Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Lethal Weapon (1987)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Lethal Weapon (1987)

In Richard Donner's action-comedy, 'buddy cop' film - the superior first film of many installments (also 1989, 1992, and 1998):

  • the startling opening scene of a scantily-clad 22 year-old prostitute and drug-user Amanda Hunsaker (Jackie Swanson) jumping to her death from the balcony of an LA high-rise, although later was revealed to have been poisoned by barbiturate capsules filled with drain cleaner
  • the view of the bare buns of psychotic, borderline alcoholic, depressed and self-destructive Vietnam vet/LA cop Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson), after the death of his wife, in his beer can-strewn trailer as he emerged from his bed in a parked camper-shell trailer
  • the scene of the drug bust shootout in a Christmas tree lot, after Riggs showed the dealers his badge: ("Let me say I take the whole stash off your hands for free and you assholes can go to jail. What do you say about that? Now I could read you guys your rights, but nah, you guys already know what your rights are"); when he was called a crazy son-of-a-bitch, he laughed and then asked: ("You think I'm crazy? You called me crazy? You think I'm crazy? Yeah, you want to see crazy? I'll show you... Now, that's a real badge, I'm a real cop and this is a real f--kin' gun")
  • the dramatic scene of Riggs contemplating suicide by playing Russian roulette with a gun pointed at his forehead and jammed down his throat, while he was weeping over a framed picture of his recently-deceased wife of 11 years following a car accident; he then spoke that he would see her later: ("I miss you, Victoria Lynn. Hey, that's silly, isn't it? I-I'll see ya later. I'll see ya much later")
Christmas Tree Lot Drug Bust
Suicidal Riggs
Handcuffed to Suicidal Man On Top of Building
  • the film's ingenious mismatched partnership of Riggs with devoted family man/veteran detective Sgt. Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), known for saying repeatedly: "I'm too old for this sh-t" because he was only eight days away from retirement, and he was about to celebrate his 50th birthday; he learned he was partnered with Riggs during a case of mistaken identity in the police office and was judo-flipped by Riggs ("Real burnout, on the ragged edge") onto the floor: ("Rog, meet your new partner"); later as the two talked, Murtaugh identified why the film was titled 'lethal weapon': ("File also said you're heavy into martial arts and Tai chi and all that, uh, killer stuff. I suppose we have to register you as a lethal weapon"); Riggs responded: ("Hey look, friend, let's just cut the s--t. We both know why I was transferred. Everybody thinks I'm suicidal, in which case I'm f--ked and nobody wants to work with me. Or they think I'm faking to draw psycho pension, in which case I'm f--ked, so nobody wants to work with me. Basically, I'm fucked"); Murtaugh agreed that he also didn't want to work with him: ("Ain't got no choice. Looks like we both got f--ked")
  • the dramatic scene of Riggs' unconventional strategy of handcuffing himself to another suicidal man high atop a building and convincing him to jump with him, and asking the crazed question: ("Do you really wanna jump? Do ya wanna? Well, then that's fine with me. Come on, let's do it"); after the double-jump onto a massive net, the suicidal man complained: ("Help me! Help me loose! He's tryin' to kill me! Did you see that? He's out of his mind! He's crazy! He tried to kill me!")
  • after the suicidal jump, Murtaugh's angry tirade against his partner: ("Here, take my gun. Don't nibble on the barrel, pull the trigger. Go ahead, pal. Be my guest! Go ahead, if you're serious!... Put it in your mouth. Bullet might go through your ear and not kill ya...Yeah, under the chin....(Riggs began to pull the trigger, although Murtaugh grabbed the gun and prevented him) You're not tryin' to draw a psycho pension. You really are crazy")
  • the scene of the death of a drug dealer, shot by Riggs and Murtaugh, who then fell into a pool and drowned when wrapped up in the pool cover; afterwards the two at poolside discussed how they had attempted to follow a policy of "no killing," but had failed: (Murtaugh: "You ever met anybody you didn't kill?" Riggs: "Well, I haven't killed you yet" Murtaugh: "Well, don't do me no favors, huh?")
  • the tense scene of the Mexican standoff with Murtaugh threateningly holding a grenade at El Mirage Lake in the desert ("Let her go now or we all die... If you come closer, then we all die"), to intimidate vile albino killer/henchman Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey), who had kidnapped Murtaugh's daughter Rianne (Traci Wolfe), while Riggs was positioned as a sniper to shoot at her captors and free her
  • the shower electrocution scene in which Riggs was tortured (strung up half-naked, doused in water, and prodded with an electric sponge attached to a car battery) by Mr. Joshua and his Chinese henchman Endo (Al Leong), before his daring escape and freeing of his partner Murtaugh and Rianne: ("Let's do what one shepherd said to the other shepherd ...Let's get the flock out of here")
  • in the finale, the sequence of Riggs' hand-to-hand combat challenge to Joshua on the muddy front lawn of Murtaugh's home during a torrential rain storm: "Whaddya say, Jack? Would you like a shot at the title?" - with the eager reply: "Don't mind if I do!" - and after Joshua was defeated, Murtaugh yelled out: ("Get that s--t off my lawn!")

Opening "Suicide" of Amanda Hunsaker

Martin Riggs in Trailer

Murtaugh: "You really are crazy"

Riggs and Murtaugh Poolside: "You ever met anybody you didn't kill?"

Mexican Stand-Off in the Desert

Riggs' Torture-Electrocution Sequence

Riggs' Hand-to-Hand Combat with Villain Mr. Joshua


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