Lethal Weapon

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Lethal Weapon

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| caption =
 
| caption =
 
| director = [[Richard Donner]]
 
| director = [[Richard Donner]]
| producer = Richard Donner<br>[[Joel Silver]]
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| producer = [[Joel Silver]]
| writer = [[Wikipedia:Shane Black|Shane Black]]
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| writer =
 
| screenplay =
 
| screenplay =
| based on =
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| based on =
 
| starring = [[Mel Gibson]]<br>[[Danny Glover]]<br>[[Gary Busey]]<br>[[Mitchell Ryan]]
 
| starring = [[Mel Gibson]]<br>[[Danny Glover]]<br>[[Gary Busey]]<br>[[Mitchell Ryan]]
| music = [[Wikipedia:Michael Kamen|Michael Kamem]]<br>[[Wikipedia:Eric Clapton|Eric Clapton]]
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| music =
| cinematography = [[Wikipedia:Stephen Goldblatt|Stephen Goldblatt]]
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| cinematography =
| editing = [[Wikipedia:Stuart Baird|Stuart Baird]]
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| editing =
 
| distributor = [[Warner Bros.]]
 
| distributor = [[Warner Bros.]]
| released = March 6, 1987
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| released =
| runtime = 110 minutes
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| runtime =
| country = [[Wikipedia:United States|United States]]
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| country =
| language = English
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| language =
| budget = $ 15 million
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| budget =
| gross = $ 120.2 million
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| gross =
 
| preceded_by = First of the series
 
| preceded_by = First of the series
 
| followed_by = [[Lethal Weapon 2]]
 
| followed_by = [[Lethal Weapon 2]]
 
}}
 
}}
'''Lethal Weapon''' is the first entry in the [[Lethal Weapon Series]]. Directed by [[Richard Donner]], the film was released on March 6, 1987, and stars [[Mel Gibson]] and [[Danny Glover]] as [[Los Angeles Police Department|LAPD]] officers [[Martin Riggs]] and [[Roger Murtaugh]].
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'''Lethal Weapon''' is the first entry in the [[Lethal Weapon Series]]. Directed by [[Richard Donner]], the film was released on March 6, 1987, and stars [[Mel Gibson]] and [[Danny Glover]] as [[LAPD]] officers [[Martin Riggs]] and [[Roger Murtaugh]].
   
 
==Plot==
 
==Plot==
LAPD Sergeant Roger Murtaugh is worried about getting older, having recently celebrated his 50th birthday, receives a message from [[Michael Hunsaker]], an old war buddy from Vietnam he hasn't seen in 12 years. Called to investigate a suicide, he is horrified to find the victim is [[Amanda Hunsaker]], daughter of Michael. Elsewhere, younger L.A.P.D. Sergeant Martin Riggs, depressed and suicidal following the recent death of his wife, nearly kills a disarmed suspect after entering a psychotic rage during a drug bust. Weary of his behavior, Riggs' superiors transfer him to Murtaugh's unit, making them very reluctant partners.
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LAPD Sergeant [[Roger Murtaugh]] is worried about getting older, having recently celebrated his 50th birthday, and received a message from [[Michael Hunsaker]], an old war buddy from Vietnam he hasn't seen in 12 years. Called to investigate a suicide, he is horrified to find the victim is [[Amanda Hunsaker]], daughter of Michael. Elsewhere, younger L.A.P.D. Sergeant [[Martin Riggs]], depressed and suicidal following the recent death of his wife, nearly kills a disarmed suspect after entering a psychotic rage during a drug bust. Weary of his behavior, Riggs' superiors transfer him to Murtaugh's unit, making them very reluctant partners.
   
