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Eureka is a 1983 British-American drama film directed by Nicolas Roeg. It is the story of a Klondike prospector, Jack McCann (Gene Hackman) who strikes it rich, yet ends up fearing that his daughter Tracy (Theresa Russell) and his son-in-law (Rutger Hauer) are scheming to take his wealth and his soul; moreover, greedy investors (Joe Pesci and Mickey Rourke) are also hunting McCann's fortune.

Eureka (1983).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNicolas Roeg
Produced byJeremy Thomas
Written byPaul Mayersberg
Based onWho Killed Sir Harry Oakes? by Marshall Houts
StarringGene Hackman
Theresa Russell
Rutger Hauer
Mickey Rourke
Joe Pesci
Music byStanley Myers
CinematographyAlex Thomson
Recorded Picture Company
JF Productions
Sunley Productions
Distributed byMGM/UA Entertainment Company
Release date
May 1983 (UK)
October 5, 1984 (USA)
Running time
130 minutes
Box office$123,572

Eureka is loosely based on the true murder of Sir Harry Oakes in the Bahamas in 1943.[1]



Arctic prospector Jack McCann (Gene Hackman), after 15 years of solitary searching, becomes one of the world's wealthiest men when he literally falls into a mountain of gold in 1925. Twenty years later in 1945, he lives in luxury on a Caribbean island that he owns. But his wealth brings him no peace of mind as he copes with Helen (Jane Lapotaire), his bored, alcoholic wife; Tracy (Theresa Russell), his headstrong daughter who has married Claude Van Horn (Rutger Hauer) a dissolute, philandering social-climber; his paranoid assistant Charles Perkins (Ed Lauter); and Miami mobsters led by Aurelio D'Amato (Mickey Rourke) sent by Mayakofsky (Joe Pesci), who want his island to build a casino. His life is entangled with the obsessions of those around him with greed, power, and debauchery against a background of occult symbolism.

When Jack is brutally murdered by unseen mob associates, his son-in-law, Claude, is arrested for the crime and put on trial, which takes place during most of the second part of the film. With circumstantial evidence and due to Jack's long list of enemies, the prosecution fails to prove its case against Claude, and he is acquitted. Claude leaves the island with Tracy shortly thereafter, and Jack McCann's murder remains unsolved.



Film critic and film maker Mark Cousins put Eureka in his top ten favorite films in the Sight & Sound Greatest Films poll 2012[2] and has called the film a "masterpiece".[3] Danny Boyle classified this film as underrated.[citation needed]

The film's title was used by musician Jim O'Rourke for his album Eureka.[citation needed]


Eureka was released to DVD by MGM Home Entertainment on September 16, 2003 as a Region 1 widescreen DVD, as well as a 2016 Blu-Ray release (under license from MGM) by Twilight Time.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Sight and Sounds Greatest Films Poll 2012, Mark Cousins
  3. ^ Twitter @markcousinsfilm

External linksEdit