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The screenplay was written by Jim Kouf, who won a 1988 Edgar Award for his work. A sequel, Another Stakeout, followed in 1993.
Detectives Chris Lecce (Richard Dreyfuss) and Bill Reimers (Emilio Estevez) are assigned to the night shift on a stakeout of Latina waitress Maria Maguire (Madeleine Stowe). Maria's former boyfriend Richard "Stick" Montgomery (Aidan Quinn) has escaped from a prison following a brawl with several guards. The FBI asks for their full cooperation in the capture of Montgomery. They also begin to realize that his cousin is helping him get to Seattle.
Montgomery telephones Maria, but the line gets cut off so that Chris and Bill can trace her calls. He has a large amount of money that he secretly hid in an armchair prior to his incarceration. Lecce and Reimers spy on Maria, hoping that Montgomery will turn up at her door so they can arrest him. Lecce is going through a divorce with his wife. He comes home and finds out that she moved out and took his furniture, leaving him in despair. Lecce pretends to be a telephone lineman, in order to get close to Maria.
Fate takes a turn for the worse as Lecce falls in love with Maria and the Seattle police suspect him as one of Montgomery's allies. While asleep in Maria's bed, Montgomery breaks into her house and kills Lecce by shooting him in the face. Lecce wakes up and finds out it was a nightmare. Not only that, he finds out he slept in, and must leave the house without being seen. Bill scolds him for sleeping with Maria, but Chris promises he will tell her the truth of who he really is.
Montgomery and his cousin, Caylor, have a run-in with several officers waiting for them outside Seattle, causing a shootout and having their car crash into the river. Lecce tells his secret to Maria, but she starts to get upset, only to run into Montgomery, who survived. Montgomery tells Chris and Maria that he stashed half-million dollars in a couch that he bought for her years prior. He was hoping that he and Maria would have a great life together, but Lecce ruined it for them. After capturing Reimers, Montgomery plans executing both him and Lecce. The climax of the film takes place at a paper mill, where Lecce and Montgomery have a shootout, resulting in Montgomery being shot in the chest. Chris thanks Maria for saving his life, just when Montgomery was going to kill him. Maria and Lecce begin to have a relationship.
- Richard Dreyfuss - Det. Chris Lecce
- Emilio Estevez - Det. Bill Reimers
- Aidan Quinn - Richard "Stick" Montgomery
- Madeleine Stowe - Maria McGuire
- Forest Whitaker - Det. Jack Pismo
- Dan Lauria - Det. Phil Coldshank
- Earl Billings - Capt. Giles
- Ian Tracey - Caylor Reese
- Jackson Davies - FBI Agent Lusk
Stakeout earned mostly positive reception from critics, currently holding an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 18 reviews. It was however panned by the British Minister Alan Clark, who described it in his diaries as "...total rubbish. By spastics for spastics. The Stakeout [sic], a particular - always embarrassing - Hollywood genre, the 'comedy thriller'. A Private Eye parody could not have been more ludicrous or more trite."
The film debuted at No. 1 at the box office. It went on to gross $65.6 million domestically, ranking as the 8th highest grossing film of the year.
- Stakeout at AllRovi
- Stakeout at TCM Movie Database
- Stakeout at Rotten Tomatoes
- Stakeout at Box Office Mojo
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