During Amanda's autopsy, liquid drain cleaner was found in her system. Supposedly, her barbiturates were all laced with liquid drain cleaner, which ended up in her system in the process. Although she jumped to her death, she would have died within minutes anyway, making her death a homicide, not a suicide. After informing her distraught father, who says he was trying to contact Murtaugh to get Amanda out of her drug and pornography habits, Riggs and Murtaugh go to question a pimp known to have connections to Amanda. Finding a drug lab on the premises, they engage in a brief gunfight with the pimp, where Riggs saves Murtaugh's life, leading to there being respect between them. Having found the drugs and with the pimp dead, Murtaugh assumes the case is closed, but Riggs finds it suspicious that the only witness to Amanda's suicide was a prostitute named [[Dixie]], who was working away from her usual location. They deduce Dixie was the one who poisoned Amanda, then posed as a witness to cover her actions.
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During Amanda's autopsy, liquid drain cleaner was found in her system. Supposedly, her barbiturates were laced with liquid drain cleaner, which ended up in her system in the process. Although she jumped to her death, she would have died within minutes anyway, making her death a murder, not a suicide. After informing her distraught father, who says he was trying to contact Murtaugh to get Amanda out of her drug and pornography habits, Riggs and Murtaugh go to question a pimp known to have connections to Amanda. Finding a drug lab on the premises, they engage in a brief gunfight with the pimp, where Riggs saves Murtaugh's life, leading to there being respect between them. Having found the drugs and with the pimp dead, Murtaugh assumes the case is closed, but Riggs finds it suspicious that the only witness to Amanda's suicide was a prostitute named [[Dixie]], who was working away from her usual location. They deduce Dixie was the one who poisoned Amanda, then posed as a witness to cover her actions.
   
The next morning, Riggs and Murtaugh go to Dixie's home to question her, but her house explodes just as they arrive. Investigating the site, Riggs (a former Special Forces soldier in Vietnam) finds part of the bomb, a mercury switch, knowing only a professional would use such a device. A [[Alfred|neighborhood child]] also remembers seeing a Caucasian blonde man at Dixie's earlier circling the perimeter and checking the meter there, who had a Special Forces tattoo similar to Riggs' own. Seeing a connection to Vietnam, they decide Michael Hunsaker knows more than he has admitted and Murtaugh confronts him at Amanda's wake.
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The next morning, Riggs and Murtaugh go to Dixie's home to question her, but her house explodes just as they arrive. Investigating the site, Riggs (a former Special Forces soldier in Vietnam) finds part of the bomb, a mercury switch, knowing only a professional would use such a device. A [[Alfred|neighbourhood child]] also remembers seeing a Caucasian blonde man at Dixie's earlier circling the perimeter and checking the meter there, who had a Special Forces tattoo similar to Riggs' own. Seeing a connection to Vietnam, they decide Michael Hunsaker knows more than he has admitted and Murtaugh confronts him at Amanda's wake.
   
Hunsaker admits he is involved in a heroin-smuggling operation run by Vietnam War special forces troops, known as 'Shadow Company' (see Air America). The scheme is masterminded by a ruthless retired General, [[Peter McAllister]] - the former commander of Shadow Company - and his chief enforcer and second-in-command, [[Mr. Joshua]]. Hunsaker was laundering their profits through his bank. McAllister had ordered the murder of Amanda when Michael wanted out and unsuccessfully tried to alert Murtaugh to the scheme. Just as Hunsaker was about to reveal the entire operation to Murtaugh, Mr. Joshua makes a surprise appearance in a helicopter and shoots Hunsaker dead with a sniper rifle.
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Hunsaker admits he is involved in a heroin-smuggling operation run by Vietnam War special forces troops, known as 'Shadow Company' (see Air America). The scheme is masterminded by a ruthless retired General, Peter McAllister (Mitchell Ryan) - the former commander of Shadow Company - and his chief enforcer and second-in-command, Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey). Hunsaker was laundering their profits through his bank. McAllister had ordered the murder of Amanda when Michael wanted out and unsuccessfully tried to alert Murtaugh to the scheme. Just as Hunsaker was about to reveal the entire operation to Murtaugh, Mr. Joshua makes a surprise appearance in a helicopter and shoots Hunsaker dead with a sniper rifle.
   
