Terence Stamp / Stephen Frears’ The Hit (1984)

I love this movie. I came across the Criterion DVD at Video Journeys last year along with The Friends of Eddie Coyle and had my mind wiped clean by how non-Scorsese and non-cliche a gangster movie can be. Is there anther Terrence Stamp performance that is as perfect as this? (until The Limey, which is so in debt to this…)


As if he’s not enough (and he would be), there is a barely out of his teens Tim Roth and an excellent John Hurt performance as well. This movie sent me back to find as many of Stamp’s older movies as I could find, but it seems like some are – unbelievably – lost. Ken Loach’s Poor Cow is not on DVD and I have not seen it anywhere.

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Mark Mauer likes movies cuz the pictures move, and the screen talks like it's people. He once watched Tales from the Gilmli Hostpial three times in a single night, and is amazed DeNiro made good movies throughout the 80s, only to screw it all up in the 90s and beyond. He has met both Udo Kier and Werner Herzog, and he knows an Irishman who can quote at length from the autobiography of Klaus Kinksi.

3 thoughts on “Terence Stamp / Stephen Frears’ The Hit (1984)”

  1. I’m amazed I had never seen The Hit. It is a pretty wonderful film. Thanks for the recommendation. The Limey is still Stamp’s finest hour for me, but he is quietly superb in this as well. And I love way John Hurt finally gives a little smile at the end when he learns that Willie recognizes him from the past.

    I have a copy of Poor Cow, burnt for me several years ago by a friend in the Cinema Studies Department (after I was gushing about The Limey and wanted to see the original movie from which those flashbacks were taken). I’m guessing that it is not beyond my technological capabilities to burn another copy if you want it.

  2. Glad you liked it. I was also surprised I had not seen it or heard about it before, considering the names involved.

    I have managed to track down a pirated VHS transfer of Poor Cow from the net, and have watched the first half hour or so. I recently re-watched most of The Limey, and have Billy Budd in the queue.

    Apparently Stamp has also been playing the role of General Zod on a TV version of Superboy for most of the past decade. Hmm.

  3. I never saw Billy Budd. But I’ve read that Beau Travail is based on Billy Budd, and that is one of my favorite films. Anyone seen them both and can comment on similarities?

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