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The Hit (1984)

John Hurt , Terence Stamp  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Hurt, Terence Stamp, Tim Roth, Laura del Sol, Fernando Rey
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: April 28, 2009
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PYD0L6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,871 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Hit" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Terence Stamp is Willie, a gangster s henchman turned informer trying to live in peaceful hiding in a remote Spanish village. Sun-dappled bliss turns to nerve-racking suspense, however, when two hit men played by a soulless John Hurt and a youthful, loose-cannon Tim Roth come a-calling to bring Willie back for execution. This stylish early gem from Stephen Frears boasts terrific performances from a roster of England s best hard-boiled actors and ravishing photography of its desolate Spanish locations a splendid backdrop for a rather sordid story.

New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director of photography Mike Molloy
Commentary featuring director Stephen Frears and actors
John Hurt and Tim Roth
Parkinson One-to-One: Terence Stamp, a 1988 television interview with the actor
Original theatrical trailer
PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Graham Fuller

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
A British gangster turns informer and testifies against a dockful of his mates; as sentence is handed down, the crew gaze at him and burst into song -- Vera Lynn's "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when..." Years later, living a placid exile in a sleepy Spanish village, the informer gets a knock on the door, and two univited guests from his homeland show up; one is a jittery soccer hooligan, the other, is, well, white-suited, sunglasses wearing, and almost silent -- the Angel of Death and his acolyte. Their job is to drive the informer several hundred miles to the French border, where he will be delivered to one of those who vowed revenge and is now free. The catch? The informer goes smilingly and willingly. He has known this day would come, and has spiritually prepared himself for it. As the three journey north, his cheerful composure and penchant for cockeny existentialist philosophizing and non-stop chatter begins to crack the facade of the killers who are transporting him; and then everything starts to go very, very wrong. The question is: Has the informer had a conversion experience, or is he a seasoned hustler who has devised a brilliant survival gambit?

Stephen Frears, not yet a hack, directed this fabulous example of BritNoir in the mid-'80's, where it was barely exhibited in the US. The sun-drenched Spanish locations are a special joy, contrasting with the increasingly grim story, and Frears builds up an admirable amount of tension, leading to explosive bursts of orchestrated violence.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Passenger December 10, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Any quick synopsis of the plot may give you the idea that this is like so many independent films that came after it but its not. The three things that make this different and better are the three actors involved. The young hood who acts tough but really may not have the stomach for this kind of thing is Tim Roth, the true professional hit man who has little patience for his young accomplice and would be apprentice is John Hurt. And the target for the elaborate hit is the always exquisite Terence Stamp who knows it has been coming all the years and has become very philosophical, almost welcoming it when it finally appears. Stamp too was a pro and that makes both Hurt and Roth admire him, even revere him perhaps for accepting things like he does. There is action but most of it is character interaction, which is very good. Visually the most exciting scenes are in Spain where Stamp has been hiding it out in a very comfortable country villa, but the trip back to Paris presents several interesting villages and vistas. Frears later did Dangerous Liasons which I also like but this smaller film is my favorite of his primarily because of the Stamp character and Terence Stamp himself. If you've seen anything of his from Billy Budd to Fellinis Toby Dammit to Pasolinis Theorem to The Limey, you know he is one of the most interesting screen presences you will ever encounter, The Hit was made when he hadn't been seen in a picture for a while so the fact that the character he plays in The Hit has also been out of circulation for awhile gives the role an added dimension.
Later Reservoir Dogs made Tim Roth famous and for good reason but here you get his debut doing it all for the first time. And Hurt is always scary as hell like he's haunted with some knowledge about human nature that you nor I nor anyone will ever know about.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Leave it to Artisan... November 24, 2002
Artisan is the worst!
Having never seen this film, I was extremely excited to see that it was to be released on DVD finally...until I noticed that Artisan was going to release it. Sure enough, Artisan has done it again, offering The Hit in a pan & scan format. Surely this is not an action cheapie, and as such deserves better treatment than Artisan is putting out.
If you don't care about format, ignore my review. If you do care, I suggest that you be careful buying any Artisan DVDs, as they are releasing loads of P & S titles these days.
Would someone in authority please advise Artisan to raise their price point and release these films in a double-sided disc offering both formats, a la Warner Brothers?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Complex March 9, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This early effort of Stephen Frears is a remarkable example of the film genre that it helped to inspire. Made in 1984, it is one of the early "road" films which has become a Hollywood cliche (interesting or unusual characters driving cross country, often shot in the desert: see Thelma & Louise, Wild at Heart, etc.)
On the surface, this is a straightforward tale of a mafia style abduction and murder; and it can be viewed and enjoyed on this level only. Yet, when you look beyond the action and study the characters, the possibilities for the motivations and circumstances of their actions become infinite.
I have viewed this movie many times, and I still am trying to decipher the subtext(s): Is Braddock intentionally making the job more complex than it needs to be? Does Willie (the intended victim) really believe in the spiritual peace he claims to have found, or is it just a pretext to stay alive long enough to save himself through trickery? Who exactly is the young Spanish girl?
This is one of those films which can be viewed again and again, each time presenting something different to the viewer....
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Hitmen snatch a grasser and go on a journey attempting to get to...
An interesting little tale about a gangster (Terrance Stamp) that informed on his gangster pals and has been living in a small Spanish town for ten years. Read more
Published 18 days ago by dhart
2.0 out of 5 stars What Snooze
Take some great actors and give them a script lacking any semblance of a point and you have this movie which was quite a snooze. Read more
Published 5 months ago by SanNic44
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Hit
Relatively interesting movie with a parched artistic flair. The anticipation of the outcomes of a noble victim, a fiery and passionate whore and a a fellow who never got out of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dr Jack L Edwards
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric
A British criminal testifies against all his partners and gets kidnapped (along with an innocent female witness) by them 10 years later in Spain. Read more
Published 10 months ago by mr. contrarian
1.0 out of 5 stars Terribly Boring
I thought this was another movie until I started watching. This version of The Hit was a complete waste of time.
Published 10 months ago by dddvision
1.0 out of 5 stars Total Rip Off
Tim Roth is pre-pubescent and platinum/bleach blond in this movie unlike the cover implies. It is roughly 15-20 years old although the release date says 2009. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Chedda'Cheeze
4.0 out of 5 stars good performances
This is a pretty good film with some really cool performances. John Hurt as always shines and it is always great to see Terrence Stamp. Read more
Published 18 months ago by oraw
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid UK Gangster Drama
Thankfully the wonderful people at the Criterion Collection were wise enough to dust this off back in 2009 and create a first-rate release for this solid mid-80s film about the... Read more
Published 19 months ago by pemory
4.0 out of 5 stars Tim Roth becoming a star...
An early Tim Roth shining brightly as the talented actor he is. He adds so much to each character he plays and every movie he's a part of. He never disappoints.
Published 20 months ago by 1farstar
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic road movie
All about character. Beautiful, archaic scenery. Lots of twists and turns. It is a gangster movie, but the violence pales compared to the average fare on network television... Read more
Published 21 months ago by DeadEye16
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