Gruff, tough-as-nails San Francisco cop Jack Cates (Nolte) wants to track down two cop killers, but he needs help. It turns out wise-cracking convict Reggie Hammond (Murphy) may know where they are, so he gets the state to release Reggie to his custody for exactly 48 hours. The problem is: cop and crook instantly loathe each other. Trawling the city, squabbling and openly brawling, the duo eventually develop a grudging mutual respect when they face down a series of dangerous situations together.
Why we love it
Putting a thrilling new spin on the buddy film with this gritty and gripping crime comedy/drama, director Walter Hill hit paydirt, combining Nolte's bearish, no-BS mien with fiery comedic talent Murphy (who was still a "Saturday Night Live" cast member at the time). The result is a witty, well-acted, suspenseful thriller featuring a warring, hilariously mismatched duo. Great chemistry, intelligent writing, and wonderful set-ups (especially one tense howler in a racist redneck bar) boost this movie to the top rank of '80s urban actioners. Exciting and full of attitude.