The Bodyguard (1992 film)

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The Bodyguard
The cover shows a man hugging a girl.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMick Jackson
Produced by
Written byLawrence Kasdan
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Edited by
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • November 25, 1992 (1992-11-25)
Running time
129 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[2]
Box office$411 million[3]

The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic thriller film directed by Mick Jackson,[4] written by Lawrence Kasdan, and starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Costner stars as a former Secret Service agent-turned-bodyguard who is hired to protect Houston's character, a music star, from an unknown stalker. Kasdan wrote the film in the mid-1970s, originally as a vehicle for Steve McQueen and Diana Ross.[5]

The film was Houston's acting debut. Although a huge box office hit making $411 million worldwide and being the second-highest-grossing film worldwide released in 1992, it received mixed to negative reviews from critics. The soundtrack became the best-selling soundtrack of all time, selling more than 45 million copies worldwide.[6]

The film received seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations, including for the Worst Picture, Worst Actor (for Costner), and Worst Actress (for Houston).


Rachel Marron is an Academy Award-nominated actress and music superstar who is being sent death threats. After a bomb explodes in her dressing room, manager Bill Devaney seeks out professional bodyguard Frank Farmer to protect her. Frank was formerly a Secret Service agent, part of the protection detail during the Carter and Reagan presidencies. Frank is reluctant to accept, as he feels Rachel is a spoiled diva who is oblivious to the threats against her life, but he takes the assignment.

Rachel soon accuses Frank of being paranoid, complaining that his extensive protection techniques are intrusive. Her existing bodyguard Tony resents Frank's presence, leading to a brawl between the two in Rachel's kitchen. However, Frank and Rachel grow closer when he rescues her from danger after a riot erupts at one of her concerts.

Though Frank tries to remain professional, he and Rachel sleep together; he breaks off the affair the next day, realizing it compromises his ability to protect her. Hurt, Rachel begins to defy Frank's security measures, then attempts to sleep with his former Secret Service colleague Greg Portman, whom she meets at a Miami party.

When her stalker places a threatening phone call, Rachel finally recognizes the seriousness of the situation and her need to trust Frank completely. Frank, Rachel, her son Fletcher, her sister Nicki, and her driver Henry then travel to a large lakefront cabin in the mountains, the home of Frank’s father Herb.

The next day, Frank rescues Fletcher from a small motorboat just before it blows up. After Frank secures the house for the night, a drunk Nicki, upset that Fletcher could have died, admits to Frank that she hired a hitman to kill Rachel during a fit of jealousy, but that the letters from the stalker came before that. She has paid in full and does not know the killer's identity. Abruptly, the hitman breaks into the dark house and fatally shoots Nicki. Frank pursues the killer into the woods. He shoots at the assailant but misses, allowing the latter to escape. Frank learns that the stalker had been apprehended earlier that day, and was in custody when Nicki was killed.

A few days after Nicki's funeral is the Academy Awards ceremony, where Frank gives Rachel a panic button in the shape of a cross to immediately alert him to any trouble. Despite this, a plethora of backstage technical issues hamper Frank's efforts to monitor the proceedings closely. While presenting an award, Rachel freezes and runs offstage, angry at Frank for embarrassing her with overprotective measures. Rachel is announced as the winner for Best Actress. As she comes on stage to accept the award, Portman is revealed to be the hitman, masquerading as the bodyguard for the ceremony's host. Frank notices Portman pointing a gun disguised as a camera at Rachel; as Portman prepares for the fatal shot, Frank runs onstage and leaps in front of Rachel, taking the bullet meant for her and setting off chaos amongst the audience. Quickly regaining his balance, Frank shoots and kills Portman just as he was aiming at Rachel again. Frank is left wounded and Rachel calls for help—all the while urging him to stay with her as he slowly passes out.

Frank recovers from the shooting and bids farewell to Rachel at the airport, both knowing their relationship would never work. After the plane starts to take off, Rachel suddenly orders the plane to stop, jumps out, and runs to Frank for one last passionate kiss. Sometime later Rachel performs “I Will Always Love You” on a stage, while elsewhere Frank is keeping a vigilant eye on his next assignment, a clergyman seen wearing the emergency cross earlier given to Rachel.


In addition, Tony Pierce plays the stalker, while the Academy Awards ceremony includes Robert Wuhl as the host, Richard Schiff as a backstage hand, journalist Chris Connelly as the red carpet M.C., and Debbie Reynolds as herself.


Being Lawrence Kasdan's first screenplay,[5] the film was originally proposed in 1976 with Steve McQueen and Diana Ross in the leads,[7] but the project stalled. Later, in 1979, Ryan O'Neal and Ross were set to star as the leads, but again, production was put on hold and the script became stuck in "development hell", before being finally released in 1992.


