No Man's Land (1987 film)

No Man's Land

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Werner
Produced by Joseph Stern
Dick Wolf
Written by Dick Wolf
Music by Basil Poledouris
Cinematography Hiro Narita
Edited by Steven Cohen
Distributed by Orion Pictures Corporation
Release dates
  • October 23, 1987 (1987-10-23)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2,877,571

No Man's Land is a 1987 American crime film written by Dick Wolf directed by Peter Werner, and stars Charlie Sheen, D. B. Sweeney and Randy Quaid.

The basic plotline (undercover policeman falls in love with prime suspect's sister and cannot bring himself to make an arrest) is frequently cited as inspiring the film The Fast and the Furious.


When an undercover detective is shot dead while investigating a string of Porsche 911 thefts, Lieutenant Vincent Bracey assigns 22-year-old San Diego officer Benjamin "Benjy" Taylor to infiltrate a Porsche garage suspected to be a front for the grand theft auto scheme. Benjy is chosen because of his extensive mechanical knowledge of German cars and his rookie status, which dissuades others from suspecting that he is a cop. Bracey wants Benjy to obtain evidence that millionaire playboy Ted Varrick is the mastermind behind the thefts and the murder of the detective.

Using the alias "Billy Ayles", Benjy moves to Los Angeles and gets a job at Technique Porsche as a mechanic. After Benjy fixes Ted's Porsche one night, the two men become close friends, and Benjy becomes romantically attached to Ted's sister Ann. Benjy also discovers the presence of a rival syndicate led by Frank Martin, which leads him to believe that Ted is not the prime suspect despite Bracey's insistence.

Eventually, Ted brings Benjy into his side business of stealing Porsches, with garage manager Malcolm coordinating the operations. Benjy's first few attempts at stealing cars fail miserably, with Martin's syndicate catching on and slashing his hand as a warning. While doing a job at the mall, Benjy and Ted are confronted by Frank and his thugs, but they manage to lose them in a lengthy car chase. Ted rewards Benjy with a red Porsche that night. The next day, Ted goes to Technique Porsche and finds Malcolm has been murdered. In retaliation, he kills Frank at a night club.

During a phone conversation at a party, corrupt police Lieutenant Curtis Loos - who was hired by Ted to take out the detective in the film's opening - tells Ted about Benjy's real identity. The next night, Ted has Benjy meet Loos at a warehouse for a payoff. When Loos tries to kill Benjy, Ted runs him over to save his friend in spite of what he knows. Later, Benjy stops at Bracey's house to inform him of what happened with Loos, and accuses the Lieutenant of conspiring with him. Bracey kicks Benjy out, but tells him to call in the morning so they can work things out. Benji drives off, unaware that Ted is nearby, spying on him.

The next day, Benjy's cover is blown in front of Ann when his uncle Mike pays him a visit at his apartment. He goes to Bracey's house, only to find that Ted has murdered him. Ted is preparing to flee the country when Benjy convinces him to meet up at the mall, where he tries to arrest Ted for the murders. Ted refuses to go quietly and a gunfight breaks out; Benjy is wounded, but manages to shoot and kill Ted.



During filming of the final scene, Charlie Sheen was knocked unconscious when a squib that hardened overnight detonated at the wrong time. He sustained lacerations to his face and a loss of hearing on one ear that lasted four weeks.[1][2]


The original music score was composed by Basil Poledouris. Ska band The Untouchables performed live in the first party scene.


The film has received mixed reviews, with a score of 50% on Rotten Tomatoes.[3] Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, saying the movie "has lots of scenes of Sheen and Sweeney stealing cars, and it dwells on the details of their crimes, and the reckless way they risk capture. This is a movie about how money and excitement generate a seduction that can change personal values; it's better and deeper than you might expect."[4]

See also


  1. "Behind the Scenes of No Man's Land". The '80s Rewind. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  2. Flynn, Mike (2013-01-09). "Movie of the Day: No Man's Land (1987)". Retrieved 2013-02-02.
  3. No Man's Land at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. Roger Ebert - No Man's Land
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