Unlawful Entry (film)

Unlawful Entry is a 1992 American psychological thriller film directed by Jonathan Kaplan and starring Kurt Russell, Madeleine Stowe, and Ray Liotta.[2]

Unlawful Entry
Unlawful Entry.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJonathan Kaplan
Screenplay by
Story by
  • George Putnam
  • John Katchmer
Produced by
CinematographyJamie Anderson
Edited byCurtiss Clayton
Music byJames Horner
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 26, 1992 (1992-06-26)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$23 million
Box office$57.1 million (US)[1]

The film involves a couple who befriend a lonely policeman, only for him to develop an unrequited fixation on the wife, leading to chilling consequences. The movie received generally positive reviews especially for Ray Liotta's performance who was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain in 1993 for his portrayal of the psychopathic cop.[3] The film was remade in Bollywood as Fareb in 1996.


Michael and Karen Carr (Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe) are a couple living in an upscale part of Los Angeles. One night, an intruder enters their home through their skylight, upsetting their tranquility. The intruder briefly takes Karen as a hostage with a knife, before dumping her in the swimming pool and escaping. The Carrs call the police, one of whom, Pete Davis (Ray Liotta), is quickly intrigued by their politeness, and takes extra interest in the couple's case, cutting through department red tape and quickly installs a security system in the Carrs' house.

In appreciation for Pete's services, Michael and Karen form a friendship with him and invite him to dinner. When Michael expresses an interest in getting revenge on the intruder, Pete invites him on a ride-along with his partner, Roy Cole (Roger E. Mosley). After dropping Cole off, Pete reveals he has arrested the man who broke into the Carrs' house and offers Michael a chance to take some revenge using Pete's nightstick in retaliation for attacking Karen. Michael declines, insisting that he wasn't serious about personally taking revenge, but Pete responds by becoming insistent and demanding. After the burglar attempts to run away, Pete brutally beats him before Michael demands him to stop.

Deeply suspicious of Pete's mental stability and overprotective behavior, Michael demands Karen to stay away from him, but she refuses to believe him as she believes Micheal is overreacting. When Pete arrives at Micheal's club, Micheal harshly criticizes Pete for his behavior and rejects their friendship coldly, demanding that he stay away from him and Karen. After unsuccessfully attempting to cope by having sex with a random woman whom he sees as "worthless", Pete, having been already infatuated with Karen, invites her for coffee to get to know her better and begins to intrude in her marriage with Michael, believing that Micheal is not standing up enough for Karen.

Pete, having become jealous, angered, and loathing with hatred over Michael's rejection, begins to harass him by ruining his finances, and breaks in the house after setting the alarm off under the pretense on checking on the couple while having sex. When Michael files a complaint against Pete's unwanted attentions, Pete uses his police connections to destroy Michael's business reputation while encountering bemused apathy from Pete's superiors in the LAPD. Under advice from his lawyer, Michael tries to bribe Pete with $5000 and apologizes for his rejection, but Pete rejects Michael's offer and reveals his obsession with Karen and warns him that he could kill him, causing Michael to scold and warn Karen about Pete's obsession with her, further demanding that she stay away from him.

Michael turns to Cole, who orders his partner to cease his obsessing, see a shrink or face suspension. Pete then remorselessly murders Cole, blaming it on a known criminal. Pete then frames Michael on drug charges by planting a supply of cocaine in the Carrs' house, enabling him to move in on Karen. Jeopardizing his attorney's finances, Michael resolves to get out on bail and takes matters into his own hands. Back at the Carr house, Karen wakes up to find Pete cooking in place of her friend and colleague, Penny.

After Pete declares his love for Karen, Karen discovers Penny's corpse, realizing that Pete brutally murdered her friend. Karen rejects Pete by holding him at gunpoint after pretending to accept him and making love with him to take away his gun. After refusing to leave, Karen attempts to shoot him, only to find out the gun wasn't loaded, as Pete had anticipated. Pete dismisses Karen as worthless and attempts to rape her, but is unsuccessful after finding his police car vandalized, realizing that Michael has returned home. Michael and Karen try to escape, but Pete attacks Michael while Karen hides in the bathroom. Pete and Michael fight, during which Pete accidentally causes the police to start heading over to the house after attempting to answer a phone call while acting as Michael and giving the wrong code, which Michael had changed.

