Taglines: Sometimes love is the most dangerous game of all.
Terry Brogan, an aging football player in L.A., is cut early in the season; he needs money, so he takes a job from a shady friend of his, Jake Wise, to track down Wise’s girlfriend, Jessie, who’s somewhere in Mexico. She’s also the daughter of a very wealthy land developer, who owns Terry’s team. He heads for Cozumel, finds Jessie, and promptly falls in love with her. He thinks it’s mutual, then without warning, she heads back to L.A. and Jake. What’s going on with her, and what’s the connection between Jake’s hold on Jessie and the various politicians, lawyers, and environmentalists who seem to be converging on some sort of land deal? Terry keeps looking for answers.
Against All Odds is a 1984 romantic neo-noir thriller film, a remake of Out of the Past. The film was directed by Taylor Hackford and features Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, and James Woods. Supporting players include Jane Greer (who had starred in Out of the Past), Alex Karras, Richard Widmark, and Dorian Harewood. The film revolves around an aging American football star who is hired by a mobster to find his girlfriend.
The movie’s soundtrack, nominated for a Grammy Award, featured songs from Big Country, Kid Creole & the Coconuts, Stevie Nicks, and Genesis breakout stars Mike Rutherford, Peter Gabriel, and Phil Collins. Collins sang the title song, which was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Original Song and for a Golden Globe Award as Best Original Song, being one of the top-selling singles of 1984.
About the Story
Professional football player Terry Brogan (Jeff Bridges) is released by his team. Aging, injured and in need of money, he is contacted by an old acquaintance, the shady gambler and nightclub owner Jake Wise (James Woods), who wants Terry to find Jake’s girlfriend Jessie Wyler (Rachel Ward), daughter of the Outlaws’ owner. Jake claims that Jessie assaulted him, stole money and fled. Terry is reluctant to take on the job, but needs the money and knows Wise is capable of blackmailing him.
Terry gets in touch with Jessie’s mother (Jane Greer), ostensibly to find out where Jessie can be found, but mainly to convince Mrs. Wyler and her business partner Ben Caxton (Richard Widmark) to reinstate him on the team. Mrs. Wyler makes clear that she has no interest in his football career. She’s willing to pay him more than Jake would if he will find Jessie for her. Beyond that, she has no use for him. Hank Sully (Alex Karras), the team’s trainer, strongly advises Terry to stay away from Jake and offers to help Terry get a coaching job. Terry is convinced his days as a player are not over and instead decides to work for Jake to tide him over until the next season, when he can try to continue his playing career.
Terry finds Jessie living in Cozumel. He makes multiple attempts to approach Jessie, but she rebuffs him, aware that he must have been sent by either Jake or her mother. Terry tires of pursuing a spoiled brat and packs to leave, but Jessie appreciates that he hasn’t revealed her whereabouts and invites him to see where she is staying. They become lovers. Terry confides the leverage Jake has over him is the knowledge that Terry once shaved points in an important game after he had fallen into debt.
Terry and Jessie remain happily together for a few weeks, with Terry continuing to tell Jake he’s been unsuccessful in locating her. Sully is sent by Jake to investigate. He catches the lovers alone at the ruins of Chichen Itza. Wielding a gun, Sully demands that Terry turn over the girl and warns him she’s “no good.” He, too, has been involved in corruption with Jake’s sports syndicate. A struggle between the men ensues and Jessie fatally shoots Sully. She wants to flee, as the two will be unable to offer an explanation that will allow them to avoid jail. But when Terry refuses, insisting that the two cannot just run away from the matter, Jessie abandons him.
After disposing of Sully’s body, Terry returns to Los Angeles and finds to his astonishment that Jessie has returned to Jake. He is bitter toward her, but Jake maintains a hold over him with the point-shaving incident, as well as Sully’s sudden disappearance. Terry is sent to break into the office of Kirsch (Saul Rubinek), the team’s corrupt lawyer, who is also involved in Jake’s gambling operation. Terry’s mission is to retrieve Kirsch’s files, which implicate everyone involved.
Against All Odds (1984)
Directed by: Taylor Hackford
Starring: Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, James Woods, Alex Karras, Jane Greer, Richard Widmark, Dorian Harewood, Swoosie Kurtz, Pat Corley
Screenplay by: Eric Hughes, Daniel Mainwaring
Production Design by: Richard Lawrence
Cinematography by: Donald E. Thorin
Film Editing by: Fredric Steinkamp, William Steinkamp
Costume Design by: Michael Kaplan
Set Decoration by: Garrett Lewis
Music by: Larry Carlton, Michel Colombier
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: March 2, 1984