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Shakedown (also known in international markets as Blue Jean Cop) is a 1988 crime drama/action film starring Peter Weller and Sam Elliott. The screenplay concerns an idealistic lawyer who teams with a veteran cop to find out the truth in a possible police corruption scandal.

Shakedown film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames Glickenhaus
Produced byJ. Boyce Harman Jr.
Written byJames Glickenhaus
Music byJonathan Elias
CinematographyJohn Lindley
Edited byPaul Fried
Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment
Blue Jeap Cop
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 6, 1988 (1988-05-06)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$6 million
Box office$10,068,039


Roland Dalton (Weller) is a burned-out, mild-mannered Manhattan public defender, and his last case before leaving legal aid is crack dealer Michael Jones (Richard Brooks), accused of shooting to death police officer Patrick O'Leary in Central Park. According to Jones, the shooting was in self-defense and that officer O'Leary was a 'Blue Jean Cop' (an opportunistic police officer who robs drug dealers).

Being a creature of habit, Dalton seeks the truth to his mysterious case and looks to Richie Marks (Sam Elliott), a renegade loner NYPD narcotics agent. Dalton realizes the prosecutor in his last case is a former love interest, the smart and sexy Susan Cantrell (Patricia Charbonneau). Throughout the trial Roland rekindles this former affair with Susan unbeknown to his fiancée Gail (Blanche Baker).

Roland and Marks eventually learn that O'Leary was working with a large number of dirty cops who purchased blue jeans and an expensive car. The dirty cops were working with drug lord Nicky "N.C." Carr (Antonio Fargas). Roland at one point breaks into the police station's evidence locker to locate the cassette tape that Jones had in a boom box radio at the time of his shooting. The tape recorded the entire incident and when Roland attempts to get the tape he is taken hostage by the team of dirty cops. Just before Roland is going to be killed, Marks bursts into the room and shoots the cops, saving Roland.

Although Roland makes it to court, with the assistance of an insane cab driver (Tom Mardirosian) the judge refuses to allow the tape into evidence. After making an impassioned closing statement, the jury acquits Jones of the shooting. Marks then shows up in a Porsche purchased by O'Leary and they go to the airport to hunt down Carr and the last of the dirty cops. Richie jumps onto the plane's landing gear and after shooting out an engine and tossing a hand grenade into the landing gear compartment, he jumps to safety just as the plane explodes.

The movie ends with Roland again working as a public defender, he's broken up with Gail and is once again dating Susan.

Selected castEdit

Critical receptionEdit

Shakedown garnered generally positive reviews from critics. It holds a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 8 reviews, with an average score of 6.25/10.[1]

Roger Ebert commended Glickenhaus for showing a "tremendous amount of craftsmanship and skill" when sacrificing story to direct his action scenes and gave praise to both Weller and Elliott for being "strong, unsubtle but convincing" in their respective roles, saying "It's an assembly of sensational moments, strung together by a plot that provides the excuses for amazing stunts, and not much else."[2] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune called the film "a rollicking, thrilling and funny police picture", praising Glickenhaus' direction for containing a "mixture of reality and way-out thrills" in the action sequences, saying that "Shakedown moves with an intelligence, speed and joy in everything from writing to stunt work. A picture this much fun can keep a movie lover happy for a week."[3] Kevin Thomas from the Los Angeles Times felt that Elliott lacked equal screen time alongside Weller for his character to remain in the viewer's mind, but he also praised Glickenhaus for keeping the film "terse, fast-moving and atmospheric" throughout the plot and into the action set pieces, calling it "mindlessly enjoyable escapist fare".[4]


  1. ^ "Shakedown (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 6, 1988). "Shakedown". Retrieved October 16, 2019.     
  3. ^ Siskel, Gene (May 6, 1988). "Flick of the Week: A Cop Picture That's Top Notch". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved October 16, 2019.     
  4. ^ Thomas, Kevin (May 6, 1988). "Movie Reviews: 'Shakedown' Escapes Courtroom With Chases". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved October 16, 2019.

External linksEdit