Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

In the Line of Fire (1993)


Written by Tim Dirks

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Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

In the Line of Fire (1993)

In Wolfgang Petersen's action thriller about a Secret Service agent (haunted by his past) in a cat-and-mouse game with a psychotic Presidential assassin:

  • the opening scene in a boat at a marina during a confrontation with a counterfeiting ring led by Mendoza (Tobin Bell), in which undercover Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) saved another undercover Agent D'Andrea (Dylan McDermott); Horrigan was pressured into killing the agent to prove his loyalty - and was able to outwit the gang (that was asphyxiating D'Andrea), kill two other gang members and arrest Mendoza, before identifying himself as another agent: ("You're under arrest, too. Secret Service!")
  • the effective taunting phone call scenes with conversations between haunted JFK Secret Service agent Horrigan and menacing, psychotic ex-CIA hit man and potential assassin Mitch Leary (John Malkovich) (calling himself "Booth" after John Wilkes Booth), who threatened to kill the President (Jim Curley) running for re-election; during one call, Horrigan identified Leary as crazy and as a cold and calculated killer: ("Why is it everyone who ever knew you said that you're a sick son-of-a-bitch? Your colleagues. Your wife"); Horrigan asked the monstrous Leary about his hallucinations: ("What do you see when you're in the dark and the demons come?"); Leary answered with his daring plan to shoot the current President: ("I see you, Frank, I see you standing over the grave of another dead president...I have a rendezvous with death, and so does the President, and so do you Frank, if you get too close to me"); Horrigan threatened: ("That's not gonna happen. I'm on to you...I want you to give yourself up...You have a rendezvous with my ass, motherf--ker!")
  • the exciting Washington rooftops scene of the assassin chased by D'Andrea and Horrigan, and Leary's sudden and ominous appearance above Horrigan to lend him a helping hand as he was dangling from the side of a building - and then Horrigan pointed his gun at him: ("Take my hand, Frank? Take it. If you don't, you'll die. Take it. Are you going to shoot me, Frank, after I saved your life? The only way to save the President is to shoot me. Are you willing to do that, to trade your life for his? Or is life too precious?"); to taunt Horrigan, Leary grabbed the gun barrel with his teeth, and then mercilessly shot D'Andrea dead
Dangling From Rooftop
  • another of the numerous phone conversations between Horrigan and Leary, when the agent told the killer: ("I'm way ahead. Look, Leary, I know what you look like. I've seen your eyes....You better pray I don't find you, prick"); when Leary asked: "Do you want to kill me, Frank?", Horrigan spit back: "That's right," and Leary replied: ("The irony's so thick, you could choke on it...Think, Frank, think. The same government that trained me to kill, trained you to protect. Yet now you want to kill me, while up on that roof, I protected you. They're gonna write books about us, Frank...Don't be a poor sport, Frank. Hmm? You could have taken me out, but you chose to save your ass. Don't cry about it now, OK? You know, it does make me wonder about Dallas though. Did you really do all you could have, or did you make a choice there, too? Hmm? Do you really have the guts to take a bullet, Frank?"); before hanging up, Harrigan ended with: ("I'll be thinking about that when I'm pissin' on your grave")
  • the scene of Frank Horrigan's "IF only I reacted" reflections to fellow agent Lilly Raines (Rene Russo) about years earlier when he was assigned to protect President JFK in Dallas: ("You know something? For years I've been listening to all these idiots on bar stools with all their pet theories on Dallas. How it was the Cubans or the CIA or the white supremacists or the mob or whether it was one weapon or whether it was five. None of that's meant too much to me. But Leary, he questioned whether I had the guts to take that fatal bullet. God, that was a beautiful day. The sun was out. Been raining all morning. The air was - the first shot sounded like a firecracker. I looked over and I saw him. I could tell he was hit. I don't know why I didn't react. I should have reacted. I should have been running flat-out. I just couldn't believe it. If only I reacted, I could've taken that shot. That would have been all right with me"); she took his hand and squeezed it
  • the scene in a Westin Los Angeles hotel ballroom during a campaign dinner appearance when agent Horrigan (with a bulletproof vest) lept in front of the President and took a bullet - to foil Leary's assassination attempt by posing as bespectacled campaign contributor James Carney, but then Horrigan was taken hostage by the killer
  • Leary's discussion with his hostage Horrigan, trying to take credit for making Horrigan a hero: ("I saved your life. You owe me...I was always honest and fair with you...I'm waiting for you to show me some goddamn gratitude. Without me, you'd still just be another sad-eyed, piano-playing drunk. I brought you into this game. I let you keep up with me. I made you a god-damn hero today...I redeemed your pathetic, shitty life"), as sharpshooters attempted to "aim high" (coded words spoken by Frank) and kill their target
  • the climactic external elevator car fight in which Leary was offered Frank's hand - with the same words spoken earlier to him: ("Take my hand. If you don't, you'll die...Take it"), but Leary purposely refused Frank's hand, deliberately let go, and chose to fall to his death

Opening Marina Scene: "You're under arrest, too. Secret Service!"

Taunting Phone Calls With Killer

Horrigan's Reflections to Fellow Agent Lilly Raines

Assassination Attempt: Horrigan Jumping to Block and Protect President in LA Hotel Room

Horrigan Taken Hostage by Leary

Concluding Elevator Fight Before Leary's Fatal Fall to the Death


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