Tuesday’s Overlooked Film: Midnight Run (1988 directed by Martin Brest)

No matter how many times I see Midnight Run (1988) I am left in stitches. Before Meet the Parents/Fockers and Analyze This/That for many, Robert DeNiro is more renowned for his dramatic roles. Yes, yes I have heard all about The King of Comedy and all (still have yet to see it), but until that point in my cinematic journey this film is enough for me proof of Robert deNiro’s comedic chops.


For those not in the know, here is a brief synopsis:

Robert De Niro plays Jack Walsh, a world-weary bounty hunter is hired to bring in embezzling accountant Jonathan Mardukas (Charles Grodin). Initially Walsh assumes that the extradition trip from New York to LA will be a run of the mill trip – that is until 1) Mardukas’ fear of flying means they will have to take the cross country journey on the ground and 2) when he realizes just WHO Mardukas has embezzled from – a notorious mobster (Dennis Farina), who Walsh has his own past with. Along the way our dynamic duo are chased not only by the mob, federal agents (led by Yaphet Kotto) and a rival bounty hunter (John Ashton).

The comedic rapport between Grodin and deNiro is priceless and if for no other reason I recommend that you watch this film for that.

For those of you who have seen it let me know what you think of it in the Comments section below.

Also be sure to check out other overlooked titles on Todd Mason’s blog, Sweet Freedom.


  1. Good call. A smashing film. De Niro is best when he does comedy straight.
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  2. I love this movie. Never tire rewatching De Niro and Grodin.
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    • In my research I also read that Mr. Grodin is notoriously hard to work with. Darn shame really. Because it works.

      • Hi, iluv:

        A very good selection for an overlooked film! A compact little road trip flick. With shades of “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ mixed in its chases.

        Your mentioning that Charles Grodin is hard to work with is one of the reasons he was dropped for the role of Ben Braddock and it was given to a young Dustin Hoffman. Grodin was rubbing Mike Nichols and Anne Bancroft the wrong way during rehearsals.

        That ability to be annoying worked well for Grodin opposite De Niro in ‘Midnight Run’, To the point where I was hoping that De Niro would haul off and belt him in a few key scenes.

  3. Patti Abbott says:

    They made a great team, didn’t they?

  4. It’s a great flic one of my favorites, and also the last time we saw Yaphett Kotto in a film worth mentioning. 🙂
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  5. One of the very few Robert De Niro performances I’ve enjoyed. I’m not his biggest fan. But I ADORE Grodin and wish he’d gone on acting in films. He is the ultimate screen thief – stealing every scene he’s in. He was sort of like Gig Young who never acted in a movie he didn’t steal.

    I’m glad you wrote about this film, Iba. I haven’t seen it in ages and I’m headed over to Netflix right now to queue it up. 🙂
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  6. Wow, the timing is uncanny! Jack Deth just gave me a guest post that mentions Joe Pantoliano’s role in this one. I haven’t seen this yet Iba but I know I should do so soon!
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