Cult Movie Essentials

Cult Movie Essentials: Tough Guys (1986)

In this fish out of water classic written by James Cruikshank and James Orr, director Jeff Kanew brings us Burt Lancaster and Kirk D0uglas in a movie that holds a mirror up to their time in the Hollywood spotlight. Lancaster plays Harry Doyle (Burt Lancaster) with Douglas as Archie Long – two gangsters who have served a 30-year prison sentence for hijacking a Southern Pacific train called The Gold Coast Flyer. Upon their release they meet their parole officer, Richie Evans (Dana Carvey) – a fanboy of historically notable criminals whilst also lurking is elderly hit man Leon B. Little (Eli Wallach), who has been waiting thirty years to collect on an outstanding contract on them!

Both Harry and Archie are in shock at how much they world of 1986 differs from what they left in 1956 in one situation they discover their old bar is now an openly gay-mens’ club. Later Harry and Archie stop a bank robbery by taking down the two young armed gunmen one of whom faints when un-armed Harry and Archie turn the tables on them. Then, outnumbered 3-to-one the two old tough guys trash six young street punks trying to rob them.

Fed up with trying to fit in, Harry and Archie soon go back to their old ways. First they try to rob a bank with members of their old gang, but all are now either crippled, invalids or dead. Then they hijack an armoured truck, only to find it empty except for a roll of quarters. When the media mock them for their blunder and mistake them for younger men in masks, Archie decides to hijack the Gold Coast Flyer again as it makes its final southbound run. Harry refuses, but Archie decides to do it anyway with or without his help…

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