 
As Riggs and Murtaugh attempt to investigate Dixie's connection, the increasingly violent members of Shadow Company make an attempt to kill Riggs (which they believe is successful, though Riggs had been wearing a bulletproof vest the entire time) and then kidnap Murtaugh's daughter Rianne. Using Riggs' presumed-dead status to their advantage, Murtaugh agrees to meet Shadow Company in the desert to exchange himself for Rianne, knowing Shadow Company's plan is to kill them all anyway. As Riggs provides sniper cover from a distance, Roger attempts to make Rianne flee, but ultimately all the three are captured. McAllister tortures Murtaugh to reveal which of their drug shipments have been compromised, eventually threatening Rianne when Murtaugh is not forthcoming, refusing to believe Hunsaker told them nothing, even after they've killed him before he could tell them the whole thing. Riggs, brutally tortured with electric shocks by Endo, kills Endo by breaking his neck. He frees himself and then rescues both Murtaugh and Rianne. The pair then fight their way free of their interrogation chamber, finding themselves in a downtown L.A. nightclub. Riggs chases Joshua on to the street and attempts to cut him off on the freeway, though Joshua ultimately escapes. Murtaugh finds McAllister trying to flee in his car. Taking out McAllister's driver, Murtaugh watches as the car is hit by a bus on Hollywood Boulevard and is blown up by a live hand grenade (along with the heroin shipment). Riggs and Murtaugh then head to Murtaugh's home, knowing Joshua will head there to attack Murtaugh's family, who are absent. Seeking revenge, Riggs engages Joshua in hand-to-hand combat on Murtaugh's front lawn; after a long and brutal exchange and being in triangle choke-hold by Riggs, Riggs is the victor. As he's being handcuffed by two officers, Joshua overpowers the two arresting officers, steals one of their pistols, and attempts to shoot Riggs and Murtaugh. Riggs and Murtaugh both draw their guns and fire simultaneously, killing Joshua.
 
As Riggs and Murtaugh attempt to investigate Dixie's connection, the increasingly violent members of Shadow Company make an attempt to kill Riggs (which they believe is successful, though Riggs had been wearing a bulletproof vest the entire time) and then kidnap Murtaugh's daughter Rianne. Using Riggs' presumed-dead status to their advantage, Murtaugh agrees to meet Shadow Company in the desert to exchange himself for Rianne, knowing Shadow Company's plan is to kill them all anyway. As Riggs provides sniper cover from a distance, Roger attempts to make Rianne flee, but ultimately all the three are captured. McAllister tortures Murtaugh to reveal which of their drug shipments have been compromised, eventually threatening Rianne when Murtaugh is not forthcoming, refusing to believe Hunsaker told them nothing, even after they've killed him before he could tell them the whole thing. Riggs, brutally tortured with electric shocks by Endo, kills Endo by breaking his neck. He frees himself and then rescues both Murtaugh and Rianne. The pair then fight their way free of their interrogation chamber, finding themselves in a downtown L.A. nightclub. Riggs chases Joshua on to the street and attempts to cut him off on the freeway, though Joshua ultimately escapes. Murtaugh finds McAllister trying to flee in his car. Taking out McAllister's driver, Murtaugh watches as the car is hit by a bus on Hollywood Boulevard and is blown up by a live hand grenade (along with the heroin shipment). Riggs and Murtaugh then head to Murtaugh's home, knowing Joshua will head there to attack Murtaugh's family, who are absent. Seeking revenge, Riggs engages Joshua in hand-to-hand combat on Murtaugh's front lawn; after a long and brutal exchange and being in triangle choke-hold by Riggs, Riggs is the victor. As he's being handcuffed by two officers, Joshua overpowers the two arresting officers, steals one of their pistols, and attempts to shoot Riggs and Murtaugh. Riggs and Murtaugh both draw their guns and fire simultaneously, killing Joshua.
   
