Tequila Sunrise

Released 1988


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Movie Summary

Robert Towne

Tequila Sunrise is a crime thriller that explores the relationship between a drug dealer, a cop and the woman they both love. Recently released from prison, Dale McKussic (Mel Gibson) tells everyone that he is trying to go clean. Things are complicated by his friendship with Nick Frescia (Kurt Russell), a Los Angeles cop who believes that McKussic will quickly fall back into his old ways. Frescia's suspicions are confirmed by Agent Hal Maguire (J.T. Walsh), a member of the DEA who is certain that McKussic is working with Mexican drug lord, Carlos (Raul Julia). Realizing that McKussic is attracted to restaurant owner, Jo Ann Vallenari (Michelle Pfeiffer), Frescia seduces her and the two fall into a relationship with each other. Ultimately, all of them are placed in danger as Carlos enacts his vicious plan to control the drug trade in Los Angeles. Will the friendship between the two men and the love they share for the same woman save them or doom them once bullets begin to fly?



Metacritic Score

  • 63

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Tequila Sunrise is an intriguing movie with interesting characters, but it might have worked better if it had found a cleaner narrative line from beginning to end. It's hard to sur...

  • 40

    The New York Times Vincent Canby

    The movie has the fuzzy focus of someone who has stared too long at a light bulb. Narrative points aren't made and the wrong points are emphasized. It could also be that too much f...

  • 30


    There's not much kick in this cocktail, despite its mix of quality ingredients. Casually glamorous South Bay is the setting for a story of little substance as writer-director Rober...

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson

Dale 'Mac' McKussic

Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell

Det. Lt. Nicholas 'Nick' Frescia

Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer

Jo Ann Vallenari

Arye Gross

Arye Gross

Andy Leonard

J.T. Walsh

J.T. Walsh

DEA Agent Hal Maguire

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


More Info About This Movie


Thrillers, Love & Romance, Crime, Adult, 80s