Let's Get Harry

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Let's Get Harry
Movie poster
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg (as Alan Smithee)
Screenplay by Charles Robert Carner
Story by Mark Feldberg
Samuel Fuller
Starring Michael Schoeffling
Thomas F. Wilson
Glenn Frey
Rick Rossovich
Gary Busey
Mark Harmon
Robert Duvall
Music by Brad Fiedel
Cinematography James A. Contner
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • October 31, 1986 (1986-10-31)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $140,980

Let's Get Harry is a 1986 action film directed by Stuart Rosenberg. It stars Michael Schoeffling, Thomas F. Wilson, Glenn Frey, Rick Rossovich, Gary Busey, Mark Harmon and Robert Duvall.[1] Rosenberg chose to credit the film to Alan Smithee, a pseudonym used by directors who repudiate their involvement in a film.


The film opens in Colombia with an American engineer named Harry Burck (Harmon) on hand to oversee the opening of a water pipeline built by his company. Harry becomes embroiled in a kidnapping when a group of rebels arrives to kidnap an American diplomat who is on hand for the pipe's unveiling.

Word of the kidnapping reaches back to Harry's brother Corey (Schoeffling) and his friends Bob (Wilson), cocaine addict Spence (Frey) and Kurt (Rossovich), who were all awaiting Harry's return home to Illinois. The men, all coworkers at the same factory, learn that Harry was kidnapped by a drug lord named Carlos Ochobar. Corey and Bob travel to Washington, D.C. to seek assistance from the U.S. government, only to be rebuffed and told that the government is not going to mount any rescue attempt for Harry. We learn that the men (and everyone in the town) hold Harry in high regard, and that Harry's father, Harry Burck, Sr. (Ben Johnson), is despondent over the kidnapping of his son.

Kurt reminds his friends that they all owe Harry something, so he says their only choice is to rescue him themselves. Despite some resistance and skepticism from Kurt and Spence, all the men eventually agree to go. Before heading to Colombia, they enlist the financial help of a local car salesman named Jack (Gary Busey), who insists on going along as a condition of funding the rescue, and the military expertise of a decorated no-nonsense mercenary named Norman Shrike (Robert Duvall).

Once in Colombia, the group encounters resistance from the start, both from local officials and from the U.S. government. They eventually land in jail after being set up by one of Shrike's contacts who was supposedly going to supply them with weapons. The group is handed over to U.S. officials and put on a plane back home. The group manages to escape the plane at the last minute, but Kurt decides he has had enough and he stays behind on the plane in order to return home.

The group continues on without him, and resumes their trek toward Ochobar's camp. Eventually, they are engaged by rebels, and Shrike is killed in a firefight while saving one of the men's life. The group ventures on with the help of a local woman, Veronica, (Elpidia Carrillo), and they eventually find Ochobar's hideout. In the ensuing shootout with Ochobar's men, Jack is killed. The group is able to save Harry and then escape, destroying Ochobar's camp in the process.

Harry and the men return home to a hero's welcome in Illinois. Kurt, who had refused to continue on with the rescue, is shown emotionally waiting for the group to return. We see that the group holds no hard feelings towards Kurt, and they all triumphantly embrace.



Let's Get Harry performed very poorly at the box office, despite the notoriety of the ensemble cast. At the time of the film's release in 1986, Harmon was fresh from TV's St. Elsewhere, Schoeffling was two years removed from Sixteen Candles, Wilson had been in Back to the Future the year prior, Rossovich was starring in Top Gun, and Frey was famous for his role in the Eagles and his recent solo work such as the hit song "You Belong to the City". Both Duvall and Busey were well-established at the time, and screen legend Ben Johnson also appeared in the film.

In the director's cut of the film, Mark Harmon does not make an appearance of any kind until the final rescue sequence. Prior to the planned release, Harmon's popularity grew dramatically due to his work on St. Elsewhere and being named "Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine, and the producers wanted to make Harmon more at the center of the story over Rosenberg's objection. Additional footage was shot featuring Harmon's abduction and being held as a hostage. As a result, Rosenberg renounced the film, deciding to be credited as Alan Smithee.

Let's Get Harry was one of a number of 1980s films that centered on civilians partaking in hostage rescues without the help of the U.S. Government. Other similar films that were released around the same time were Uncommon Valor, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Iron Eagle, and The Rescue.

The movie was filmed on location in Illinois and in Veracruz, Mexico.


Let's Get Harry is currently only available on VHS and has not been released on DVD.


  1. "Let's Get Harry". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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