Riggs goes to visit his wife [[Victoria Riggs|Victoria]]'s grave and puts flowers on it, and says, "Merry Christmas, Victoria Lynn. I love you." Murtaugh and Riggs are now solid friends, and Riggs spends Christmas Day at the Murtaugh home with Roger's family; Riggs brings his dog Sam to be a friend to the Murtaugh family cat, Burbank. Riggs also gives Murtaugh a symbolic gift: the unfired hollow point bullet which he had been saving to commit suicide with, as he doesn't need it anymore, which Murtaugh would've figured out and understood from there.
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Riggs goes to visit his wife Victoria's grave and puts flowers on it, and says, "Merry Christmas, Victoria Lynn. I love you." Murtaugh and Riggs are now solid friends, and Riggs spends Christmas Day at the Murtaugh home with Roger's family; Riggs brings his dog Sam to be a friend to the Murtaugh family cat, Burbank. Riggs also gives Murtaugh a symbolic gift: the unfired hollow point bullet which he had been saving to commit suicide with, as he doesn't need it anymore, which Murtaugh would've figured out and understood from there.
   
 
==Cast==
 
==Cast==
'''The Murtaugh Family'''
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*[[Mel Gibson]] as [[Martin Riggs]]
*[[Danny Glover]] as [[Roger Murtaugh]]
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*[[Danny Glover]] as [[Roger Murtaugh]]
*[[Darlene Love]] as [[Trish Murtaugh]], Roger's wife
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*[[Gary Busey]] as [[Mr. Joshua]]
*[[Traci Wolfe]] as [[Rianne Murtaugh]], Roger & Trish's daughter
 
*[[Damon Hines]] as [[Nick Murtaugh]], Roger & Trish's son
 
*[[Ebonie Smith]] as [[Carrie Murtaugh]], Roger & Trish's daughter
 
 
'''Other Cast'''
 
*[[Mel Gibson]] as [[Martin Riggs]], Roger's partner
 
*[[Gary Busey]] as [[Mr. Joshua]]
 
 
*[[Mitchell Ryan]] as [[Peter McAllister]]
 
*[[Mitchell Ryan]] as [[Peter McAllister]]
*[[Tom Atkins]] as [[Michael Hunsaker]]
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*[[Donald Gooden]]<span class=""> as </span>[[Alfred]]
*[[Steve Kahan]] as [[Ed Murphy|Captain Murphy]]
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*[[Tom Atkins]] as [[Michael Hunsaker]]
*[[Al Leong]] as [[Endo]]
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*[[Traci Wolfe]]<span> as </span>[[Rianne Murtaugh-Butters|Rianne Murtaugh]]
*[[Gustav Vintas]] as [[Gustaf]]
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*[[Ebonie Smith]]<span> as </span>[[Carrie Murtaugh]]
*[[Donald Gooden]] as [[Alfred]]
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*[[Damon Hines]]<span> as </span>[[Nick Murtaugh]]
*[[Ed O'Ross]] as [[Mendez]]
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*[[Darlene Love]]<span> as </span>[[Trish Murtaugh]]
*[[Jack Thibeau]] as [[Sergeant McCaskey]]
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*[[Al Leong]]<span class=""> as </span>[[Endo]]
*[[Lycia Naff]] as [[Dixie]]
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*[[Gustav Vintas]]<span> as </span>[[Gustaf]]
*[[Michael Shaner]] as [[Len McCleary]]
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*[[Steve Kahan]] as [[ Ed Murphy|Captain Murphy]]
*[[Mary Ellen Trainor]] as [[Stephanie Woods]]
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*[[Jack Thibeau]]<span> as </span>[[Sergeant McCaskey|Detective McCaskey]]
*[[Jackie Swanson]] as [[Amanda Hunsaker]]
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*[[Ed O'Ross]]<span> as </span>[[Mendez]]
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*[[Lycia Naff]]<span> as </span>[[Dixie]]
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*[[Jackie Swanson]]<span class=""> as </span>[[Amanda Hunsaker]]
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*[[Mary Ellen Trainor]] as [[Stephanie Woods|Stephanie Woods]]
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*? as [[Mr. Larch]]
 
*[[Grand L. Bush]] as [[Detective Boyette]]
 
*[[Grand L. Bush]] as [[Detective Boyette]]
*? as [[Mr. Larch]]
 
*? as [[Selma Wells]]
 
 
*[[Burbank the Cat]]
 
*[[Burbank the Cat]]
 
*[[Sam the Dog]]
 
*[[Sam the Dog]]
*? as The Sniper
 
   
 
