Tougher Than Leather (film)

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Tougher Than Leather
Tougher Than Leather (film).jpg
Movie poster
Directed byRick Rubin
Written byRick Rubin
Ric Menello
Produced byVincent Giordano
Music byRun–D.M.C.
Beastie Boys
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release date
  • September 16, 1988 (1988-09-16) (NYC)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$3,546,846[1]

Tougher Than Leather is an American film released in 1988 and distributed by New Line Cinema. The film was directed by Rick Rubin and stars the hip-hop group Run–D.M.C. They created the film to coincide with the release of their fourth studio album also titled Tougher Than Leather.


At the beginning of the film, D.M.C. is released from prison, at which time he returns to New York City with his band-mates, Run and Jam Master Jay. They are ready to schedule some gigs and kick-start their musical careers when things take a dark turn. Their friend Runny Ray, played by Raymond White, has been murdered by Vic Ferrante (Rick Rubin); this pulls the group into a seedy world of crime and violence. Vic and the police cover up the murder to look like Ray died from drugs. As the band members attempt to determine who is responsible for the murder, their own lives become endangered. They take matters into their own hands trying to find Ray's killer. However, the action is balanced with a series of musical performances by the stars and other late 1980s hip-hop stars including Slick Rick and Beastie Boys.


Critical reaction and release[edit]

While the music usually garners a favorable response, critics generally panned the film. According to The Washington Post, the film is "vile, vicious, despicable, stupid, sexist, racist and horrendously made."[2] It was also described as "poorly executed and exploitative fare."[3] It carried a 43% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.[4]

The film failed at the box office, but was released on VHS. It is now out of print.

Connections to Blaxploitation[edit]

In response to the negative reactions to the film, critics like Randall Clark have pointed out the many connections between the movie and the history of the "Blaxploitation" genre. Much like earlier films such as Shaft and Black Samson, the plot features inner-city anti-heroes who need to take the law into their own hands as they have been neglected by the more traditional avenues of justice.[5]


  1. ^ Tougher Than Leather at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Harrington, Richard. "Tougher Than Leather". Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  3. ^ Videohound. Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever. Jim Craddock, Ed. Detroit, New York, San Francisco, New Haven, Waterville, and London: Gale Gengage Learning (2009), 1021. Paperback ISBN 1-4144-2218-0.
  4. ^ "Tougher Than Leather". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  5. ^ Clark, Randall. At a Drive-In Near You. London: Routledge (1992), 162. Paperback ISBN 0-8153-1951-7

External links[edit]