Pete holds Michael at gunpoint outside of the bathroom where Karen is, and Pete demands that Karen open the door and escape with him or he'll kill Michael, while Michael begs Karen not to, saying Pete will kill him anyway. Karen ultimately bursts out of the room and uses an ornament to strike Pete in the face, allowing Michael to gain the upper hand, punching Pete and knocking him down the stairs. As Karen and Michael wait for the police to arrive, Pete regains consciousness as Michael holds him at gunpoint. Pete, believing Micheal to be a coward, tauntingly asks Michael if he'll arrest him as a citizen, just like Michael did when Pete threatened to kill him. To Pete's shock, Michael chooses the opposite and shoots him until the gun is empty, ultimately killing Pete. A relieved Michael and Karen then go outside and watch as the police arrive at the scene.




Principal photography began on October 25, 1991. Filming took place in and around Los Angeles, California. The house that was used for the Carr residence in the film is located at 546 Wilcox Ave. The school sequence was filmed at Doris Place Elementary School. The sequence where Michael is in jail was filmed at Lincoln Heights Jail. Production wrapped on February 5, 1992.


Unlawful Entry (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
Released1993 (1993)
GenreSoundtrack, Score
LabelIntrada Records
ProducerJames Horner

The original soundtrack was composed by James Horner. It was released on Intrada records, an extended version of the soundtrack was released by La-La Land Records in 2017.

The movie featured several songs that were not included on the soundtrack. "Pa La Ocha Tambo" and "Just a Little Dream" by Eddie Palmieri, "National Crime Awareness Week (Alfred Hitchcock Presents Mix)" by Sparks, Everybody's Free to Feel Good" by Rozalla, and "Don't Go to Strangers" by J. J. Cale.[4]

US CD (Intrada Records) track listing

All tracks written and composed by James Horner.

  1. "Main Title" - 3:14
  2. "Intruder" - 2:08
  3. "Being Watched" - 5:42
  4. "Leon's Death" - 3:01
  5. "Drug Bust" - 3:06
  6. "Bail Denied" - 2:26
  7. "Pete's Passion" - 11:15
  8. "End Credits" - 4:22


Box officeEdit

The film was released in the U.S. on June 26, 1992, opening at #2 in 1,511 theaters, an average of $6,662 per theater. Grossing $10,067,609 in the opening weekend, it went on to gross $57,138,719 in the domestic market.[1] It was a box-office success, and brought back its $23 million budget.

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, 74% of reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The critical consensus reads, "Unlawful Entry may not depict a particularly novel or believable situation, but tense direction and a roundly committed cast make it easy to get caught up in the moment."[5] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 61 out of 100, based on 25 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave it an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[7]

Roger Ebert praised director Jonathan Kaplan for giving the film's story a sense of realism with its locations, characters with "unrestrained realism" from the actors and having "undertones of a serious social drama" when confronting fears about a delusional police authority.[8] Variety's Todd McCarthy wrote that despite being another film that follows in the mould of Fatal Attraction, he called it "a very effective victimization thriller", praising both Liotta and Russell's performances and Kaplan's direction of the script into "areas of social and class-structure observations" when dealing with unhinged police figures in an urban setting.[9] In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin was critical of the three main leads lacking depth and substance in the motivations of their characters but gave credit to Liotta for giving "complexity" to his role, a solid supporting cast and the "level-headed" direction Kaplan takes with the plot, even as it stretches credibility.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Unlawful Entry". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet (June 26, 1992). "Unlawful Entry (1992) Review/Film; An Officer Too Involved in His Work". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Ray Liotta: 10 Roles That Made Him a Great, Irreplaceable Actor". Rolling Stone. May 26, 2022.
  4. ^ "Unlawful Entry (1992 - Soundtracks - IMDb.com". IMDb.com. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  5. ^ "Unlawful Entry". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  6. ^ "Unlawful Entry". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  7. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 26, 1992). "Unlawful Entry Movie Review". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved March 14, 2018.     
  9. ^ McCarthy, Todd (June 22, 1992). "Unlawful Entry". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Maslin, Janet (June 26, 1992). "An Officer Too Involved in His Work". The New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2018.

External linksEdit