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Broadway's Nightmare

Directed by

Quentin Tarantino

Produced by

Quentin Tarantino
Robert De Niro

Screenplay by

Quentin Tarantino


Samuel L. Jackson
Tom Cruise
Tim Curry
James Earl Jones
Emma Stone
Ariel Winter
Harvey Keitel
Vanessa Hudgens
Viola Davis
Quentin Tarantino

Music by

Enio Morricone


Robert Richardson

Edited by

Fred Raskin

Distributed by

The Weinstein Company

Release date(s)

2nd December 2017

Running time

200 minutes






$32 million


Broadway's Nightmare is an American crime film written, produced, directed by and starring Quentin Tarantino. It stars Samuel L. Jackson as an aggressive police officer and Tom Cruise as a disgraced actor and stuntman who are involved in an investigation into the murder of two actresses in a CD store. The film also stars Tim Curry, James Earl Jones, Emma Stone, Ariel Winter, Harvey Keitel, Vanessa Hudgens and Viola Davis, as well as Tarantino himself.


In the late 1980s New York, actresses Jill Harrington and Charlise Williams meet in a disc shop, where they take a seat by the window and discuss what is revealed to be an argument over one of them getting the role that the other wanted - Harrington, who is black, lost the role to Charlise, and she was later harangued by the press who criticised her for her inferior acting, even though the real reason for her losing the part was her ethnicity. Their argument reaches vicious heights, until a stranger across the street produces a rifle and shoots both women in the side of the head, killing them. The murder is witnessed by actor John Grey, who is called as a witness by Detective Sergeant Harvey Granger, who is revealed to be a big fan of his previous work. The interview turns sour when Grey refuses to reveal the identity of the man he believes to be the killer. He is held in contempt and leaves the station, where he gets into a violent bar brawl and nearly strangles Danny Lamb, before Granger knocks him out and arrests him. On the way back to the station, the police car is waylaid by a hitman named Cerberus, who kills three officers and kidnaps John.

John is taken to a diner, where he is confronted by Robert Dance, who owned the disk shop. He threatens John's wife Hilary with Cerberus, and instructs him to stay close to DS Granger and keep track of his movements. John is not intimidated by Dance and dares him to do anything violent, which will lead to Dance being connected to the murders. Beaten, Dance lets him go, but tells Cerberus to keep an eye on him. Granger begrudgingly tries to reconcile with John, who accepts the reconciliation. Back in the station, Granger ruthlessly interrogates the other witnesses who were in the shop at the time, and learns that the shooter wore a Yankee's cap, which leads him to interrogate several clothes shops throughout the district. John visits and has sex with Hilary, who is menaced by Cerberus. Granger's boss, Captain Donahue, criticises Granger's violent methods and tells him to rein in his aggression in this case or people will refuse to cooperate. Granger, who is already under pressure from having made several enemies in the underworld, speaks with director Albert Rice, who tells him that Jill Harrington had behaved dangerously throughout the film production, leading to her expulsion, whereas Charlise had warmed up to him. During the conversation, John meets Gared Logan and asks for legal representation if he is arrested again. This is witnessed by Laura Beatty, who reports this to Granger, who suspects that he was more involved than before.

Hilary is repeatedly shadowed by Cerberus, so she reports it to Captain Donahue, who sends a squadron out after him. Hearing this, Cerberus starts killing black women, which is interpreted as a personal attack against Granger. John works with Granger on the film, where he works on-call as a stunt double, and they learn that Natalie Gosling, a beautiful actress, has been cast in the place of Harrington's character, and Granger interrogates her. Sickened by Granger's angry nature, she makes a complaint against him to Donahue. When her credibility is threatened because of the position she is in as a result of the two murders, Natalie reluctantly hands over photographic evidence of her dating Albert Rice, the date and time proving that she was nowhere near the scene of the crime. Granger begins to receive major criticism from the public for his attitude and is removed from the case, only for John to offer to help him solve it. John is visited and attacked by Cerberus, who tells him to persist in the persecution of Natalie, or else he will end up exactly as the two women did. On the way out, Cerberus' wallet is stolen by Laura. Cerberus chases her across a rooftop, until she is shot in the arm by the killer. Cerberus beats her unconscious and returns the wallet, only for Laura to have put a tracking device inside it. Using the tracking device, Rice follows Cerberus to his house and raids it, resulting in the deaths of two more police officers, but Cerberus is apprehended eventually. During the interrogation, he repeatedly sings Michael Jackson's Thriller instead of answering any questions, leading Granger to realise that he will never reveal who hired him.

