Wanted: Dead or Alive (1987 film)

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Wanted: Dead or Alive
Wanted doa poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGary Sherman
Produced byRobert C. Peters
Written by
  • Michael Patrick Goodman
  • Brian Taggert
  • Gary Sherman
Music byJoe Renzetti
CinematographyAlex Nepomniaschy
Edited byRoss Albert
Distributed byNew World Pictures
Release date
  • January 16, 1987 (1987-01-16) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$4,500,000 (US)[1]
Box office$7,555,000 (US)

Wanted: Dead or Alive is a 1987 action film directed by Gary Sherman and starring Rutger Hauer as Nick Randall, the descendant of the character Josh Randall, played by Steve McQueen in the 1958 television series of the same title.[1]


Nick Randall is a Los Angeles-based bounty hunter and ex-CIA operative who is asked by a former co-worker to help track down terrorist Malak Al Rahim, who bombed a movie theatre and later planned to release gas from a chemical plant similar to the Bhopal disaster. However, Al Rahim is also looking for Randall, and Randall's employers tell him where to find him. This results in the death of his best friend, Sgt. Danny Quintz, and his girlfriend Terry, eventually forcing a showdown on the waterfront.

In the end, Randall brings out Al Rahim handcuffed with a grenade jammed in his mouth. Randall explains to his bosses that they should send his payment to Quintz's family and he will keep the extra bonus for bringing him in alive. As he starts to leave, he says, "fuck the bonus" and pulls out the grenade pin. Al Rahim's head is blown off and his decapitated body falls to the ground.




Rutger Hauer was cast as Nick Randall, the grandson of Josh Randall (Steve McQueen) from the 1958 television series of the same title.[2] Gene Simmons was given second billing as Malak Al Rahim.[3] Robert Guillaume was cast as Philmore Walker.[4] Mel Harris was cast as Terry.[5] William Russ, Susan MacDonald, Jerry Hardin, Hugh Gillin, Robert Harper, Eli Danker, Joseph Nasser, Suzanne Wouk, Gerald Papasyan, Nick Faltas, and Hammam Shafie round out the cast.[6]


Critical response[edit]

Wanted Dead or Alive received generally negative reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 30% based on 10 reviews, with an average rating of 4.19/10. The site does not give a consensus for the film.[7]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote in her review: "WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE was a 1958 television series starring Steve McQueen. It has now, in the process of becoming a feature film, lost its colon, and that's not the half of it. Even to those of us who have become more or less used to the cultural cannibalism that passes for inventiveness these days, the film Wanted Dead or Alive, which opens today at the National and other theaters, will seem outstandingly unnecessary. It's not that the television show was sacrosanct; all it really had to recommend it was Mr. McQueen. It's just that producers wanting to make another latter-day urban Rambo should at least be expected to come up with something of their own."[5]

Dave Kehr of the Chicago Tribune wrote in his review: "There are a fair number of people in this world--probably the majority --who wouldn't want to admit that anything as broad as a low-budget action movie could possibly fall under the category of good. But for those who can, Gary Sherman's Wanted Dead or Alive is worth checking out. It's a superior product in a genre that has seen some mighty hard times of late. Not that Sherman brings so many personal shadings to his direction that he tips the film over into the realm of art--as a director like Don Siegel could do with such movies as The Killers and Madigan. Sherman stays fairly close to the surface of his material, but in his hands, it's a brightly polished surface. His work is smooth, efficient and handsome."[8]


Wanted Dead or Alive was released in theatres on January 16, 1987.[1][5] The film was released on VHS on July 28, 1994, by Anchor Bay Entertainment.[9] Wanted Dead or Alive was released on DVD May 8, 2001, by Starz Home Entertainment / Anchor Bay Entertainment.[10][11] The film was released as a double feature with Death Before Dishonor on December 7, 2011, by Starz Home Entertainment / Anchor Bay Entertainment.[12]



  1. ^ a b c Harmetz, Aljean (February 21, 1987). "Will Colorizing Revitalize Old TV Series". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 4, 2019. In Wanted: Dead or Alive, New World turned the character played by Steve McQueen, a bounty hunter roaming the western United States 100 years ago, into a bounty hunter as special agent for hire in 1987. Terrorists were the bounty Rutger Hauer hunted in the $4.5 million film.
  2. ^ Sue Matheson, ed. (2017). A Fistful of Icons: Essays on Frontier Fixtures of the American Western. New York City: McFarland and Company. ISBN 978-0786498048.
  3. ^ Weiss 2016, p. 202.
  4. ^ Guillaume & Ritz 2002, p. 208.
  5. ^ a b c Maslin, Janet (January 16, 1987). "SCREEN: A TV SPINOFF, 'WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE'". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  6. ^ Goldberg, Lee (2015). Television Fast Forward: Sequels & Remakes of Cancelled Series 1955-1992. Scotts Valley, California: CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1511590761.
  7. ^ "Wanted Dead or Alive". Rotten Tomatoes. United States: Fandango. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  8. ^ Kehr, Dave (January 16, 1987). "FOR ITS GENRE, 'WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE' ON TARGET". Chicago Tribune. Chicago: Tribune Publishing. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  9. ^ Sherman, Gary (July 28, 1994). Wanted Dead or Alive. Anchor Bay Entertainment. Beverly Hills, California: Anchor Bay Films. ASIN 6303265812. Retrieved August 11, 2019.CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)
  10. ^ Sherman, Gary (May 8, 2001). Wanted Dead or Alive. Starz Home Entertainment / Anchor Bay Entertainment. Burbank, California / Beverly Hills, California: Anchor Bay Films. ASIN B000059PPI. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Tribbey, Ralph (April 5, 2001). "DVD NEWS BRIEFS: Anchor Bay in May; Aguilera on DVD; Koch's VaultKoch's Vault". hive4media.com. Archived from the original on April 18, 2001. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  12. ^ Sherman, Gary (December 7, 2011). Wanted Dead or Alive. Starz Home Entertainment / Anchor Bay Entertainment. Burbank, California / Beverly Hills, California: Anchor Bay Films. ASIN B000WC38DC. Retrieved August 11, 2019.


External links[edit]