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True Romance
Director: Tony Scott (Dir)
Release Date:   1993
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles opening: 10 Sep 1993; New York opening: week of 10 Sep 1993
Duration (in mins):   117
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Cast:   Christian Slater (Clarence Worley)  
    Patricia Arquette (Alabama Whitman)  
    Dennis Hopper (Clifford Worley)  
    Val Kilmer (Mentor)  
    Gary Oldman (Drexl Spivey)  
    Brad Pitt (Floyd, Dick's roommate)  
    Christopher Walken (Vincenzo Coccotti)  
    Bronson Pinchot (Elliot Blitzer)  
    Samuel L. Jackson (Big Don)  
    Michael Rapaport (Dick Ritchie)  
    Saul Rubinek (Lee Donowitz)  
    Conchata Ferrell (Mary Louise Ravencroft)  
    James Gandolfini (Virgil)  
    Anna Thomson (Lucy)  
    Victor Argo (Lenny)  
    Paul Bates (Marty)  
    Chris Penn (Nicky Dimes)  
    Tom Sizemore (Cody Nicholson)  
    Said Faraj (Burger man)  
    Gregory Sporleder (Burger stand customer)  
    Maria Pitillo (Kandi)  
    Frank Adonis (Frankie)  
    Kevin Corrigan (Marvin)  
    Paul Ben-Victor (Luca)  
    Michael Beach (Wurlitzer)  
    Joe d'Angerio (Police radio operator)  
    John Bower (Detective)  
    John Cenatiempo (Squad cop #1)  
    Eric Allan Kramer (Boris)  
    Patrick John Hurley (Monty)  
    Dennis Garber (Lobby cop #1)  
    Scott Evers (Lobby cop #2)  
    Hilary Klym (Running cop)  
    Steve Gonzales (I.A. officer)  
    Laurence Mason (Floyd "D")  

Summary: In a Detroit bar, Clarence Worley extols the importance of Elvis Presley to a young woman and is turned down for a date to a Kung Fu film triple feature. Later, at the theater, Clarence meets Alabama Whitman when she spills popcorn on him and, afterwards, she takes him to a diner for pie. Clarence shows Alabama the comic book store where he works and they make love at his apartment. Awaking to find Alabama crying outside on a nearby billboard platform, Clarence learns that she is a call girl who was hired by his boss as a birthday gift. When Clarence says how much he enjoyed her company, Alabama confesses her love for him and promises never to lie again. The next morning, they get married and commemorate the occasion with matching tattoos. Alabama tells Clarence that during her four-day employment as a prostitute, her pimp, Drexl Spivey, was violent toward her friend and Clarence becomes incensed. Later, at a hotel room, Drexl gains control over a suitcase of cocaine by murdering the dealer. Clarence is visited by the ghost of Elvis Presley, who tells him to kill Drexl. At the brothel, Clarence provokes Drexl by saying he is Alabama’s husband and giving him an empty envelope as a “payoff.” When Drexl attacks Clarence and takes his wallet, discovering Clarence’s address on his driver’s license, he orders his associate, Marty, to collect Alabama. Clarence draws his gun, shoots Drexl in the groin and kills Marty. Demanding that a prostitute give him Alabama’s clothes in a suitcase, Clarence shoots Drexl again and returns home to tell Alabama the pimp is dead. As she cries, Alabama tells Clarence that his actions were romantic, and when she opens the suitcase, she finds cocaine instead of her clothes. Before leaving town the next morning, Clarence visits his father, security guard Clifford Worley, and asks for help. Clifford contacts friends from his career as a police officer and learns that Clarence is not a suspect and the murder is being investigated as drug-related. Clifford warns Clarence about Drexl’s drug lord associate Blue Lou Boyle and tells him that he loves him. Clarence gives Clifford the contact information for his friend, Dick Ritchie, who they will be staying with in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Dick auditions for a small part on a TV show starring William Shatner. As he drives west with Alabama, Clarence calls Dick and tells him his money problems will soon be over and Clarence and Alabama make love in the phone booth. Back in Detroit, Clifford is violently interrogated by Boyle’s counselor, Vincenzo “Vincent” Coccotti. Coccotti tells him that Clarence and Alabama killed Drexl and his associates to steal Boyle’s cocaine and Clarence left his driver’s license behind. When Clifford says he does not believe the story and doesn’t know where Clarence and Alabama went on their honeymoon, his hand is sliced with a knife and