In the Line of Fire

Critics Consensus

A straightforward thriller of the highest order, In the Line of Fire benefits from Wolfgang Peterson's taut direction and charismatic performances from Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich.



Total Count: 67


Audience Score

User Ratings: 54,982
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Movie Info

Clint Eastwood delivers one of his finest performances, as a secret service agent haunted by his past in Wolfgang Petersen's taut thriller In the Line of Fire. Eastwood plays Frank Horrigan, a secret service agent who keeps thinking back to November 22, 1963, when, as an agent hand-picked by President Kennedy, he became one of the few agents to have lost a president to an assassin. Decades later, psychotic Mitch Leary (John Malkovich) is stalking another president (Jim Curley) running for re-election. He has spent long hours studying the psyche of Frank Horrigan, and he taunts Horrigan (feeling that there is a bond between them), telling him of his plans to kill the president. After his conversation with Leary, Horrigan makes sure he is assigned to presidential protection duty. Horrigan has no intention of failing his president this time around, and he is more than willing to take a bullet. But everything goes Leary's way -- he is smart and cagey and the president's aides refuse to alter the itinerary. As the election draws closer, Horrigan's chances to catch Leary look to be less and less a possibility, and he begins to doubt his own abilities -- both now and in the past, when Kennedy was murdered.


Clint Eastwood
as Frank Herrigan
John Malkovich
as Mitch Leary
Rene Russo
as Lilly Raines
Dylan McDermott
as Al D'Andrea
Gary Cole
as Bill Watts
Fred Dalton Thompson
as Harry Sargent
John Mahoney
as Sam Campagna
Jim Curley
as President
Sally Hughes
as First Lady
Clyde Kusatsu
as Jack Okura
John Heard
as Prof. Riger
Patrika Darbo
as Pam Magnus
Steve Hytner
as Tony Carducci
Tobin Bell
as Mendoza
Bob Schott
as Jimmy Hendrickson
Elsa Raven
as Leary's Landlady
Arthur Senzy
as Paramedic
Ryan Cutrona
as LAPD Brass
Lawrence Lowe
as FBI Technician
Brian Libby
as FBI Supervisor
Eric Bruskotter
as Young Agent
Patrick Caddell
as Political Speaker
Alan Toy
as Walter Wickland
Carl Ciarfalio
as CIA Agent Collins
Tyde Kierney
as Police Captain Howard
Anthony Peck
as FBI Official
Rick Hurst
as Bartender
Joshua Malina
as Agent Chavez
William G. Schilling
as Sanford Riggs
Michael Kirk
as Computer Technician/Bates
Richard G. Camphuis
as Party Fat Cat
Robert Alan Beuth
as Man at Bank
Susan Lee Hoffman
as Woman at Bank
Donna Hamilton
as Reporter at Dulles
Cylk Cozart
as Agent Cozart
Aaron Michael Lacey
as Police Officer
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News & Interviews for In the Line of Fire

Critic Reviews for In the Line of Fire

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (64) | Rotten (3)

  • Generously exciting, In the Line of Fire is mercifully free of that artificial energy that makes so many new movies look as if they were created with steroids.

    Feb 9, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • Petersen directs his film in a straightforward, workmanlike fashion-few surprises here -- and, curiously, for most of the film is better at establishing a kind of amiability than a hard tension.

    Jul 30, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Director Wolfgang Petersen moves the story along, but his real job is to simply stay out of the way of his two racehorse lead actors. And he does.

    Jul 30, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Every part of this film trades so heavily on Eastwood's presence that it is impossible to imagine it with anyone else in the starring role.

    Jul 30, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The movie has a clear, simple thriller logic that's far more satisfying than the static variations-on-a-massacre construction of Eastwood's Dirty Harry pictures and spaghetti Westerns.

    Jul 30, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Despite the presence of all these action-flick cliches, In the Line of Fire works. Sure, it's no more than a formula movie, but it's an effective formula movie.

    Jul 30, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for In the Line of Fire

  • Feb 15, 2013
    Clint plays old. He has been playing old for about four decades now and has the creases in his face to allow him to get away with it. Not bad but not outstanding. You figure that Dirty Harry would have found the crook and ended this a whole lot earlier than 120 minutes in.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2011
    Full Review Coming Soon!
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 11, 2011
    It's not easy being a Hollywood villain, especially when you're up against the charisma that is Clint Eastwood. But John Malkovich does an excellent job delivering a toe-to-toe performance with the grand daddy of heroes. His and Eastwood's performances push forward what would have been an average, done-a-lot-before movie into an exciting thrill ride.
    Sajin P Super Reviewer
  • Apr 11, 2011
    Wolfgang Petersen's In The Line Of Fire is a near flawless thriller about an active Secret service agent who served under JFK and who was on duty when Kennedy was assassinated. Following a plot by an assassin to kill the current President. Assassin Mitch Leary brilliantly played by John Malkovich torments Agent Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) that he will kill the President and that there is nothing that Horrigan can do to stop his plans. I thoroughly enjoyed In The Line Of Fire it has everything that you'd expect from a good Thriller. Clint Eastwood is in top form, and he delivers his best performance since the first Dirty Harry film. John Malkovich is excellent as Mitch Leary, he is the perfect choice to play the role of Leary. Malkovich lights up the screen in every scene he's in and he proves he's worthy adversary to Clint Eastwood's character. Wolfgang Petersen's directing is top notch, and the story he tells never lets up. In The Line Of Fire is very tense up until the climax, and is edge of your seat entertainment. Like I've mentioned before, In The Line Of Fire is an almost perfect Thriller, but a few parts where cheesy and could have been better. But for the most part, this film succeeds in being a terrific film. In The Line Of Fire, for me is one of the best Thrillers to ever be released. With Clint Eastwood (whom I am a big fan of) and John Malkovich that go head to head, it's a very exciting film going experience. Two brilliant actors give excellent performances and this is quite possibly the best, most smartly crafted Thriller in a long time. Truly unique, and jaw dropping entertainment.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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