Kidnapping Movies

Kidnappings that backfire

There are a cluster of humorous stories dealing with botched kidnappings, and many require some assistance from the kidnap victim. Here are our favorite kidnapping movies:

Suicide Kings

What, Christopher Walken playing a mob boss? How unusual. He played a more memorable mafiosa in True Romance, but it is the character that suits him best. Charlie has retired from a life of crime when he gets kidnapped by a pack of well adjusted prep school buddies. Why? There's no point in giving the whole thing away. They stash him in a summer mansion in the Hamptons, duct taped to a desk chair. Most of Suicide Kings is shot around that one set. This could have been a play and except for the lame car scenes with bad Pulp Fiction dialog, it works fairly well. There are multiple ending on the DVD release so you can pick your favorite. Directed by Wayne Rice, who keeps the whole thing moving. 1998. 103 minutes. Rated R.


A failing North Dakota car salesman decides to have his wife kidnapped in this Coen brothers classic. If you haven't seen this, stop reading this and go rent it.

Savannah Smiles

Recommended by Christy Heath. We'll fill it in when we find a copy. Thanks, Christy.

Three Fugitives

Martin Short kidnaps Nick Nolte and botches it. Recommended by Jerame Carnagey. Thanks, Jerame.

A Life Less Ordinary

Kidnapping Movies - The Big LebowskiThis one is quite funny. The cast is great. Ewan MacGregor (remember him from Trainspotting?) is the reluctant kidnapper, while Cameron Diaz is his helpful victim. The story is enhanced by Holly Hunter and Delroy Lindo, who are angels empowered to teach humans the value of a loving relationship. There are an awful lot of angel movies around too. It sounds preachy, but they resort to automatic weapons, car crashes and time bombs to get their point across. Stanley Tucci is the orthodontist husband of Diaz, and Ian Holm also has a bit part. Rated R. 1997.

The Big Lebowski

Someday they'll make a movie and Steve Buscemi will not be in it. He's never the star, but here he plays Donny, an idiot bowling buddy of "The Dude" (Jeff Bridges) and Walter (John Goodman) . Joel and Ethan Coen threw this together with all the money left over from Fargo; and if it catches you in the right mood, it is a funny film. The Dude is a has-been 60's activist that gets sucked into a kidnapping plot. He gets paid to recover Julianne Moore, who may have been snatched by a band of German rock and roll nihilists (one of whom is played by "Flea"). The Big Lebowski gets a little goofy, but the cameos make it worth watching. John Turturro plays Jesus the flamenco bowling pederast, and Sam Elliot steals the show with his allotted 5 minutes. Ben Gazarra is a sleazoid Bob Guccione type . T Bone Burnett selected the music for the kick-ass soundtrack. Lots of cool characters with a little bit of a story.1998. 117 minutes. Rated R.

Ruthless People

You have to admit, Danny DeVito plays a great mean person. In this film he is a wealthy industrialist who defies his wife's kidnappers to kill her . Bette Midler is the victim being held by the none too vicious duo of Judge Rheinhold and Helen Slater. Very, very funny.1986. Rated R. 93 minutes.

Buffalo 66

Vincent Gallo is the director/writer/star in a film about one of the stupidest people ever born. Billy Brown gets out of jail and can't even find a place to take a leak. He kidnaps Christina Ricci and takes her home to prove to his parents he is not a loser. But he is, and they don't care anyway, because they're too busy watching Buffalo play football. We're informed via flashback that Billy went to jail because he made a large and ill advised bet on the same team. Two things are definite: upstate New York is depressing in the winter, and Ricci is a good actress. This movie might actually be brilliant. 1998. Rated R. Thanks to Wilbur177 for the suggestion.

Raising Arizona

An early comedy from the Coen Bros that feature Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter. They set out to steal a baby from a couple who has just had quintuplets. They wouldn't miss just one. Extremely funny. 1987. Rated PG 13. 90 minutes.

I Went Down

Git gets out of prison and heads straight for his local pub. While away, his girlfriend has linked up with his best friend, Auto (David Wilmet). Auto is also in over his head with the local bookies, who are prepared to do him some serious harm. Git intercedes, blinding one thug and breaking up another. The local mob boss is pissed that Git has been damaging his employees. To settle the score, he agrees to do a small collection job. Of course if it were simple, this would be a fairly short movie. He gets teamed up with a veteran heavy, Bunny Kelly (Brendan Gleeson), who gives him a primer in basic criminal behavior. They kidnap a well spoken fellow criminal from his well guarded lair and attempt to bring him back to pay a debt. It's a funny story and almost believable. All the actors are Irish, so this must be an Irish movie. 1998. Rated R. 118 minutes.


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