Malone (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Harley Cokeliss
Produced by Leo L. Fuchs
Screenplay by Christopher Frank
Rudy Wurlitzer (uncredited)
Based on Shotgun by William P. Wingate
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Gerald Hirschfeld
Edited by Todd Ramsay
Orion Pictures Corporation
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release date
May 1, 1987
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million
Box office $3,060,858

Malone is a 1987 American action thriller film starring Burt Reynolds in the eponymous role alongside Cliff Robertson, Cynthia Gibb, Lauren Hutton, Scott Wilson, and Kenneth McMillan. It is an adaptation of William P. Wingate's novel Shotgun, written by Christopher Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer, and directed by Harley Cokeliss.


A floatplane navigates through the Pacific Northwest, landing in Puget Sound. As the well-dressed passenger emerges, CIA covert operations officer Richard Malone targets him in his crosshairs, but he is unable to pull the trigger. He tells his CIA control officer Jaime that he has reached his limit and is quitting the agency. He burns his Maryland driver's license and heads inland. His Ford Mustang breaks down in a rural Oregon valley. Malone pushes it to a gas station and garage owned by Paul Barlow, who runs the station with his 17-year-old daughter Jo. Barlow suggests the fastest way to repair the car is to tow it 60 miles to a larger service station. Malone opts to wait for the necessary parts to arrive. Paul invites Malone to stay in the spare room. Malone and Paul become friends as they discuss their respective military service in the Vietnam War.

Jo snoops through Malone's possessions, finding a pistol. Malone helps Paul with his repair work and sizes up the town, which is under the thumb of Charles Delaney, who buys up all the property he can and forces people to sell if they first refuse. Delaney is a wealthy white ultra-nationalist who runs a right-wing terrorist group. A group of Delaney's thugs harass Malone and Jo on a bridge and refuse to let them pass. Malone defends himself when he is attacked. He severely beats the ringleader, Dan Bollard, sending him to the hospital. Dan's brother, Calvin, is goaded into killing Malone by Delaney's main henchman Madrid. Calvin tries to shoot Malone at the local barber shop but Malone shoots and kills Calvin instead.

While Sheriff Hawkins is holding Malone at the jail, Delaney breezes in to introduce himself. Delaney tells the sheriff to let him go, then orders Madrid to arrange a hit on Malone. The next day, two hitmen come to the service station. Malone kills both with a shotgun that he had concealed in his room. Malone is badly wounded in the shootout. Hawkins instructs a deputy to drive Malone to the hospital. The deputy drives offroad, with Malone bouncing in the back seat. Realizing that the deputy is trying to kill him, Malone grabs the wheel and crashes the car.

In the hospital, Malone's CIA handler Jamie arrives to ferry him to safety. They hole up together in a safe house and rekindle their romance. When Malone goes to pick up his car from the Barlows, Madrid leads an attack on the safe house. Jaime shoots one of the attackers but is captured by Madrid and his thugs. Madrid tortures Jamie to find out where Malone is located. She refuses to break and Madrid kills Jamie by suffocating her with a plastic bag. Malone returns to find Jaime's body with the bag still around her head. An angry Malone soon infiltrates Delaney's sprawling compound, killing the henchmen including Madrid to avenge Jamie's death. Delaney retreats to his secret command center, where he tells Malone that he is part of a vast conspiracy of like-minded "patriots" who are buying up land and electing Congressmen to retake the country from "mongrels." Malone proceeds to kill Delaney and blow up his compound, then walks away, burning his Commonwealth of Virginia driver's license.



Reynolds was paid $3 million for the role. He said at the time:

I was attracted to Malone because I thought there was a chance the movie might be more than a guy running away from his past. Let's be honest. The film is Shane. I am an ex-CIA man whose car breaks down in a small town who then gets close to a family and attempts to battle a Lyndon LaRouche character played by Cliff [Robertson]. I'm not doing Clint in Pale Rider. There's a little bit of Stallone from First Blood in this, but I'm not playing the damaged-goods-guy Sly became in Rambo. Just to show you how movies change, Gérard Depardieu and Christopher Lambert at one point were going to play Malone. I wonder how this guy got rewritten into me.[1]


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