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The Dead Pool is a 1988 film and is the fifth, final and shortest film in the Dirty Harry film series, set in San Francisco, Californiamarker and starring Clint Eastwood as Inspector 'Dirty' Harry Callahan. Liam Neeson and Jim Carrey also appear in the film.


Fame finally catches up with Harry Callahan (Eastwood) whose testimony against crime kingpin Lou Janero (Anthony Charnota) puts Janero into prison. One night, Callahan is attacked by Janero's men at a turnoff near the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridgemarker while driving. However, he knocks down one of them with his car and shoots the remaining men dead before they finish their jobs. Callahan and his new Chinese American, martial arts-skilled partner Al Quan (Evan C. Kim) are assigned to investigate the death of rock singer Johnny Squares (played by a then unknown Jim Carrey, credited as James Carrey).

After film director Peter Swan's (Neeson) producer is killed in a Chinatown restaurant robbery which Callahan foils, Callahan discovers that he, together with Johnny Squares are part of a game in which participants try to predict the most celebrity deaths, presumably from natural causes or from those that work in dangerous professions, and in a turn of events, two more celebrities on the list are killed. Along the way Harry has to deal with the media (particularly reporter and later love interest Samantha Walker (Patricia Clarkson)), to balance their interference with the investigation against the public's right to know. She also proposes to do an in-depth profile on Callahan for her news report, while he wants to simply perform his job and stay out of the limelight. After one dinner meeting, they narrowly escape being killed by Janero's men in an elevator outside a restaurant, leading the reporter to reconsider the plight of police officers.

The following morning, Callahan drives to the prison where Janero is serving his sentence to meet with a chain smoking inmate named Butcher Hicks (who is very large and muscular). Callahan promises Hicks a carton of camel cigarettes if he helps Callahan out. When Callahan reaches Janero's cell, he makes it clear to Janero that if something happens to Callahan, then Butcher will pay him a visit and probably kill him (this results in Janero telling his men to make sure nothing happens to Callahan while he is on duty).

Callahan helps resolve a situation where a man named Gus Wheeler (Louis Giambalvo), who is rumoured to be responsible for the murders, tries to burn himself to get on the news so people will know the real him. In the end, it turns out that the real killer is a deranged fan of Swan, named Harlan Rook (David Hunt) who thinks all of his ideas and work have been stolen by Swan. It is also known that Swan had filed a restraining order against Rook a year before.

Next morning, Callahan and Quan are pursued through San Francisco's hilly streets in an unmarked squad car by a remote controlled bomb assembled by Rook, disguised as a radio controlled car. The bomb explodes, nearly killing Quan who survives due to his bulletproof vest. Meanwhile, Rook, disguised as Swan, calls Walker at the television station to Swan's film studio to give her an interview, which is actually a trap. Soon after, Rook's home is raided by the police and torn posters of Swan's films are found.

Callahan then drives to Swan's film studio where Walker is held captive by Rook. Callahan reluctantly surrenders his .44 Magnum revolver to Rook when he nearly slits her throat. Walker and Callahan escape and Callahan lures him to a pier after a chase. Rook, who has run out of bullets, is shot by Callahan with a harpoon, killing him instantly.

As the film ends, Walker and Callahan are leaving the pier, while the police are arriving at the scene.