doused with alcohol. Clifford insults Coccotti by saying that Sicilians descend from Moor “niggers” and Coccotti shoots him dead while his associate discovers Dick’s address on Clifford’s refrigerator. Arriving in Los Angeles, Clarence and Alabama pick up Dick and check into the Safari Inn. Clarence assumes that since Dick is an actor, he will know how to unload the cocaine, but Dick is skeptical, even though Clarence is willing to sell at a reduced rate of $200,000. Dick offers his one connection to a wealthy Hollywood producer, Lee Donowitz. He arranges for Lee’s assistant, Elliot Blitzer, to meet Clarence at an amusement park. When Elliot asks about the source of the cocaine as they board a roller coaster, Clarence concocts a story about a corrupt police officer that stole the drugs from an evidence room. Sickened by the ride, Elliot calls Lee and passes the phone to Clarence, who convinces Lee to meet them. Meanwhile, Coccotti’s associate, Virgil, arrives at Dick’s apartment and learns from his marijuana-smoking roommate, Floyd, that they are staying at the Safari. When Clarence drops Alabama back at the motel and goes to get food, she finds Virgil in their room with a shotgun. He beats her to get information about the cocaine, but she refuses to give in. As Virgil discovers the suitcase under the bed and aims his gun at Alabama, she wields a Swiss Army Knife corkscrew and shoves it in his foot. After he retaliates, she sets fire to his face with hairspray and a lighter, then shoots him repeatedly with his own gun, and, after he dies, uses it to beat him. Arriving at the scene, Clarence grabs Alabama and the suitcase and races away from the motel. Meanwhile, Elliot is caught speeding in Lee’s Porsche after his escort spills cocaine on his face and is interrogated by the police. Eager to get credit for busting a Hollywood mogul, the two officers report to their chief that Elliot confessed the cocaine is being sold by a corrupt police officer and that he agreed to wear a wire at the meeting with Lee. At the airport, Clarence tends to Alabama's wounds and promises that after the deal they will have a better life in Mexico. Back at Dick’s apartment, as the team prepares for their meeting at the Beverly Ambassador Hotel, Dick finds out that he got the part on the television show. While Coccotti’s hit men load their guns, the police hook Elliot up with a wire in a Ambassador Hotel room and assure him that they will cover his back. After meeting Clarence, Alabama, and Dick in the lobby, Elliot leads them to an elevator, where Clarence threatens him with a gun and demands to know if they are being set up. As the police listen, Elliot cries and begs to be rescued, but Clarence does not understand to whom he is speaking and backs away, saying that he was just testing Elliot’s dependability. At the same time, the hit men show up at Dick’s apartment with guns drawn and Floyd directs them to the Ambassador. During the drug deal in Elliot’s suite, the cops wait with anticipation for enough evidence to instigate a bust, but Lee leads Clarence out of range of Elliot’s wire, and Elliot disturbs the connection by adjusting his groin. Finally convincing Lee to trust him, Clarence is given approval for the deal. Just before the police break into the room, Clarence goes to the bathroom, where he is again visited by a vision of Elvis Presley who compliments him on his smooth operation. When Lee's bodyguards refuse to surrender to the police, the hit men arrive. Elliot asks the officers if he can leave, revealing himself as a traitor, and as Lee throws coffee in Elliot’s face, the police shoot him and the room erupts into a gun battle. As Clarence leaves the bathroom, he is shot by an officer and Alabama crawls toward him. Dick throws the suitcase of cocaine into the air and it is hit by bullets, filling the room with powder. Dick escapes as the gunfire dies down, and the battle ends with a standoff between two officers and a hit man, who tricks them by giving up one gun and then shooting them with another. Meanwhile, another hit man holds a woman hostage in the hotel lobby as the police arrive. When Alabama kills the last surviving officer, Clarence regains consciousness. They grab the suitcase of cash and pass through the lobby undetected because the police are preoccupied with the hostage crisis. Clarence and Alabama escape to Mexico, where they raise their son, Elvis.
