8 Million Ways to Die (1986)

8 Million Ways to Die (1986)

Taglines: There Are Eight Million Stories In The Naked City…

Scudder is a detective with the Sheriff’s Department who is forced to shoot a violent suspect during a narcotics raid. The ensuing psychological aftermath of this shooting worsens his drinking problem and this alcoholism causes him to lose his job, as well as his marriage. During his recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous, he meets a mysterious stranger who draws him back into a world of vice. In trying to help this beautiful woman, he must enter a crime-world of prostitution and drugs to solve a murder, while resisting the temptation to return to his alcohol abuse.

8 Million Ways to Die is a 1986 American crime film. This was the final film directed by Hal Ashby, and the first attempt to adapt the Matthew Scudder detective stories of Lawrence Block for the screen. The screenplay was written by Oliver Stone, an uncredited Robert Towne and David Lee Henry (R. Lance Hill using a pseudonym). The film starred Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, and, in a leading role for the first time, Andy Garcia.

8 Million Ways to Die (1986)

About the Story

An alcoholic Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy, Matt Scudder (Bridges), takes part in a drug bust that results in his fatal shooting of a small-time dealer in front of the man’s wife and kids. Scudder ends up in a drunk ward, suffering from booze and blackouts, ending his career, his marriage, and jeopardizing his relationship with his daughter.

After an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a woman hands Scudder a note, which invites him to a private gambling club on a hill, accessible only by a funicular, owned by Chance Walker (Randy Brooks). At the club, Scudder is greeted by a call girl named Sunny (Alexandra Paul) who pretends that he is her boyfriend. He also meets Angel Moldonado (Garcia), who places large wagers with Chance and is infatuated with another call girl there, Sarah (Arquette).

Bewildered by Sunny’s behavior, Scudder ends up back at his place, where after a failed attempt to seduce him, Sunny explains that she is frightened and needs help. After she pays him $5,000, Scudder offers Chance $2,500 to allow Sunny to quit prostitution. An insulted Chance insists that all he does is run the club, paying the girls a flat salary to attend his parties. Any prostitution they do is up to them.

Sunny is kidnapped in front of Scudder and, during a chase, is murdered and thrown off a bridge. Scudder goes on a binge and wakes up in a drunk ward several days later. It transpires that he gave statements to detectives before getting drunk that have implicated himself and Chance in the murder. At the club, Moldonado wears a ring with an emerald that matched the missing jewel in a necklace that Sunny owned. Convinced now that Moldonado is her killer, Scudder persuades Sarah to leave the club with him, as a jealous Moldonado looks on. Sarah fails to get Scudder to drink with her, then tries to initiate sex but is too drunk and vomits on his bed.

8 Million Ways to Die Movie Poster (1986)

8 Million Ways to Die (1986)

Directed by: Hal Ashby
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Alexandra Paul, Randy Brooks, Andy Garcia, Lisa Sloan, Christa Denton, Vance Valencia
Screenplay by: Oliver Stone
Production Design by: Michael D. Haller
Cinematography by: Stephen H. Burum
Film Editing by: Robert Lawrence, Stuart H. Pappé
Costume Design by: Gloria Gresham
Set Decoration by: Barbara Krieger, John T. Walker
Art Direction by: Mark W. Mansbridge
Music by: James Newton Howard
Distributed by: PSO International, TriStar Pictures
Release Date: April 25, 1986