfying."[3]

Home video[edit]

Disorganized Crime was originally released on VHS followed by a 1996 re-release and a laser disc format. It arrived on a single-disc DVD set on September 3, 2002. It was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 10, 2011 by Mill Creek Entertainment.


  1. ^ Ebert, Roger & Siskel, Gene Disorganized Crime[dead link] At the Movies (April 1989). Retrieved on 10-08-08.
  2. ^ James, Caryn Disorganized Crime (1989) The New York Times (April 14, 1989). Retrieved on 10-08-08.
  3. ^ Lou Diamond Phillips DVDEmpire.com (2003). Retrieved on 10-08-08.

External links[edit]