 

Production Company: Morgan Creek  
Production Text: A Tony Scott film
Distribution Company: Warner Bros., Inc. (A Time Warner Entertainment company)
Director: Tony Scott (Dir)
  S. H. Perry (Unit prod mgr)
  James W. Skotchdopole (1st asst dir)
  Carey Dietrich (Key 2d asst dir)
  Craig Pinckes (2d asst dir)
Producer: Samuel Hadida (Prod)
  Steve Perry (Prod)
  Bill Unger (Prod)
  Bob Weinstein (Exec prod)
  Harvey Weinstein (Exec prod)
  Stanley Margolis (Exec prod)
  James G. Robinson (Exec prod)
  Gary Barber (Exec prod)
  Davis Film (Prod in assoc with)
  Don Edmonds (Co-prod)
  James W. Skotchdopole (Co-prod)
  Lisa Cogswell (Assoc prod)
  Spencer Franklin (Assoc prod)
  Gregory S. Manson (Assoc prod)
Writer: Quentin Tarantino (Wrt)
Photography: Jeffrey L. Kimball (Dir of photog)
  Michael A. Genne (Cam op)
  Gregory Lundsgaard (Cam op/Steadicam)
  Ray De La Motte (Cam op, 2d unit)
  Leo Napolitano (Cam op, 2d unit)
  Aaron Pazanti (Cam op, 2d unit)
  Gregory Schmidt (Cam op, 2d unit)
  Kenny Nishino (1st asst cam)
  Dan Gold (1st asst cam)
  Clyde E. Bryan (1st asst cam, 2d unit)
  Dennis Seawright (2d asst cam)
  Nick Shuster (2d asst cam)
  Frank D. Parrish (Cam loader)
  Olivia L. Patton (Cam intern)
  Dan Delgado (Chief lighting tech)
  Frank Mathews (Asst chief lighting tech)
  Bill Cueto (Lighting tech)
  Mike Franz (Lighting tech)
  Warren Burke Gerrard (Lighting tech)
  J. Michael Popovich (Key grip)
  Thomas M. Gibson (Best boy)
  Michael L. Schwake (Dolly grip)
  Hilary Klym (Grip)
  Mark Meyers (Grip)
  "Slick" Rick Rader (Grip)
  Richmond G. Cogswell (Video asst)
  Inter Video (24 frame video playback)
  Ron Phillips (Still photog)
Art Direction: Benjamin Fernandez (Prod des)
  James J. Murakami (Art dir)
  Lou Montejano (Asst art dir)
  Nancy Garber (Asst art dir)
Film Editor: Michael Tronick (Ed)
  Christian Wagner (Ed)
  Tony S. Ciccone (1st asst film ed)
  Kenneth B. Blackwell (1st asst film ed)
  Joe Mosca (Asst film ed)
  Paul M. Wagner (Asst film ed)
  Boyd Steer (Negative cutting)
  Jay Wiechman (Negative cutting)
Set Decoration: Thomas L. Roysden (Set dec)
  Ronald C. Jacobs (Leadman)
  Joe F. Mendoza (Drapery foreman)
  Larry Boyd (Set dresser)
  Tom J. Furginson (Swing gang)
  Michael Blaze (Prop master)
  Rick Chavez (Asst prop master)
  Ernest H. Lauterio (Asst prop master)
  Jason Muscarella (Propmaker)
  Michael A. Muscarella (Const coord)
  Ciro Vuoso (Gen foreman)
  Joseph Muscarella (Labor foreman)
  Joseph Fama (Gang boss)
  Lloyd Hardy (Gang boss)
  Charles Sperber (Gang boss)
  Danny Wynands (Gang boss)
  Anthony L. Paronelli (Const painter)
  John Dee Hinkle (Standby painter)
Costumes: Susan Becker (Cost des)
  Hugo Pena (Cost supv)
  Dawn Y. Line (Key cost)
  Greg Hall (Cost)
Music: Hans Zimmer (Mus)
  Thomas Milano (Mus ed)
  Maureen Crowe (Mus supv)
  Susan Abrams (Mus coord)
  Marie Snyder (Mus coord)
  Jay Rifkin (Score mixed and rec by)
  Mark Mancina (Addl mus)
  John Van Tongeren (Addl mus)
Sound: Robert G. Henderson (Supv sd ed)
  Bub Asman (Sd ed)
  Virginia Cook-McGowan (Sd ed)
  Samuel C. Crutcher (Sd ed)