During the night, Hilary meets with John and tells him that she has found the Yankee's cap in her bedroom, which leads to Rice believing that she is the shooter, especially when they find firearms in the attic and her lack of an alibi. She is arrested and almost raped in prison by Cerberus, who has broken out of his cell. She stabs him in the eye with a piece of broken glass, repelling him, and he swears revenge against her. The next day, during an interrogation, Hilary's hatred for Jill Harrington, which gives her motivation for one murder, but not for the murder of Charlise or the endangerment of her husband, which is held in higher regard. John, determined to clear her name, confronts Rice, and the two of them establish that they do not believe she is guilty but the evidence is overpowering that she is guilty of at least one crime. On the way out, John is visited by Laura, who gives him Hilary's wallet, with receipts that prove she was absent at the exact time of the crime. He gives this to Rice, who dismisses it because it came from a kleptomaniac and a criminal equivalent to the killer. Logan protests to Rice's blind hatred of criminals and, in the trial that follows, he criticises the impartiality of the police captain, since he has a history of misogyny. Later on that day, Danny Lamb tries to shoot John, only for Granger to shoot him seven times in the back and kill him. The two of them visit a casino where Robert Dance frequents, and they confront him with the possibility that he orchestrated the crime for prejudicial reasons - Dance, realising that John has turned on him completely, records the conversation that follows and hands it to Rice, who arrests John. In prison, he and his wife argue, and it is revealed that the receipts were from a flower shop - she has been cheating on him with Dance, and the latter's empty threats were an attempt at mocking him with information he doesn't know. John attacks Hilary, only to be put in solitary confinement.

Granger tracks down Rupert Jones, who supplied the firearms of the killer, and he refuses to give the identities of his clients, leading to a violent fight between the two men. In the fight, Granger kills Rupert and is arrested himself. With both Granger and John behind bars, Rice continues with the production of his film, in which he becomes enamoured with Natalie. Natalie seduces him and initiates sex with him, only for her to drug him and for Cerberus to suffocate him by putting a pillow over his head. Natalie places evidence around the murder scene that incriminates Granger, leading to him being convicted of all three murders - his status as a black police officer leads people to believe he arranged the crimes to rise higher in the ranks, and Logan is the only man to support him. This leads to Cerberus being sent to kill Logan, who is waiting for him with a shotgun. Logan explains to him that they had met before, back when Cerberus was a police officer in Birmingham and repelling the March that took place back in the 60s. Cerberus denies any major involvement in the murders at the disk shop, but claims (through flashbacks) that Jill was his girlfriend at the time and he therefore only attacked the white members of the March, and has only ever killed white people because of his affection for her.

Granger, in the meantime, realises this about Cerberus and both he and John figure out that Natalie is working with him, but they are both working against the real killer by making the crimes more extreme than was needed. Both of them press this to Donahue, who reluctantly breaks them out of their cells. Granger goes after Cerberus, confronting him in the casino. He holds the assassin at gunpoint and demands to know who he is covering for, only for Cerberus to knock a poker table into him and flee. John ambushes Cerberus and, together with Granger, battles him across the casino. Cerberus almost beats them, only for Dance to arrive and shoot him in the back of the head. Revealed to have killed Hilary as well, Dance explains his motivation is to prove to the people of New York that personal grief or hatred gets in the way of professionalism in America - Granger's aggressive nature, Logan's misogyny, Hilary's deceit and John's disgraced reputation. He tries to kill the two men, but Granger kneecaps him and plans to arrest him, only for John to steal his gun and plan to shoot him to avenge his wife. Granger tries to stop him, since only Logan's testimony will prove them all innocent. John, knowing that it won't make a difference because of the prejudice that Logan pointed out, kills Logan, and then Granger when the latter tries to restrain him.

John leaves the casino and drives away, but along the way he is haunted by his last conversation with Hilary, and by Granger's attempt at persuading him before his death. The police pursue him as he leaves New York, but eventually he decides to stop, knowing that he has destroyed the possibility that he will be believed, but deciding that he doesn't care whether or not people believe the truth. He pulls over and waits for the police officer, revealed to be Donahue, assures him that he will be proven innocent in the trial that inevitably follows, revealed to have placed bugs all over the casino. John, realising that he may have a chance to carry on living free despite killing Granger, smiles as he is detained by the officers. When he is brought before Judge Royce and swears to tell the truth, he catches Laura's eye as she is called as a defence witness by Logan, and provides the recording of the casino fight. The film ends there, leaving it unclear as to whether or not John was found guilty or innocent.


  • Samuel L. Jackson as Detective Sergeant Harvey Granger, a ruthless but efficient and extremely intelligent police officer.
  • Tom Cruise as John Grey, a violent and embittered former actor and stuntman who has been disgraced by his career in the film industry.
  • Tim Curry as Albert Rice, a world-famous director, who is trying to create a film about the New York police.
  • James Earl Jones as Gared Logan, a former civil rights activist who was crippled during the Birmingham March and who is working as a legal representative to John Grey.
  • Emma Stone as Hilary Grey, John's wife, who is a prime suspect in the murders that take place.
  • Ariel Winter as Laura Beatty, a kleptomaniac who was cleared of breaking and entering by Logan.
  • Harvey Keitel as Captain William Donahue, Granger's prejudiced boss.
  • Vanessa Hudgens as Natalie Gosling, an actress who becomes the star of Rice's film following the death of Harrington.
  • Viola Davis as Jill Harrington, a black actress who is murdered in a brawl.
  • Quentin Tarantino as Robert Dance, the owner of a disc shop where Jill is murdered, and an enemy of Granger's.
  • Christopher Walken as Danny Lamb, a street thug hired to hunt down John Grey.
  • Vincent D'Onofrio as Cerberus, an assassin who commits several acts of violence throughout New York City and an old enemy of Granger's.
  • Hilary Swank as Charlise Williams, a woman who is murdered in Dance's disk shop along with Jill Harrington.
  • Charlie Sheen as Judge Royce, a federal judge.
  • Robert De Niro as Rupert Jones, a failed actor who was outshone by John Grey during their first film together, who has become a drug baron.