The Hit (1984 film)

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The Hit
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Frears
Produced by Jeremy Thomas
Written by Peter Prince
Starring Terence Stamp
John Hurt
Tim Roth
Laura del Sol
Bill Hunter
Music by Paco de Lucía
Title theme:
Roger Waters
Eric Clapton
Cinematography Mike Molloy
Edited by Mick Audsley
Distributed by Palace Pictures
Release dates
  • 12 September 1984 (1984-09-12) (Toronto)
  • 8 March 1985 (1985-03-08) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $876,775[2]

The Hit is a 1984 British road crime film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Hurt, Terence Stamp, Laura del Sol and Tim Roth. The film was Stamp's first starring role in over a decade and Roth won an Evening Standard award as an apprentice hit man.

The title music is provided by Roger Waters and Eric Clapton.[3] Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia performed the soundtrack music. The film was released on DVD by The Criterion Collection in April 2009.


London gangster Willie Parker (Terence Stamp) gives evidence against his criminal compatriots in return for a very generous offer from the police. Ten years later, Parker lives in comfortable retirement in Spain until four Spanish youths kidnap him and deliver him to two hit men hired by the kingpin that Parker helped put away. In the course of the kidnapping they also murder a Spanish policeman who has been assigned to guard Parker. At least three of the youths are then killed by a bomb in a briefcase handed to them by Braddock, the older of the hit men (John Hurt), pretending that it contains their payoff money.

Braddock is a world-weary professional killer, while Myron (Tim Roth) is his hot-blooded apprentice. Parker quickly adopts a carefree demeanour, claiming that he's had ten years to accept death as a simple part of life. He follows Braddock and Myron to a safe house in Madrid, where they are surprised to find Harry, an Australian gangster and acquaintance of Braddock, squatting there with his young Spanish girlfriend Maggie. Parker intentionally reveals his identity to Harry, ultimately forcing the hit men to kill Harry and kidnap Maggie. The group heads toward the French border intending to reach Paris, where the kingpin against whom Parker testified is waiting for his arrival. All the while, Parker sows discord between the two hit men, causing a number of violent incidents that keep the police hot on their trail. A senior police inspector (Fernando Rey) follows the trail of bodies.

While stopping at a roadside bar, Myron is laughed at by some men while he is ordering beers, so he beats them up. Myron has developed a fondness for Maggie and begins protecting her from Braddock, who has several violent confrontations with her behind Myron's back. Braddock takes Maggie with him to get petrol for the car. Maggie tries to alert the station attendant to her plight, resulting in Braddock shooting the attendant dead. They return to find Myron has fallen asleep and allowed Parker to slip away. Braddock finds him gazing at a waterfall and confronts him about his lack of concern over his impending death. Parker reminds Braddock that death is inevitable for all and quotes John Donne's poem "Death Be Not Proud".

The next day, Braddock drives to an isolated hillside and announces that he's scrapped the plans to go to Paris. Suddenly afraid, Parker insists that he can't die until he goes to Paris. Braddock levels a pistol at him and shoots him in the back as he flees. He then turns the pistol on Myron and kills him. Maggie surprises him and they wrestle over the gun. During the struggle, Braddock fires the last shot into the air and knocks Maggie unconscious; without bullets, he lets Maggie live and flees into the wilderness.

The police locate Maggie and the two bodies. As Braddock attempts to cross the Spanish-French border by foot, Maggie identifies him to the police, who fatally shoot him as he runs. The police attempt to question the dying Braddock but he only winks at Maggie before he dies.



At review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film is certified "fresh" with an overall approval rating of 86% as of April 2013.[4]

Wes Anderson ranked it the fifth best British film.[5]


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