Taglines: Where enemies are made, reputations are earned and love is the most risky affair of all.
At the start of his senior year in high school, Morgan’s father has lost his company, so the family moves from Connecticut, where they’ve been in the yacht club, to an apartment in the San Fernando Valley. Morgan has grown up in the shadow of his high-achieving older brother, and he seems to have a knack for getting into trouble.
He also has a stubborn streak, so when he finds himself attracted to Frankie, the girlfriend of the leader of a local gang of youthful thugs, he can’t stop himself from pushing her for a relationship. The thug thinks of Frankie as his property and sees the cool, urbane Morgan as dead meat. Is this a struggle to the death?
Tuff Turf is a 1985 American drama film starring James Spader, Kim Richards, Paul Mones, Matt Clark, Claudette Nevins, Robert Downey Jr., Olivia Barash and Panchito Gómez. The film was released in the United States on January 11, 1985.
About the Story
Morgan Hiller explores the streets of his new neighborhood in Reseda, California on his bicycle. Nearby, Frankie Croyden flirts with a businessman waiting at a bus stop. She asks the man for change, and he pulls out a money clip full of cash to oblige. As they make small talk, Frankie’s boyfriend, Nick Hauser and his gang (who’ve been loitering at a nearby newsstand) move in to mug the man. While the mugging is taking place, Morgan rides straight through the middle of it on his bicycle and foils the robbery.
The next day is the first day at a new school for Morgan. Nick, still upset about the foiled robbery the night before, notices Morgan as the gang loiters in the school parking lot before class. Morgan goes to the principal’s office to register, where the principal informs him that he won’t stand for any trouble from him. Jimmy Parker, a drummer in the local band Tail from the Crypt, has already caught word of Nick’s intention to get back at Morgan for interfering in his business the night before. Jimmy asks his friend Feather for her blade. In history class, Jimmy is seated behind Morgan and gives Morgan the switchblade, in order to protect himself from Nick.
After school, Jimmy invites Morgan to see his band that night at a warehouse. Morgan then sees Nick riding his bicycle with Frankie on the handlebars. Morgan goes to get his bike back from the gang in the parking lot. Nick lays the bike down, and Morgan picks it up, but before he can leave, a gang member drives his car straight at Morgan, destroying his bike. Back at home, Morgan argues with his mother after she walks into his room and sees his mangled bike. Frustrated, Morgan leaves to go see Jimmy’s band. While on his walk there, he sees a Porsche convertible, with the keys in the ignition, which he drives to the warehouse.
At the warehouse, Morgan hangs out with the band in between sets. He sees Frankie, grabs her and starts dancing with her, asking what her name is. She refuses to say and asks to be let go. Nick and his gang show up at the warehouse and see Frankie dancing with Morgan. Nick and his goons catch Morgan as he tries to get in the Porsche to leave. Nick threatens him not to ever go near Frankie again; they beat Morgan up and take the keys to the Porsche. Jimmy runs outside to find Morgan on the ground and asks if he’s alright. As Nick and the gang are tearing up the streets in the Porsche they took from Morgan, they get pulled over and arrested for driving a stolen vehicle and thrown in jail.
The next day, Morgan finds a dead rat in his locker at school, and is confronted by Frankie who tells him he’s in big trouble when Nick gets out of jail. After school, Morgan is waiting at a bus stop and sees Nick’s car. With the car chasing him, he runs down an alley where he is trapped. He tries to jump a fence but falls to the ground. Much to his surprise it is Jimmy who is driving the car. Morgan and Jimmy cruise the streets in Nick’s car.
They spot Frankie, Ronnie, and Feather at a local burger joint and pull over. Thinking Nick is out of jail, Frankie grabs Ronnie and runs to the car to get in. Morgan, Jimmy and the girls drive around L.A. and through Beverly Hills and sneak into a country club party to have lunch. When the cover band takes a break, Morgan plays piano and sings Frankie a song.
Tuff Turf (1985)
Directed by: Fritz Kiersch
Starring: James Spader, Kim Richards, Paul Mones, Matt Clark, Claudette Nevins, Robert Downey Jr., Olivia Barash, Panchito Gómez
Screenplay by: Jette Rinck
Cinematography by: Willy Kurant
Film Editing by: Marc Grossman
Costume Design by: Kathie Clark
Set Decoration by: Anne Kuljian
Art Direction by: Craig Stearns
Music by: Jonathan Elias
Distributed by: New World Pictures
Release Date: January 11, 1985