The Last Boy Scout

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The Last Boy Scout
Last boy scout.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tony Scott
Produced by
Screenplay by Shane Black
Story by
  • Shane Black
  • Greg Hicks
Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Ward Russell
Edited by
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • December 13, 1991 (1991-12-13)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $59.5 million[1]

The Last Boy Scout is a 1991 American action film directed by Tony Scott, starring Bruce Willis, Damon Wayans, Chelsea Field, Noble Willingham, Taylor Negron and Danielle Harris. The film was released in the United States on December 13, 1991.


During halftime of a televised professional football game, L.A. Stallions star running back Billy Cole (Billy Blanks) receives a phone call from someone named Milo (Taylor Negron), warning him to win the game at all costs, or "he's history". Cole ingests PCP and, in a drug-induced rage, brings a gun onto the field, shooting three opposing players to make it to the end zone. Cole then shoots himself in the head.

Private investigator Joe Hallenbeck (Bruce Willis), a disgraced former Secret Service agent who at one time was a national hero for saving the President from an assassination attempt, discovers that his wife Sarah (Chelsea Field) is having an affair with his best friend and sometime business partner, Mike Matthews (Bruce McGill). Hallenbeck's indifference frustrates his wife, who only did it to get his attention. Outside Joe's house, Mike is killed by a car bomb, after giving Joe an assignment to act as bodyguard for a stripper named Cory (Halle Berry).

At the bar where Cory works, Joe is approached by her boyfriend, former L.A. Stallions star quarterback James "Jimmy" Alexander Dix (Damon Wayans), who was banned from the league on gambling charges and allegations of drug abuse. After an argument where Joe and Jimmy scuffle, an annoyed Jimmy takes Cory from the stage while she is performing. Joe decides to wait outside, where he is knocked out by hitmen. Jimmy and Cory leave the bar in separate cars while Joe is escorted into an alley by one of the hitmen, who laughs at his jokes which enables Joe to kill him and escape. When Cory is hit from behind and stops to confront the other driver, she is shot dead by hitmen in the car. Jimmy is fired upon and pinned down, but is saved by Joe.

The next day at Cory's house, Jimmy and Joe find evidence of a phone conversation between the chairman of a Senate committee investigating gambling in sports, Sen. Calvin Baynard (Chelcie Ross), and L.A. Stallions team owner Sheldon "Shelly" Marcone (Noble Willingham). When the recorded evidence is ruined in Joe's faulty car stereo, Jimmy realizes that Cory tried using the evidence as leverage against Marcone to get his job back on the team, prompting Marcone to send the hitmen. Jimmy leaves to drive home in Cory's other car, but Joe correctly assumes Marcone had her other car wired to explode. Two hitmen arrive wanting the evidence Cory had, and Joe tricks them into blowing up the car, killing themselves, but also destroying the rest of the evidence. Joe reveals to Jimmy that when he was in the Secret Service, he was assigned to the Senator's protective detail. One night on duty he witnessed Baynard torturing a woman in a hotel room and assaulted Baynard to stop him, knocking out four of Baynard's teeth. Baynard would later have Joe kicked out of the Secret Service for refusing to cover up the incident. Joe and Jimmy then form an alliance to bring down Marcone.

Joe takes Jimmy home, where Jimmy meets Joe's abrasive daughter Darian (Danielle Harris). When Joe catches Jimmy attempting to use illegal painkillers in the bathroom, Joe kicks him out. As Jimmy leaves, Darian asks him to sign a football trading card. As he signs, she reveals that Joe had been a fan of his before he got busted, and ever since he was banned from the league, Joe has never watched another football game. He leaves her with the signed card, "To the daughter of the last Boy Scout."

The next morning the police, having learned of Mike's affair with Sarah, decide Joe must have killed Mike for revenge and move to arrest him. But Milo, Marcone's top henchman, captures Joe first, then shoots the cop who had come to arrest him using Joe's gun. Marcone explains to Joe that he intends to legalize sports gambling by buying votes and that Baynard holds the deciding vote in the matter. When Marcone also tried to buy his vote for this purpose, Baynard blackmailed Marcone, demanding $6 million or he would go to the police. Explaining it would be cheaper to kill the Senator, aware of Joe's history with him, Marcone informs Joe of his intention to frame him for Baynard's murder.

Joe is taken to a wooded area where he is photographed handing a briefcase containing money to Baynard's bodyguards. The money is then switched in the trunk with a wired briefcase. Joe is rescued by Jimmy and Darian and they manage to acquire both briefcases after running the bodyguards and Milo off the road; however, Milo survives and kidnaps Darian after Joe leaves her to wait for the police.

