Bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro) is sent to find and return bail jumper and former Mafia accountant, Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin). The FBI has had no success in locating The Duke, so when Jack finds him in next to no time, they are a little embarrassed. In order to collect his $100,000 fee, Jack must take The Duke from New York to Los Angeles. However, the Mafia and the FBI have other ideas, as does Marvin Dorfler (John Ashton), a rival bounty hunter. On their long cross-country trip to LA, the two get to know each other and they build up a strange friendship.
Midnight Run is a 1988 American action comedy film directed by Martin Brest and starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, Wendy Phillips, Danielle DuClos, Philip Baker Hall play supporting roles.
A critical and commercial success, the film was followed by three made for television sequels in 1994, which did not feature any of the principal actors, although a few characters are carried over from the first film.
About the Story
Bounty hunter Jack Walsh (De Niro) is enlisted by bail bondsman Eddie Moscone (Pantoliano) to bring accountant Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas (Grodin) back to L.A. The accountant had embezzled $15 million from Chicago mob boss Jimmy Serrano (Farina) before skipping the $450,000 bail Moscone has posted for him. Walsh must bring Mardukas back within five days, or Moscone defaults.
Moscone says the job is easy, a “midnight run,” but Walsh demands $100,000. Walsh is then approached by FBI Agent Alonzo Mosely (Kotto), who wants Mardukas to be a witness against Serrano and orders Walsh to keep away from Mardukas. Walsh takes no notice of this and instead steals Mosely’s ID, which he uses to pass himself off as an FBI agent along his journey. Serrano’s henchmen Tony (Richard Foronjy) and Joey (Miranda) offer Walsh $1 million to turn Mardukas over to them, but he turns them down.
Walsh captures Mardukas in New York and calls Moscone from the airport, not knowing that Moscone’s line is tapped by the FBI and that his assistant Jerry (Jack Kehoe) is secretly tipping off Serrano’s men. However, Mardukas fakes a panic attack on the plane, forcing the two men to travel via train. When Walsh and Mardukas fail to show up in Los Angeles on time, Moscone brings in rival bounty hunter Marvin Dorfler (Ashton) to find them. Dorfler tracks them to the train and attempts to take The Duke from Walsh, but Walsh gets the drop on him and leaves the train. However, he discovers when he attempts to purchase bus tickets with a credit card that Dorfler canceled the card.
Without funds, he is forced to rely on other means to get across the country, including stealing cars, borrowing his ex-wife’s (Wendy Phillips) car in Chicago, and hitchhiking. Meanwhile, word of the skirmish on the train reaches Mosely’s ears and he leads a task force to find Walsh and Mardukas.
Mardukas tries to get to know Walsh, who eventually reveals that, 10 years before, he was an undercover officer in Chicago trying to get close to a drug dealer who had almost the entire police force on his payroll. Eventually, just as Jack was going to bust the drug dealer, he had heroin planted in his house by the corrupt cops.
In order to avoid prison and working for the dealer, Walsh resigned from the force, left Chicago and became a bounty hunter, while his wife divorced him and married the corrupt lieutenant who had fired him. Since then, however, Walsh has clung to the vain hope that he will one day be reunited with his ex-wife. Later, Mardukas learns that the drug dealer was Serrano himself.
Midnight Run (1988)
Directed by: Martin Brest
Starring: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano, Wendy Phillips, Danielle DuClos, Philip Baker Hall
Screenplay by: George Gallo
Production Design by: Angelo P. Graham
Cinematography by: Donald E. Thorin
Film Editing by: Chris Lebenzon, Michael Tronick, Billy Weber
Costume Design by: Gloria Gresham
Set Decoration by: George R. Nelson
Art Direction by: James J. Murakami
Music by: Danny Elfman
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: July 20, 1988