==Production==
 
==Production==
 
===Development===
 
===Development===
Recent UCLA graduate [[Wikipedia:Shane Black|Shane Black]] wrote the screenplay in mid-1985. His agent sent it to producer [[Joel Silver]], who loved the story and worked with Black to further develop the script. After they took it to [[Warner Bros.]] in early 1986, studio production executives offered it to director Richard Donner, who also loved it. Leonard Nimoy was one of the choices considered for directing, but he did not feel comfortable doing action films, and he was working on ''Three Men and a Baby'' at the time. With those key elements in place, the search began for the right combination of actors to play Riggs and Murtaugh.
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Recent UCLA graduate [[Shane Black]] wrote the screenplay in mid-1985. His agent sent it to producer [[Joel Silver]], who loved the story and worked with Black to further develop the script. After they took it to [[Warner Bros.]] in early 1986, studio production executives offered it to director Richard Donner, who also loved it. Leonard Nimoy was one of the choices considered for directing, but he did not feel comfortable doing action films, and he was working on ''Three Men and a Baby'' at the time. With those key elements in place, the search began for the right combination of actors to play Riggs and Murtaugh.
   
 
Casting director Marion Dougherty first suggested teaming Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. She arranged for Gibson to fly in from his home in [[Sydney]] while Glover was flown in from [[Chicago]], where he was appearing in a play, to read through the script. According to a June 2007 ''Vanity Fair'' magazine article, Bruce Willis was considered for the Riggs role. This is referenced in the spoof of the ''Lethal Weapon'' films, ''Loaded Weapon 1''. Bruce (as John McClane) appears after the villains attack the wrong beach residence, looking for the protagonist.
 
Casting director Marion Dougherty first suggested teaming Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. She arranged for Gibson to fly in from his home in [[Sydney]] while Glover was flown in from [[Chicago]], where he was appearing in a play, to read through the script. According to a June 2007 ''Vanity Fair'' magazine article, Bruce Willis was considered for the Riggs role. This is referenced in the spoof of the ''Lethal Weapon'' films, ''Loaded Weapon 1''. Bruce (as John McClane) appears after the villains attack the wrong beach residence, looking for the protagonist.
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Both actors were signed by early spring 1986. Gibson and Glover then flew home to pack, and, returning to [[Los Angeles]], began an intensive two months of physical training and preparation. Meanwhile, the crucial role of Joshua was settled when Gary Busey asked for a chance to read for the part. An established star since his [[Academy Award]]-nominated performance in ''[[The Buddy Holly Story]]'', Busey had not auditioned for longer than he could remember. "I had butterflies," he realized. "I'd never played a bad guy. And no one had seen me since I'd lost 60 pounds and got back into shape. But I decided to take the initiative in order to have the opportunity to work with Dick, Joel, Mel and Danny. I'm constantly looking for someone to pull the best performance out of me and any of those guys could. They even talked me into dyeing my hair!" In his ''E! True Hollywood Story'' biography, Busey says he was hired to play Joshua because they were looking for someone big and menacing enough to be a believable foe for Mel Gibson. Busey also credits the film for reviving his failing film career.
 
Both actors were signed by early spring 1986. Gibson and Glover then flew home to pack, and, returning to [[Los Angeles]], began an intensive two months of physical training and preparation. Meanwhile, the crucial role of Joshua was settled when Gary Busey asked for a chance to read for the part. An established star since his [[Academy Award]]-nominated performance in ''[[The Buddy Holly Story]]'', Busey had not auditioned for longer than he could remember. "I had butterflies," he realized. "I'd never played a bad guy. And no one had seen me since I'd lost 60 pounds and got back into shape. But I decided to take the initiative in order to have the opportunity to work with Dick, Joel, Mel and Danny. I'm constantly looking for someone to pull the best performance out of me and any of those guys could. They even talked me into dyeing my hair!" In his ''E! True Hollywood Story'' biography, Busey says he was hired to play Joshua because they were looking for someone big and menacing enough to be a believable foe for Mel Gibson. Busey also credits the film for reviving his failing film career.
   
