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Cliffhanger (1993)

aka Cliffhanger

"The height of adventure."

Directed By: 
Details: 112 mins · English · R (USA)

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Cast:

Small Gabe Walker
Small Eric Qualen
Small Hal Tucker
Small Jessie Deighan
Small Richard Travers
Small Kristel - Jet Pilot
Small Kynette
Small Delmar
No_movie_poster Ryan
No_movie_poster Heldon
No_movie_poster Sarah
Small Evan
Small Walter Wright
Small Frank
No_movie_poster Brett
Small
No_movie_poster

Crew:

No_movie_poster Mario Kassar Executive Producer
No_movie_poster Trevor Jones Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Frank J. Urioste Editor
No_movie_poster Alan Marshall Producer
No_movie_poster Michael France Screenstory
Small Sylvester Stallone Screenplay
No_movie_poster Renny Harlin Director
No_movie_poster Norman Kent Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Alex Thomson Director of Photography
No_movie_poster John Long Author
No_movie_poster Renny Harlin Production

Taglines:

"The height of adventure."

"Hang on!"

Plot:

In the opening scene, hotshot mountain climber and rescue ranger Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) and fellow ranger Jessie Deighan (Janine Turner) are dispatched to pick up their friend Hal Tucker (Michael Rooker) on a narrow peak in the Rocky Mountains called "The Tower", where he was stranded after a knee injury. While moving from one mountaintop to a helicopter via a steel cable, Hal's girlfriend Sarah's (Michelle Joyner) harness breaks and she is left dangling over a deep chasm. While the others try frantically to come up with a solution, Gabe straps himself in and goes out to save Sarah, but is unsuccessful; her gloved hand slips through Gabe's and she falls 4,000 feet to her death in the chasm.


Eight months later, Gabe returns to town for the first time since Sarah's funeral. Overcome with guilt over having lost Sarah, Gabe has returned only to pack his remaining possessions to leave permanently and convince Jessie to come with him. However, a radio distress call comes in to the local rescue center where Hal and Jessie still work. Hal heads off to find the stranded climbers while Jessie pleads with Gabe to join Hal's rescue attempt. Battling his inner demons Gabe meets Hal on the mountain, where Hal, still angry with Gabe for being unsuccessful at saving Sarah, lashes out and almost throws Gabe off a ledge.


The distress call turns out to be a fake; the two climbers are taken prisoner by a group of ruthless thieves led by former Military Intelligence member Eric Qualen (John Lithgow), who seeks to recover three suitcases containing $100 million in uncirculated $1,000 bills belonging to the U.S. Treasury Department. With the aid of turncoat U.S. Treasury agent Richard Travers (Rex Linn), Qualen and his mercenaries attempt to steal the suitcases via a daring air-to-air transfer, but the transfer is foiled and the three suitcases are lost among the mountains and two die during the heist. The thieves' plane loses power during the attempt and crashes. The suitcases holding the money have beacon locators, but the thieves need expert help locating them in the mountainous terrain, thus prompting them to summon the unwitting Gabe and Hal to their aid.


The group locates the first of the three cases, and Gabe is tethered to a rope and ordered to scale a steep wall to retrieve it. Gabe frees himself from the rope, and the group begins firing up the mountain, causing an avalanche which kills Heldon (Denis Forest), one of Qualen's thugs. Seeing the money flutter down from the top of the mountain, Qualen presumes Gabe dead and orders the group to proceed to the second case.


Gabe survives the avalanche and makes his way to an abandoned cabin where he finds Jessie, who was airlifted into the area earlier. Together, they reach the second case only moments before Qualen and his mercenaries arrive. They find the case empty (except for a single $1,000 bill with the words "Want to Trade?" written on it) and split up to find Gabe. Qualen's mercenary Ryan (Gregory Scott Cummins) chases after Gabe and Jessie. Gabe and Ryan slide down a hill, fighting and the thug is killed when he flies down into an abyss, as Gabe hangs onto a cliff at the last second. Two of Hal's friends, casually hanging out on the mountain, run into Hal and the thieves. Hal tells them to run, and as they do, one is shot dead by Qualen's mercenary Kynette (Leon Robinson). The other parachutes off a cliff, where his parachute is caught on a tree branch, leaving him dangling off the ground. When Gabe makes an attempt to climb out of a crevice, he is spotted by Kynette. A fight ensues between Gabe and Kynette in the cave, resulting in the latter being impaled on a stalactite, after beating the former up. Gabe tries to pick up the thief's radio to call the rescue helicopter, but Hal alerts Gabe that Qualen is planting explosives directly above him and plans to kill him. Gabe and Jessie barely escape.


The thieves, with Hal still as their guide, make their way to the abandoned cabin for the night. Meanwhile, Gabe and Jessie hole up in a cave and stay warm by burning the money they found to stoke their fire. The helicopter pilot, Frank (Ralph Waite), having not received any response from Jessie, Gabe, or Hal, flies over to the mountain, where he finds Hal's friend stuck in the tree, cuts him down, transports him to safety, and alerts the authorities as well.


The following morning, Gabe and Jessie attempt to beat the thieves to the remaining case. Kristel (Caroline Goodall) flags down the helicopter. Against Qualen's orders, Delmar (Craig Fairbrass) shoots Frank. Hal crawls over and Frank, just before dying, gives him a knife. Hal sticks it in his boot, and the thieves walk over to the helicopter. Travers, at this point, pulls a gun on Qualen, telling everyone that he is now in charge of the operation. Qualen, held at gunpoint, states that without someone to pilot the helicopter, nobody will even be able to get off the mountain, and shoots dead Kristel, the only other mercenary with piloting experience.


Once again with leverage over Travers, Qualen asks Travers, Hal, and Delmar track the case. Once within a reasonably close distance to the case, Travers leaves Delmar to kill Hal, only to find that Gabe has beaten him to the case once again. Delmar beats Hal and nearly kicks him off a cliff, but Hal stabs Delmar in one of his legs and shoots the thug with his own shotgun. Meanwhile, Jessie, who signaled the rescue helicopter thinking it to be Frank, is taken hostage by Qualen. Travers discovers that Gabe has found the last case before him, and furiously chases him causing Gabe to fall into the frozen river. Under the ice, Gabe outsmarts Travers and shoots the crooked Treasury agent with his bolt gun. His dead body is carried away by the river.


Communicating by radio, Qualen and Gabe make a deal to exchange Jessie for the money Gabe collected from the third case. Qualen releases Jessie, but Gabe throws the bag of money into the helicopter's rotors. In the following confusion, Qualen's helicopter falls precariously against the side of the mountain, suspended by a steel cable. Gabe and Qualen fight atop the dangling wreck. Gabe manages to jump off as the wreckage falls several thousand feet and explodes, killing Qualen. Tucker quotes "If you're looking for Mr. Qualen, try about 4,000 feet south of here. He'll be the one wearing a helicopter." The film ends as Gabe, Hal, and Jessie are found by federal agents and rescued.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1993-05-28 : United States of America

DVD : 1997-11-11

DVD : 1997-11-26