The Bodyguard (1992 film)
The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic thriller film directed by Mick Jackson, written by Lawrence Kasdan, and starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Costner stars as a former Secret Service agent-turned-bodyguard who is hired to protect Houston's character, a music star, from an unknown stalker. Kasdan wrote the film in the mid-1970s, originally as a vehicle for Steve McQueen and Diana Ross.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mick Jackson|
|Written by||Lawrence Kasdan|
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$411 million|
The film was Houston's acting debut. Although a huge box office hit making $411 million worldwide and being the second-highest-grossing film worldwide in 1992, it received highly negative reviews from critics. The soundtrack became the best-selling soundtrack of all time, selling more than 45 million copies worldwide.
Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston) is an Academy Award-nominated music superstar who is being stalked and sent death threats. When a bomb disguised as a doll explodes in her dressing room, Rachel's manager Bill Devaney (Bill Cobbs) seeks out a professional bodyguard, Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner), to protect her. Frank is a highly successful private bodyguard, mostly protecting corporate VIPs; he was formerly a Secret Service agent who was part of the protection detail during the Carter and Reagan presidencies. Frank is reluctant to accept Bill's offer to guard Rachel, as he sees her as a spoiled diva who is oblivious to the threats against her life, but relents and takes the assignment.
Frank's concerns are quickly validated when Rachel looks upon him as being paranoid and his extensive protection techniques as intrusive. Moreover, her existing bodyguard Tony (Mike Starr) resents Frank's presence, leading to a fight between the two in Rachel's kitchen. However, Frank and Rachel grow closer when he rescues her from danger after a riot erupts at one of her concerts. Though Frank tries to remain professional, he and Rachel sleep together; he breaks off the affair the next day, realizing it compromises his ability to protect her. Hurt, Rachel begins to defy Frank's painstaking security measures, even going as far as attempting to sleep with his former Secret Service colleague Greg Portman (Tomas Arana), whom she meets at a Miami party. Once her stalker places a threatening phone call to her, however, Rachel finally recognizes the seriousness of the situation and her need to trust Frank completely, and cancels the rest of her tour. Frank, Rachel, her son Fletcher (DeVaughn Nixon), her sister Nicki (Michele Lamar Richards), and her driver Henry (Christopher Birt) then travel to a large lakefront cabin in the mountains, the home of Frank’s father Herb (Ralph Waite).
The next day, Fletcher is almost killed when a bomb explodes inside a boat he rode in on the lake moments before. Finding footprints around the cabin and sabotaged automobiles, Frank realizes that Rachel's stalker has followed them there, but after securing the house for the night, he learns that Rachel's obsessive stalker and the person trying to kill her are not the same. Angry and drunk, Nicki admits to Frank that she hired a hitman to kill Rachel during a drug-induced fit of jealousy, but that the letters from the stalker came before that. However, she cannot call the hit off because she does not know the killer's identity. Abruptly, the hitman breaks into the house and fatally shoots Nicki. Frank, armed with a semi-automatic pistol, ensures that his father has secured the rest of the group on the second floor, then tracks the killer and pursues him into the woods. He shoots at the assailant but misses, allowing the latter to escape. The next day, Frank learns from his Secret Service contacts that they have apprehended the stalker, and were interviewing him when Nicki was shot.
Frank and Rachel attend Nicki's funeral and then the Academy Awards ceremony, where Frank gives Rachel a panic button in the shape of a cross to immediately alert him to any trouble. Despite this, a plethora of backstage technical issues hamper Frank's efforts to monitor the proceedings closely. While presenting an award, Rachel freezes and runs offstage, angry at Frank for embarrassing her with overprotective measures. However, she returns to the audience and is present when announced as the winner for Best Actress. As she comes onstage to accept the award, Portman is revealed to be the hitman, masquerading as the bodyguard for the ceremony's host (Robert Wuhl). Frank notices Portman pointing a gun disguised as a camera at Rachel; as Portman prepares for the fatal shot, Frank runs onstage and leaps in front of Rachel, taking the bullet meant for her and setting off chaos amongst the audience. Upon regaining his balance, Frank shoots Portman through his camera-gun, killing him. Frank is left wounded and Rachel calls for help—all the while urging him to stay with her as he slowly passes out.
Frank recovers from the shooting and bids farewell to Rachel at the airport. After the plane starts to take off, Rachel suddenly orders the plane to stop, jumps out, and runs to Frank for one last passionate kiss. The film ends with a scene from Frank's next assignment—protecting a mob-fighting U.S. congressman—where a priest, using the emergency cross earlier given to Rachel, provides a solemn benediction as the lawmaker's new bodyguard keeps a watchful eye.
- Kevin Costner as Frank Farmer
- Whitney Houston as Rachel Marron
- Gary Kemp as Sy Spector
- Bill Cobbs as Bill Devaney
- Ralph Waite as Herb Farmer
- Tomas Arana as Greg Portman
- Michele Lamar Richards as Nicki Marron
- Mike Starr as Tony Scipelli
- Christopher Birt as Henry Adams
- DeVaughn Nixon as Fletcher Marron
- Tony Pierce as Dan (the stalker)
- Gerry Bamman as Ray Court
- Joe Urla as Minella
- Charles Keating as Klingman
- Nathaniel Parker as Clive Healy
- Richard Schiff as Skip Thomas (backstage hand at the Academy Awards)
- Donald Hotton as Reverend Hardy
- Rollin Jarrett as Miami Reporter
- Robert Wuhl as Academy Awards Host
- Chris Connelly as Academy Awards Arrivals M.C.
