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Stone Cold (1991 film)

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Stone Cold
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCraig R. Baxley
Written byWalter Doniger
Produced byYoram Ben Ami
CinematographyAlexander Gruszynski
Edited byMark Helfrich
Music bySylvester Levay
Stone Group Pictures
Vision International
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • May 17, 1991 (1991-05-17)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[1]
Box office$9.1 million[2]

Stone Cold is a 1991 action film directed by Craig R. Baxley, starring American football star Brian Bosworth in his acting debut.[3][4][5][6] The film's story centers on a biker gang that tries to assassinate the district attorney and free one of their members who is on his trial for the murder. The film performed poorly at the box office, grossing $9 million on its $25 million budget.[1][2]


Joe Huff is an Alabama cop who has been suspended for excessive violence. After stopping a supermarket robbery, he is summoned by FBI agent Lance Dockery, who takes him to meet with special agent Frank Cunningham. Cunningham blackmails Joe by threatening to turn Joe's three-week suspension into six months without pay.

Cunningham wants Joe to go undercover in Mississippi and infiltrate "The Brotherhood", a white supremacist biker gang linked to the murders of government officials and suspected of dealing drugs to the mafia. The Brotherhood is led by Chains Cooper.

Joe goes undercover as "John Stone". Tasked with killing a man as his initiation, Joe enlists the FBI's help to fake the murder and is accepted into the Brotherhood. However, Chains's right-hand man, Ice Hensley, does not trust Joe and tries to expose him, leading to Ice's death in a high-speed motorcycle chase.

Joe learns that the Brotherhood's goal is to eliminate Brent "The Whip" Whipperton, a district attorney running for Governor of Mississippi, who has promised to crack down on crime. They plan to use stolen military weapons to storm the Supreme Court at the Mississippi State Capitol, where one of their own is on trial for murder, and assassinate Whipperton and the judges.

When Chains's girlfriend, Nancy, accidentally learns about Joe's identity, he offers her immunity if she cooperates with the FBI. Though reluctant at first, Nancy accepts his offer, but they are discovered when the man Joe had supposedly killed as an initiation returns. Chains shoots and kills Nancy, then straps a bomb to Joe's chest and has him tied up in a helicopter on its way to the Capitol.

Joe escapes and seizes control of the helicopter. Inside the courtroom, Chains retrieves a hidden automatic rifle and uses it to kill a government agent, two security officers, all of the justices and Whipperton.

Joe overpowers Chains and hands him over to the authorities. Chains frees himself and steals a revolver from an officer, aiming for Joe. However, Lance intervenes and shoots Chains twice, sending him tumbling over a railing to his death.

The film closes with Joe exiting the courthouse as SWAT officers storm the building.



The original cut of the film was given a rating of NC-17 because of the violence. In order to aim for an R rating, edits were made.[7] An uncut version was never released and no information about what was cut is known.

In a 2014 Q&A with an audience after a special 35mm screening of the film in Austin's Alamo Drafthouse, Brian Bosworth talked about how the original director (Bruce Malmuth) of the movie was fired due to some "personal issues that he couldn't control which poured out on set", and his firing caused all the original backstory (with the working title "Heart of Stone") for Bosworth's character to be removed and changed after Craig R. Baxley was hired to direct, which namely involved stunts, explosions and little else. About four weeks of filming were therefore spent on scenes with Bosworth's character and his family (wife, child, and sister), which in the end were completely removed, with $4 million being spent on production expenses due to the footage apparently being unusable.[8] Michael Douglas served as an uncredited producer, which kept Bosworth from leaving the film. Henriksen later stated that he wrote his own dialogue due to the original script had his character speak only in quotes from the Bible.[9]

Filming was done on location along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in and around Mobile, Alabama. The climactic scene was scheduled to be filmed at the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson. The location was changed to the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock, although it was still identified as the Mississippi Capitol. The change was made when the State Capitol Commission refused to allow producers to remove several trees on the Capitol grounds for filming. The officials at the Arkansas State Capitol apparently did not know about the stunts that would be done during filming, which involved a motorcycle getting launched into a helicopter.


The film garnered poor reviews from critics.[10][11][12][13][14] Rotten Tomatoes reports a positive score of 30% based on 10 reviews, with an average rating of 4.9/10.[15] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B+" on scale of A+ to F.[16] Brian Bosworth's performance in the film earned him a Razzie Award nomination for Worst New Star.

The film was a box office flop, drawing $2.8 million in its first week.[17] It eventually made $9 million domestically.[18]


  1. ^ a b Weinstein, Steve (1991-03-03). "MOVIES : The New Land of Boz : Football wasn't big enough for Brian Bozworth, says sports agent Gary Wichard, but Hollywood is just the ticket". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  2. ^ a b "Stone Cold (1991)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on July 13, 2018. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  3. ^ "The Boz Aims For Film Fame". Sun Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  4. ^ Bates, James (1991-06-10). "But Spell the Movie B-O-M-B". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  5. ^ Warren, James (1991-04-04). "Muscling in Brian Bosworth says it's time to retire Hollywood's over-the-hill gang". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  6. ^ "Hollywood's New Action Toys". New York Magazine. April 1991. Archived from the original on 2022-06-11. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  7. ^ Melzer, James (2023-06-03). "10 Long-Forgotten Action Movies from the 1990s". MovieWeb. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  8. ^ "Brian Bosworth is Not Stone-Hearted". The Austin Chronicles. 4 May 2014.
  9. ^ "10 Things You Didn't Know About Stone Cold". Bulletproof Action. 22 May 2023.
  10. ^ "Stone Cold". Entertainment Weekly. 1991-05-31. Archived from the original on 2010-01-09. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  11. ^ "Stone Cold". Washington Post. 1991-05-21. Archived from the original on 2012-11-11. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  12. ^ Holden, Stephen (1991-05-18). "Review/Film; A Football Star's Debut With Drug-Dealing Bikers". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  13. ^ Wilmington, Michael (1991-05-20). "MOVIE REVIEWS It's a Bad, Bad, Bad Movie as Boz Busts Up Bad Boy Bikers". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  14. ^ Florence, Mal (1991-05-28). "He's on Different Stage, Reviews Are the Same". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  15. ^ "Stone Cold (1991) Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 7 October 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2024.
  16. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  17. ^ O'Neil, Danny (2010-08-14). "The search for Brian Bosworth". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  18. ^ Meyers, Kate (1996-07-26). "No Boz Like Show Boz". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2010-12-20.

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