Nowhere to Run (1993 film)

Nowhere to Run is a 1993 American action film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and directed by Robert Harmon. The film co-stars Rosanna Arquette, Kieran Culkin, Ted Levine and Joss Ackland. The film was released in the United States on January 15, 1993.[2]

Nowhere to Run
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Harmon
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Music byMark Isham
CinematographyDavid Gribble
Edited by
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • January 15, 1993 (1993-01-15)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million
Box office$64 million[1]


Sam Gillen (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a Québécois convict in the United States who escapes from Federal custody with the aid of his bank-robbing partner. In their last heist, Sam's partner killed a bank guard, a crime for which Sam was ultimately convicted. Sam's partner is killed in the break, forcing Sam to continue on alone. He sets up camp on a piece of farmland owned by Clydie Anderson (Rosanna Arquette), the widowed mother of two kids, Mike (nicknamed "Mookie") (Kieran Culkin) and Bree (Tiffany Taubman).

While sneaking into Clydie's house to "borrow" some salt, Sam catches sight of Clydie taking a shower. The next morning, Sam is spotted bathing outdoors by Mookie. After saving Clydie, Mookie, and Bree from a trio of intruding thugs, Sam learns that Clydie is holding out from selling her land to property developer Franklin Hale (Joss Ackland), who will be put out of business if he does not get Clydie's land so that he can put a tract house development on it.

Sam stays in Clydie's barn while repairing her late husband's Triumph motorcycle. Meanwhile Hale has one of his men, Mr. Dunston (Ted Levine), try to force Clydie into selling her land. Secretly on Hale's payroll is the corrupt Sheriff Lonnie Poole (Edward Blatchford), who harbors romantic feelings for Clydie.

A jealous Lonnie discovers Sam's true identity and strongly urges him to leave. Sam complies, only to find the state police chasing him. Sam returns to find that Dunston and Hale have forced Clydie to sign a sale agreement in his absence and are about to burn down her house. He is able to save Clydie and her home just in time; After Sam kills Dunston, Hale is arrested.

Sam decides to turn himself in to the authorities after he realizes that running away was never the right thing to do. He promises Clydie that he will come back someday.



Joe Eszterhas wrote the original script with director Richard Marquand, with whom he had made two films. "The script was taken and destroyed many years later by Jean-Claude Van Damme as Nowhere to Run," said Eszterhas. "It lost its sensitivity, it lost everything. I don't like to remember that movie."[3]

The film was the first in a three picture deal between Van Damme and Columbia Pictures. His fee was $3.5 million. Columbia said the film is ”true to his audience and goes beyond his audience."[4]

Van Damme later said, "the script was... not that good. The writer told me he was going to fix everything. I was in his house, he shook my hand, he promised me, but he didn't fix it."[5]


The film received mostly mixed reviews from critics.[6][7][8][9][10] Rotten Tomatoes reports that 30% of 23 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 4/10.[11] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[12]

Box office

Nowhere to Run opened January 15, 1993, in 1,745 theaters. In its opening weekend, the film made $8,203,255, at #4 behind Aladdin's tenth weekend, A Few Good Men's sixth, and Alive's first weekend.[13]

The film finally grossed $22,189,039 in the United States and Canada.[14] The film performed better internationally, grossing $41.9 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $64 million.[1]


  1. Klady, Leonard (January 3, 1994). "Warner Bros. tops hot box office 100". Variety. p. 42.
  2. Thomas, Kevin (1993-01-18). "Van Damme flexes his acting muscles in 'run'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  3. Vulliamy, Ed (20 August 2000). "The Hollywood Hitman". The Guardian.
  4. Cagle, Jess (22 January 1993). "Career makeover: Jean-Claude Van Damme". EW.
  5. Grobel, Lawrence (January 1995). "Interview with Jean Claude Van Damme". Playboy magazine.
  6. Canby, Vincent (1993-01-16). "A Kickboxer's Evolution Into a Two-Fisted Lawyer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
  7. "Nowhere to Run". Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  8. "Nowhere to Run". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  9. "Nowhere to Run". Washington Post. 1993-01-18. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  10. "Nowhere to Run". Variety. 1992-12-31. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  11. Nowhere to Run at Rotten Tomatoes
  12. "CinemaScore".
  13. Fox, David J. (1993-01-19). "Weekend Box Office `Body' Struggles to Make the Top 5". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
  14. Nowhere to Run at Box Office Mojo
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