- Debbie Reynolds as herself
Being Lawrence Kasdan's first screenplay, the film was originally proposed in 1976 with Steve McQueen and Diana Ross in the leads, but the project stalled. Later, in 1979, Ryan O'Neal and Diana Ross were set to star as the leads, but again, production was put on hold and the script became stuck in "development hell", before being finally released in 1992.
The Bodyguard received mixed to negative reviews from film critics. As of December 2018, the film holds a 34% rating on the film aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus, "The Bodyguard is a cheesy, melodramatic potboiler with occasional moments of electricity from Whitney Houston." It received seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations, including Worst Picture. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly reviewed the film negatively, stating, "To say that Houston and Costner fail to strike sparks would be putting it mildly." He added that "the movie gives us these two self-contained celebrity icons working hard to look as if they want each other. It's like watching two statues attempting to mate." Other critics were more mixed or positive, including Roger Ebert, who praised the film and gave it three out of four stars, remarking, "The movie does contain a love story, but it's the kind of guarded passion that grows between two people who spend a lot of time keeping their priorities straight."
Two songs from the film, "Run to You" and "I Have Nothing", were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The soundtrack was also nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning three, including Album of the Year for its album of the same name. The film was nominated for several MTV Movie Awards, an Image Award, BMI Film & TV Awards, a Golden Screen Award in Germany and an Award of the Japanese Academy, according to the Internet Movie Database.
In the United States, The Bodyguard opened on November 25, 1992 in 1,717 theaters; it grossed $16.6 million in its opening weekend, ranking third. The film spent 10 weeks in the Top 10, ultimately grossing $121.9 million domestically, and $410.9 million worldwide. It was the seventh highest-grossing film of 1992 in North America, and the second highest-grossing film of 1992, worldwide. At the time, it was one of the top 100 highest-grossing films of all time.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album became the best-selling soundtrack of all time. It has been certified diamond in the United States (sales of at least ten million) with shipments of over 17 million copies. Worldwide, the sales are over 45 million copies. In addition, Houston's cover of "I Will Always Love You" sold 20 million units worldwide.
The soundtrack features five songs which were hit singles for Houston: "I Will Always Love You" (a cover of the Dolly Parton song), "I'm Every Woman" (a cover of the Chaka Khan song), the two Oscar-nominated songs, "I Have Nothing" and "Run to You", and "Queen of the Night".
Other artists who appear on the soundtrack include fellow Arista recording artists Kenny G ("Even if My Heart Would Break", a duet with Aaron Neville), Lisa Stansfield ("Someday I'm Coming Back") and Curtis Stigers ("What's so Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding"). Also included is a cover of the Bill Withers standard "Lovely Day".
- The Simpsons—in the episode "Mayored to the Mob", Homer Simpson receives bodyguard training from an instructor singing "I Will Always Love You" after graduating his class. Also in the episode, Mark Hamill gets carried by Homer in a fashion which parodies the way Costner carries Houston in the film.
- 30 Rock—in the episode "Hard Ball", Tracy Jordan is rescued from a mob by his entourage; his character sang "I Will Always Love You" during the scene.
- Bulletproof—a scene in the film parodies The Bodyguard with Adam Sandler's character singing "I Will Always Love You" and remarking that Damon Wayans's character can always be his bodyguard.
- The Venture Bros.—in the second-season episode "I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills", after having fallen in love with her charge, Dr. Venture, bodyguard Myra Brandish says she was taught "Never let them out of your sight. Never let your guard down. Never fall in love", the tag line from the film.
- In Living Color—Kim Wayans plays Grace Jones as the Whitney Houston character and Jim Carrey plays the Kevin Costner character, complete with bad hair. The scene when Kevin Costner carries Whitney Houston off-stage from the original movie is reversed with Grace Jones carrying Frank Farmer off while singing "I Will Always Love You".
- The Hitman's Bodyguard—Teaser trailer featuring Houston's song "I Will Always Love You", and movie poster spoof.
A musical adaptation of the film opened in London's Adelphi Theatre in the West End in Fall 2012. David Ian, who produces the musical, received the stage rights from Kevin Costner and Lawrence Kasdan.
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- Beck, Marilyn, Stacy Jenel Smith. – "Costner Sings to Houston's Debut". – Los Angeles Daily News. – October 7, 1991.
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- 1992 RAZZIE® Nominees & "Winners" – The Official RAZZIE® Forum Archived August 27, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Razzies.com. Retrieved on 2011-04-05.
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- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-18.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
- Gold & Platinum – April 05, 2011 Archived September 13, 2012, at WebCite. RIAA. Retrieved on 2011-04-05.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson spoof 1992's The Bodyguard poster". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- "The Hitman's Bodyguard Trailer and Release Date". denofgeek.com. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- "See Samuel Jackson, Ryan Reynolds' 'Hitman's Bodyguard' Clip". rollingstone.com. Retrieved March 17, 2018.