  Greg Dillon (Sd ed)
  David M. Horton (Sd ed)
  Jayme S. Parker (Sd ed)
  Brooke Henderson Ward (Asst sd ed)
  Darrin Martin (Asst sd ed)
  David L. Horton, Jr. (Foley ed)
  Scot A. Tinsley (Foley ed)
  Eric Gotthef (Foley mixer)
  Dorothy Wright (Foley rec)
  Sarah Monet (Foley walker)
  Robin Harllon (Foley walker)
  James Simcik (Supv ADR ed)
  William C. Carruth (ADR ed)
  Lisa Risen (Asst ADR ed)
  Charleen Richards (ADR mixer)
  Greg Steele (ADR rec)
  Matt Patterson (Stage rec)
  Bob Hile (Stage loader)
  Kevin O'Connell (Re-rec mixer)
  Rick Kline (Re-rec mixer)
  William B. Kaplan (Prod sd mixer)
  Earl F. Sampson (Boom person)
  Jules Strasser, III (Cable person)
  Skywalker Sound A Division of Lucas Film Limited (Re-rec at )
  A THX sound system theatre (Mixed and rec in )
Special Effects: Mike Meinardus (Spec eff coord)
  Robert Henderson (Spec eff)
  Larry Shorts (Spec eff)
  Hansard (Process compositing)
  Nina Saxon Film Design (Title des)
  Cinema Research Corporation (Titles and opticals)
Make Up: Ellen Wong (Make-up)
  Frank Carrisosa (Prosthetic make-up des)
  Ron Scott (Hair stylist)
  Mary Barnard (Wigs)
Production Misc: Risa Bramon Garcia (Casting)
  Billy Hopkins (Casting)
  Mary Vernieu (Casting assoc)
  Suzanne Smith (Casting assoc)
  Barbara Harris (Voice casting)
  Jody Levin (Post prod supv)
  Michael Papac (Weapons specialist)
  Spencer Franklin (Prod coord)
  Lisa Marie Stetler (Asst prod coord)
  Edward E. Giddens (Prod secy)
  P. R. Tooke (Scr supv)
  Janice Polley (Loc mgr)
  Deborah J. Page (Asst loc mgr)
  Stuart Raven Barter (Loc scout)
  Gregory S. Manson (Prod accountant)
  Mady Burza (Asst prod accountant)
  Linda Azevedo (Accounting asst)
  Debbie Pinckes (Prod assoc)
  Jerry Heiss (Asst to Tony Scott)
  Jennifer Amerine (Asst to Bill Unger)
  Lesley C. Grant (Asst to Christian Slater)
  Maryellen Aviano (On-set coord)
  Joanna Farrand (Prod asst)
  Susie Thompson (Prod asst)
  Pete Johnson (Transportation coord)
  Sparky Edmonston (Transportation capt)
  Steve Bonner (Driver)
  Dennis Sean Fahey (Driver)
  Jerry L. Gordon (Driver)
  Jim Haag (Driver)
  Bill Hogue (Driver)
  Gene Johnson (Driver)
  Jerry Johnson (Driver)
  Linda "T.S." Johnson (Driver)
  Jim Kojaku (Driver)
  Ralph Landolfi (Driver)
  John Kris Larsen (Driver)
  Doug Miller (Driver)
  Kenny Newland (Driver)
  Ted Reed (Driver)
  Frank Reinhard (Driver)
  Jeffery Duke Stevens (Driver)
  Jim Sullivan (Driver)
  John L. Sullivan (Driver)
  Patrick L. Winton (Driver)
  Paul John Youds (Driver)
  Don Stanley (Motorcycle officer)
  Ed Eppersen (Motorcycle officer)
  Tom Garner (Motorcycle officer)
  Tony's Food Service (Caterer)
  Frank B. Davis (Craft service)
  David Linck (Unit pub)
  Dr. Todd J. Adelman D.C.H. (First aid)
  Paul Calabria (Animal trainer)
  Mark Mahoney (Tattoo des)
  The Completion Bond Company, Inc. (Completion bond)
Stand In: Charles Picerni (Stunt coord)
  Todd Adelman (Stunts)
  Joni Avery (Stunts)
  Ken Bates (Stunts)
  Steve Boyum (Stunts)
  Keith Campbell (Stunts)
  Steve Hulin (Stunts)
  Eric Mansker (Stunts)
  Noon Orsatti (Stunts)
