Oddball cop and tough guy, Jack Cates is the only survivor of a cop shooting and in hunting down the murderer collects Reggie Hammond from jail for 48 hours. Hammond is oddly motivated to help. The killer is searching for his stash of cash. Cates and Hammond who have the Black-white, cop-crook thing to work out make surprisingly good partners as they navigate through the city looking for their suspect.
48 Hrs. is a 1982 American action comedy film directed by Walter Hill, starring Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy (in his film debut and Golden Globe Award-nominated role) as a cop and convict, respectively, who team up to catch a cop-killer. The title refers to the amount of time they have to solve the crime. It is Joel Silver’s first film as a film producer. The screenplay was written by Hill, Roger Spottiswoode, Larry Gross, Steven E. de Souza, and Jeb Stuart.
It is often credited as being the first film in the “buddy cop” genre, which included the subsequent films Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, and Rush Hour. A sequel, Another 48 Hrs., was released on June 8, 1990.
About the Story
Convicted thief Albert Ganz is working as part of a road gang in California, when a big Native American man named Billy Bear drives up in a pickup truck and asks for water to cool off his truck’s overheating radiator. Ganz and Billy exchange insults and proceed to stage a fight with each other, wrestling in a river, and when the guards try to break up the fight, Billy slips a gun to Ganz, and Billy and Ganz kill two of the three guards and flee the scene.
Two days later, Ganz and Billy kill Henry Wong (John Hauk), an associate of theirs. Later that same day, Inspector Jack Cates of the San Francisco Police Department’s criminal investigation bureau joins two of his friends and co-workers Detective Algren and Detective Van Zant at the Walden Hotel to check out a man named G.P. Polson, who is in room 27. Jack waits downstairs while Algren and Van Zant head to room 27, where it turns out that G.P. Polson is Ganz. He kills Van Zant and Algren, and escapes with Billy, taking Jack’s revolver.
The police station issues Jack a new pistol and fellow cop Ben Kehoe tells Jack about Ganz’s former partner Reggie Hammond, who is in prison with 6 months to go on a three-year sentence for armed robbery. Jack manages to work alone in the search for Ganz and then visits Reggie at the prison. Jack gets Reggie a 48-hour leave from the prison so Reggie can help Jack find Ganz and Billy.
Reggie leads Jack to an apartment where Ganz’s last remaining associate Luther lives. When Jack looks around, Luther shoots at him and refuses to be interrogated, so Jack puts him in jail. That night, Reggie leads Jack to Torchy’s, a redneck hangout where Billy used to be a bartender. Reggie, on a challenge from Jack, shakes the bar down, single-handedly bringing the crowd under his control. They get a lead on Billy’s old girlfriend, but this also leads nowhere, as the girlfriend says she threw Billy out.
Reggie confesses that he, Ganz, Billy Bear, Luther and Wong had robbed a drug dealer of $500,000 some years earlier and that the money was (and remains) stashed in the trunk of Reggie’s car in a downtown parking garage. Instead of splitting the money, Ganz sold Reggie out, resulting in his incarceration. It was also the reason why Ganz and Billy took Luther’s girlfriend Rosalie: they wanted Luther to get Reggie’s money in exchange for her safe return.
48 Hours (1982)
Directed by: Walter Hill
Starring: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Annette O’Toole, Frank McRae, James Remar, David Patrick Kelly, Sonny Landham, Margot Rose, Denise Crosby
Screenplay by: Roger Spottiswoode, Walter Hill
Production Design by: John Vallone
Cinematography by: Ric Waite
Film Editing by: Freeman A. Davies, Mark Warner, Billy Weber
Costume Design by: Marilyn Vance
Set Decoration by: Richard C. Goddard
Music by: James Horner
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: December 8, 1982