Heading to Marcone's stadium office to save Darian, they are caught and brought to Marcone's office, but Jimmy creates a diversion, allowing them to fight their way free. Knowing Milo will attempt to shoot Baynard, Joe goes after Milo while sending Jimmy to warn Baynard. Grabbing the game ball, Jimmy throws it at Baynard, knocking him down just as Milo starts shooting. Joe knocks Milo to the edge of the stadium light platform, where police shoot him several times, causing him to fall into the blades of a circling helicopter.

The suitcase of money is recovered and the fleeing Marcone, having escaped with the rigged briefcase, is killed when he opens it. The next day Joe and Sarah reconcile, and Joe and Jimmy decide to become partners. It is implied Baynard is finished.



The Last Boy Scout was filmed in 90 days between March 11 and June 9, 1991.[2]

The film had very troubled production. Producer Joel Silver and main actor Bruce Willis took over the production, altered much of Shane Black's original script and forced director Tony Scott to film scenes he disliked under threat of being fired. Silver mentioned in later interviews how making of The Last Boy Scout was one of the three worst experiences in his life, while Willis swore that he would never work with Silver again. In his next film, True Romance (1993), Scott parodied Silver. Although they play buddies in the film, Willis and Damon Wayans hated working with each other so much that they despised each other. Composer Michael Kamen hated the first cut of the film when he saw it, and he only agreed to compose music for it because of his personal ties to Willis and Silver. Editor Stuart Baird was brought in by Silver and Warner Bros. to completely re-edit the film since the original cut turned out to be a borderline unwatchable workprint. Baird did the same job with several other Warner Bros. films, including Tango & Cash (1989), which suffered even more problems during production.[3]


The film was nominated for two MTV Movie Awards.[4]

  • Best Action Sequence – For the helicopter blade sequence
  • Best On-Screen Duo – Bruce Willis & Damon Wayans


The film performed under expectations given the star power and hype surrounding the then record price paid for the screenplay by Shane Black ($1.75 million).[5]

Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, saying it was "a superb example of what it is: a glossy, skillful, cynical, smart, utterly corrupt and vilely misogynistic action thriller".[6] It has a 42% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Reviews were mixed, and some critics cited the Christmas time release for such a violent film as a reason for its somewhat underwhelming box office.[7][8][9][10] It grossed $7,923,669 in its opening weekend, and the total gross was $59,509,925.[11][12] Although the film was not a blockbuster, it helped Bruce Willis recover his star status after the disastrous Hudson Hawk, and both turned a profit at the box office and became hugely popular in the video rental market.[13][14]


The film's score was composed and conducted by Michael Kamen (who also scored Hudson Hawk that year), his only work for Tony Scott. Bill Medley performed the song "Friday Night's A Great Night For Football," written by Steve Dorff and John Bettis, on screen during the opening credits (the song is also reprised over the end titles); the song was released as a CD single by Curb Records.[15]

On August 25, 2015, La-La Land Records released a limited edition soundtrack album featuring most of Kamen's score, plus Medley's song.[16]


  1. ^ "The Last Boy Scout". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  2. ^ "Last Boy Scout, The (1991)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The films of Tony Scott: The Last Boy Scout". CBS News. Retrieved 2016-01-18. 
  5. ^ Adler, Leslie (1991-12-17). "Movie Studios Urgently Need Christmas Hits". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  6. ^ "The Last Boy Scout". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  7. ^ "The Last Boy Scout". Entertainment Weekly. 1992-01-10. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  8. ^ "The Last Boy Scout". Washington Post. 1991-12-13. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  9. ^ Last Boy Scout "The Last Boy Scout" Check |url= value (help). The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  10. ^ "The Last Boy Scout". Variety. 1990-12-31. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  11. ^ Fox, David J. (1991-12-23). "JFK, `Hook' Bring Out the Crowds `Hook' Stays Atop Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  12. ^ Fox, David J. (1991-12-17). "Weekend Box Office Holiday Sweepstakes Starts This Week". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  13. ^ Hunt, Dennis (1992-04-30). "Video Rental Chart : 'Last Boy Scout' Eyes First Place". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  14. ^ Hochman, Steve (1992-05-14). "Video Rental Chart : A 'Boy Scout' Unseats a 'King'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-02-03. 
  15. ^ ""Friday Night's A Great Night For Football"". 
  16. ^ "The Last Boy Scout album page on La-La Land". 

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