  S. H. Perry (Stunts)
  Chuck Picerni Jr. (Stunts)
  Paul Picerni (Stunts)
  Steve Picerni (Stunts)
  Tony Rich (Stunts)
  Robby Robinson (Stunts)
  Big Daddy Wayne (Stunts)
  Nancy Young (Stunts)
  Ric Waugh (Stunts)
  Cathy Perry Marshall (Stand-in)
  Ricahrd E. Wacker (Stand-in)
Color Personnel: Ray Morfino (Col timer)
  Saul Escobedo (Col timer)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "Graceland," written by Steven M. Krikorian and Charlie Sexton, performed by Charlie Sexton, courtesy of MCA Records; "In Dreams," written by Markus Spiro and John Waite, performed by John Waite, courtesy of Emerald Forest Entertainment and Sony Music; "Wounded Bird," written by Eddie Chacon, Joshua Deutsch and Charles Pettigrew, performed by Charles & Eddie, courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.; "White Wedding," written and performed by Billy Idol, courtesy of EMI Records Group/Chrysalis Records, under license from CEMA Special Markets; "Skinny (They Can't Get Enough)," written by Rhonda Dawn Bush, performed by The Skinny Boys, courtesy of Jive Records; "Heartbreak Hotel," written by Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden and Elvis Presley, performed by Val Kilmer; "I Want Your Body," written by John O. C. W. Ewbank and Michiel van der Kuy, performed by Nymphomania, courtesy of Come Again Music; "Outshined," written by Chris Cornell, performed by Soundgarden, courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.; "I Need a Heart To Come Home To," written by John Barlow Jarvis and Howard Russell Smith, performed by Shelby Lynne, courtesy of Morgan Creek Records; "Chantilly Lace," written and performed by Big Bopper, courtesy of Polygram Special Markets, a division of Polygram Group Distribution, Inc.; "Viens Mallika Sous le Dome Edais from Lakme," from the motion picture "The Hunger," courtesy of Turner Entertainment Co.; "The Other Side," written by Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, Eddie Holland, Steven Tyler and Jim Vallance, performed by Aerosmith, courtesy of Geffen Records; "Everybody Loves Somebody," written by Sam Coslow, Kermit Lane and Taylor Irving, performed by Jerry Delmonico, courtesy of Associated Production Music; "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," written by Gerald Goffin and Carole King, performed by The Shirelles, courtesy of Original Sound Record Co., Inc., by arrangement with Celebrity Licensing Inc.; "Raga Yaman," written and performed by Clem Alford, courtesy of Associated Production Music; "(Love Is) The Tender Trap," written by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, performed by Robert Palmer, courtesy of EMI Records, under license from CEMA Special Markets; "A Little Bitty Tear," written by Hank Cochran, performed by Burl Ives, courtesy of MCA Records; "Learnin' the Blues," performed by Jerry Delmonico, courtesy of Associated Production Music; "All the Way," performed by Jerry Delmonico, courtesy of Associated Production Music; "Two Hearts," performed by Chris Isaak, courtesy of Reprise Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products.