Stunt coordinator [[Bobby Bass]] planned and supervised all phases of Gibson's and Glover's intense pre-production training; physical conditioning, weight workouts, and weapons handling and safety. Bass also used his own military experiences to bring a greater depth of understanding to the Riggs character. To familiarize the actors with the specialized skills and sensibilities acquired by undercover cops, arrangements were made for Gibson and Glover to spend time in the field accompanying working [[LAPD|L.A.P.D.]] officers. Throughout filming, technical advisers from the L.A.P.D. as well as the L.A. County Sheriff's Department worked closely with Donner and the actors to ensure authenticity.
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Stunt coordinator [[Bobby Bass]] planned and supervised all phases of Gibson's and Glover's intense pre-production training; physical conditioning, weight workouts, and weapons handling and safety. Bass also used his own military experiences to bring a greater depth of understanding to the Riggs character. To familiarize the actors with the specialized skills and sensibilities acquired by undercover cops, arrangements were made for Gibson and Glover to spend time in the field accompanying working [[LAPD|L.A.P.D.]] officers. Throughout filming, technical advisers from the L.A.P.D. as well as the L.A. County Sheriff's Department worked closely with Donner and the actors to ensure authenticity.
   
 
===Filming===
 
===Filming===
[[File:Lethal_Weapon_Graumans_Theater.jpg|thumb|Lethal Weapon banner at Grauman's Chinese Theater, 1987.]]
 
 
''Lethal Weapon'' began principal photography on August 6, 1986, shooting on locations throughout the Los Angeles area, as well as on the backlot facilities of Burbank Studios. Filming began in Long Beach, with helicopter camera work that would set the tone for the opening title sequence and the first spectacular stunt of the film. The company then moved to Palos Verdes, Santa Monica, Studio City, West Hollywood, and Inglewood with one week out-of-town in [[El Mirage Lake|El Mirage]], an enormous dry lake bed outside Victorville.
 
''Lethal Weapon'' began principal photography on August 6, 1986, shooting on locations throughout the Los Angeles area, as well as on the backlot facilities of Burbank Studios. Filming began in Long Beach, with helicopter camera work that would set the tone for the opening title sequence and the first spectacular stunt of the film. The company then moved to Palos Verdes, Santa Monica, Studio City, West Hollywood, and Inglewood with one week out-of-town in [[El Mirage Lake|El Mirage]], an enormous dry lake bed outside Victorville.
   
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One sequence shows a theatre marquee advertising ''The Lost Boys'', a film Donner was producing at the time. A short segment of the 1951 film ''A Christmas Carol'' is shown on a television towards the film's end.
 
One sequence shows a theatre marquee advertising ''The Lost Boys'', a film Donner was producing at the time. A short segment of the 1951 film ''A Christmas Carol'' is shown on a television towards the film's end.
 
===Deleted scenes===
 
There are some deleted scenes from the film that did not make the final cut of the film. Excluding scenes featured in the Director's cut edition of the movie, below are the scenes listed in order from the bonus features of ''Lethal Weapon'':
 
   
 
==Music==
 
==Music==
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==Release==
 
==Release==
 
===Box office===
 
===Box office===
Released on March 6, 1987, ''Lethal Weapon'' was No. 1 at the box office for three weeks before Blind Date'' supplanted it. It grossed $120.2 million worldwide and was nominated for Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing (Les Fresholtz, Dick Alexander, Vern Poore and Bill Nelson) (losing to ''The Last Emperor''). It is widely considered to be one of the best buddy cop films of all time, influencing numerous "buddy cop" films such as ''Tango & Cash'', ''Bad Boys'' and the ''Rush Hour'' series.''
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Released on March 6, 1987, ''Lethal Weapon'' was No. 1 at the box office for three weeks before Blind Date'' supplanted it. It grossed $120.2 million worldwide and was nominated for Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing (Les Fresholtz, Dick Alexander, Vern Poore and Bill Nelson) (losing to ''The Last Emperor''). It is widely considered to be one of the best buddy cop films of all time, influencing numerous "buddy cop" films such as ''Tango & Cash'', ''Bad Boys'' and the ''Rush Hour'' series.
   
 
===Critical reception===
 
===Critical reception===
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