  • Clint Eastwood as Inspector Harry Callahan
  • Patricia Clarkson as Samantha Walker
  • Liam Neeson as Peter Swan
  • Evan C. Kim as Inspector Al Quan
  • David Hunt as Harlan Rook
  • Michael Currie as Captain Donnelly
  • Jim Carrey as Johnny Squares (credited as James Carrey.) This is one of Carrey's first roles.
  • Michael Goodwin as Lieutenant Ackerman
  • Darwin Gillett as Patrick Snow
  • Anthony Charnota as Lou Janero
  • Christopher Beale as District Attorney Thomas McSherry
  • John Allen Vick as Lieutenant Ruskowski
  • Nicholas Love as Jeff Howser
  • Maureen McVerry as Vicky Owens
  • Glenn Wright as Detective Hindmark
  • Shawn Elliott as Chester Docksteder
  • Victoria Bastel as Suzanne Dayton
  • Diego Chairs as Butcher Hicks
  • Ronnie Claire Edwards as Molly Fisher
  • Louis Giambalvo as Gus Wheeler
  • Jeff Richmond as Freeway Reporter #1
  • Patrick Van Horn as Freeway Reporter #2
  • Sigrid Wurschmidt as Freeway Reporter #3
  • Deborah A. Bryan as Girl in Rock Video
  • Nicholas Love as Jeff Howser
  • John X. Heart as Samantha Coleman's Cameraman
  • Kathleen Turco-Lyon as Officer at Trailer
  • Michael Faqir as Sgt. at Trailer
  • Wallace Choy as Chinese Store Manager
  • Melodie Soe as Chinese Restaurant Hostess
  • Kristopher Logan as Gunman #1
  • Scott Vance as Gunman #2
  • Stu Klitsner as Minister
  • Ren Reynolds as Perry
  • Karen Kahn as Television Associate Producer
  • Ed Hodson as Paramedic at Elevator
  • Ed Hocking as Warden Hocking
  • Patrick Valentino as Pirate Tug Captain
  • Calvin Jones as Pirate Tug Reporter #1
  • Melissa Martin as Pirate Tug Reporter #2
  • Phil Dacey as Detective Dacey
  • Peter Anthony Jacobs as Sgt. Holloway
  • Bill Wattenburg as Nolan Kennard
  • Hugh McCann as Young Man on Talkshow
  • Suzanne Sterling as Young Woman on Talkshow
  • Lloyd Nelson as Sgt. Waldman
  • Charles Martinet as Police Station Reporter #1
  • Taylor Gilbert as Police Station Reporter #2
  • George Orrison as Embarcadero Bodyguard #1
  • Marc Alaimo as Embarcadero Bodyguard #2
  • Justin Whalin as Jason
  • Kris LeFan as Carl
  • Katie Bruce as Girl on Sidewalk
  • Harry Demopoulos, M.D. as Doctor in Hospital Room
  • John Frederick Jones as Dr. Friedman (Psychiatrist)
  • Martin Ganapoler as Reporter at Pier

The 1980s rock band Guns N' Roses makes a cameo appearance at the funeral of Johnny Squares, and one scene where Slash is shown firing the harpoon Harry will use at the end of the film. The Dead Pool is the only Dirty Harry movie in which Albert Popwell does not appear. In the Chinatown robbery scene the late Eric Douglas appears as the blond robber.

Car chase

Callahan is pursued through San Francisco's hilly streets in his unmarked Oldsmobile 98 squad car by a remote controlled bomb assembled by Rook, disguised as a radio controlled car. The "bomb" was in fact a highly modified Associated RC10 competition buggy topped with an off-the-shelf 1963 Chevrolet Corvette body from hobby accessory manufacturer Parma International. It was driven by world-champion radio control driver "Jammin'" Jay Halsey and was electrically powered. The sound effects of the "engine" were added in post production. This chase scene has many similarities to, and in fact may be considered a parody of, the famous chase scene in the Steve McQueen movie Bullitt. Eastwood has said that the chase was his favorite part of the film.

Box office performance

In its opening weekend the film took $9,071,330 in 1831 theatres in the US, at an average of $4954. In total in the US, the film made $37,903,295, making it the fourth most profitable of the five films in the Dirty Harry franchise.


The song "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses appears as the theme song for Swan's movie. All members of the band, including Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler have credited cameos in the film, including at the funeral of Johnny Squares.


  • The website has added a section called the 'Rotten Dead Pool' where people who sign up can compete to see who will die within a year, as was seen in the film.

  • The foundation of the plot of 2002 film Showtime is remarkably similar to the Dead Pool subplot of Harry's relationship with a female anchor. In this film, Harry intentionally breaks a news camera, which prompts the anchor to propose an interview, which turns into a date. In Showtime, Robert De Niro's character breaks a news camera, and appears in a reality television show. His character also begins a relationship with a once-offended member of the media.

See also


External links

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