Composer: Jimmy Van Heusen
  Clem Alford
  Mae Boren Axton
  Big Bopper
  Rhonda Dawn Bush
  Sammy Cahn
  Eddie Chacon
  Hank Cochran
  Chris Cornell
  Sam Coslow
  Joshua Deutsch
  Lamont Dozier
  Tommy Durden
  John O. C. W. Ewbank
  Gerald Goffin
  Brian Holland
  Eddie Holland
  Billy Idol
  John Barlow Jarvis
  Carole King
  Steven M. Krikorian
  Kermit Lane
  Charles Pettigrew
  Elvis Presley
  Charlie Sexton
  Howard Russell Smith
  Markus Spiro
  Irving Taylor
  Steven Tyler
  Jim Vallance
  Michiel van der Kuy
  John Waite
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Morgan Creek Productions, Inc. 27/9/1993 dd/mm/yyyy PA665213

PCA NO: 32461
Physical Properties: Sd: Lucasfilm Ltd. THX Sound System; Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
  col:
  Lenses/Prints: Eastman Color Film

 
Genre: Drama
  Romance
  Film noir
Sub-Genre: Action
 
  Crime
 
Subjects (Major): Cocaine
  Drug dealers
  Murder
  Newlyweds
  Romance
 
Subjects (Minor): Actors and actresses
  Amusement parks
  Bars
  Blackmail
  Brothels
  Casting directors
  Detroit (MI)
  Elvis Presley
  Fathers and sons
  Firearms
  Friendship
  Gunfights
  Hollywood (CA)
  Honeymoons
  Hostages
  Los Angeles (CA)
  Love
  Mafia
  Marijuana
  Marriage
  Mexico
  Motels
  Motion picture producers
  Pimps
  Police
  Police corruption
  Prostitution
  Robbery
  Roller coasters
  Sicilians
  Surveillance devices
  Tattoos
  Television programs
  Weddings
  Wire-tapping

Note: The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Ellis Fiori, a student at Emerson College, with Eric Schaefer as academic advisor.

The film begins and ends with a voice-over narration by actress Patricia Arquette in the role of “Alabama Whitman.”
              According to a 15 Mar 1993 Var news item, a rating board screening had determined that True Romance would be rated NC-17 due to its violent content. The report noted, however, that Warner Bros. was unwilling to release an NC-17 film and intended to edit the violence in order to receive an R rating. On 19 Apr 1993, Var reported that the film had secured an R rating.
       HR production charts on 20 Oct 1992 reported that production began on 21 Sep 1992 in Los Angeles and Detroit.
              The LAT review on 10 Sep 1993 noted that True Romance was the first script writer Quentin Tarantino sold, even though his debut film Reservoir Dogs (1992, see entry) had been released previously.
       A Screen International news item on 5 Jun 1992 reported that Val Kilmer and Jennifer Jason Leigh were initially set to star in the film, but the casting changed before production.
       The Safari Inn, which appeared to be on Hollywood Boulevard in the film, is located at 1911 Olive Boulevard in Burbank, California.
 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Hollywood Reporter   20 Oct 1992.   
Hollywood Reporter   30 Aug 1993   p. 5, 14.
Los Angeles Times   10 Sep 1993   p. 1, 8.
New York Times   10 Sep 1993   p. 5.
Screen International   5 Jun 1992.   
Variety   15 Mar 1993.   
Variety   19 Apr 1993.   
Variety   6 Sep 1993   p. 27.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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