Critical reception[edit]

The Bodyguard received mixed to negative reviews from film critics. As of December 2018, the film holds a 34% rating on the film aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus, "The Bodyguard is a cheesy, melodramatic potboiler with occasional moments of electricity from Whitney Houston."[8] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly reviewed the film negatively, stating, "To say that Houston and Costner fail to strike sparks would be putting it mildly." He added that "the movie gives us these two self-contained celebrity icons working hard to look as if they want each other. It's like watching two statues attempting to mate."[9] Other critics were more mixed or positive, including Roger Ebert, who praised the film and gave it three out of four stars, remarking, "The movie does contain a love story, but it's the kind of guarded passion that grows between two people who spend a lot of time keeping their priorities straight."[10]

The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.[11]

Box office[edit]

In the United States, The Bodyguard opened on November 25, 1992 in 1,717 theaters; it grossed $16.6 million in its opening weekend, ranking third.[12] The film spent 10 weeks in the Top 10, ultimately grossing $121.9 million domestically, and $410.9 million worldwide.[3] It was the seventh highest-grossing film of 1992 in the United States and Canada, and the second highest-grossing film of 1992, worldwide.[13][14] At the time, it was one of the top 100 highest-grossing films of all- time.[3]

The film was re-released in 2012 and grossed a further $61,020.[3]


Two songs from the film, "Run to You" and "I Have Nothing", were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.[15] The soundtrack was also nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning three, including Album of the Year for its album of the same name.[16] The film was nominated for several MTV Movie Awards, an Image Award, BMI Film & TV Awards, a Golden Screen Award in Germany and an Award of the Japanese Academy, according to the Internet Movie Database.

It received seven Golden Raspberry Award nominations, including Worst Picture, Worst Actor (for Costner), and Worst Actress (for Houston).[17] Houston was also nominated for Worst New Star as was Kevin Costner's haircut.[17][18]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album became the best-selling soundtrack of all time. It has been certified diamond in the United States (sales of at least ten million) with shipments of over 17 million copies.[21] Worldwide, the sales are over 45 million copies.[22] In addition, Houston's cover of "I Will Always Love You" sold 20 million units worldwide.

The soundtrack features five songs which were hit singles for Houston: "I Will Always Love You" (a cover of the Dolly Parton song), "I'm Every Woman" (a cover of the Chaka Khan song), the two Oscar-nominated songs, "I Have Nothing" and "Run to You", and "Queen of the Night".

Other artists who appear on the soundtrack include fellow Arista recording artists Kenny G ("Even if My Heart Would Break", a duet with Aaron Neville), Lisa Stansfield ("Someday I'm Coming Back") and Curtis Stigers ("What's so Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding"). Also included is a cover of the Bill Withers standard "Lovely Day" by the S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M.

In 2013, La-La Land Records released a limited edition CD (3,500 units) of Alan Silvestri's original score.[23]


  • The Simpsons—in the episode "Mayored to the Mob", Homer Simpson receives bodyguard training from an instructor singing "I Will Always Love You" after graduating his class. Also in the episode, Mark Hamill gets carried by Homer in a fashion which parodies the way Costner carries Houston in the film.
  • 30 Rock—in the episode "Hard Ball", Tracy Jordan is rescued from a mob by his entourage; his character sang "I Will Always Love You" during the scene.
  • Bulletproof—a scene in the film parodies The Bodyguard with Adam Sandler's character singing "I Will Always Love You" and remarking that Damon Wayans's character can always be his bodyguard.
  • The Venture Bros.—in the second-season episode "I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills", after having fallen in love with her charge, Dr. Venture, bodyguard Myra Brandish says she was taught "Never let them out of your sight. Never let your guard down. Never fall in love", the tag line from the film.
  • In Living ColorKim Wayans plays Grace Jones as the Whitney Houston character and Jim Carrey plays the Kevin Costner character, complete with bad hair. The scene when Kevin Costner carries Whitney Houston off-stage from the original movie is reversed with Grace Jones carrying Frank Farmer off while singing "I Will Always Love You".
  • The Hitman's Bodyguard—Teaser trailer featuring Houston's song "I Will Always Love You", and movie poster spoof.[24][25][26]

Musical adaptation[edit]

A musical adaptation of the film opened in London's Adelphi Theatre in the West End in Fall 2012. David Ian, who produces the musical, received the stage rights from Kevin Costner and Lawrence Kasdan.


  1. ^ "THE BODYGUARD (15)". British Board of Film Classification. November 24, 1992. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  2. ^ Box Office Information for The Bodyguard. The Numbers. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d The Bodyguard at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ Murphy, Ryan (November 1, 1992). "A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : TINKER, TINKER : Today's Special: 'Bodyguard.' Care for the Director's Cut or the Final Cut?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  5. ^ a b John J. Puccio (February 8, 2005). "Bodyguard (DVD)". Archived from the original (review) on December 11, 2008.
  6. ^ Ford, Rebecca (March 15, 2012). "Whitney Houston's 'The Bodyguard' to Re-Release in Theaters for One Night". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  7. ^ Beck, Marilyn, Stacy Jenel Smith. – "Costner Sings to Houston's Debut". – Los Angeles Daily News. – October 7, 1991.
  8. ^ The Bodyguard Movie Reviews. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on December 28, 2018.
  9. ^ "The Bodyguard". Entertainment Weekly. December 4, 1992. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
  10. ^ "The Bodyguard". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved September 13, 2010.
  11. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0.
  12. ^ The Bodyguard (1992) Box Office Mojo Retrieved 2010-09-13
  13. ^ "1992 Worldwide Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  14. ^ "1992 Domestic Grosses". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  15. ^ Awards for The Bodyguard (1992),
  16. ^ [1] Archived January 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ a b 1992 RAZZIE® Nominees & "Winners" – The Official RAZZIE® Forum Archived August 27, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2011-04-05.
  18. ^ "'Bodyguard' tops Razzie noms". Variety. February 15, 1993. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  19. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  20. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  21. ^ Gold & Platinum – April 05, 2011 Archived July 13, 2012, at RIAA. Retrieved on 2011-04-05.
  22. ^ Whitney Houston. (Jul. 26, 2007) Retrieved on 2011-04-05.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson spoof 1992's The Bodyguard poster". Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  25. ^ "The Hitman's Bodyguard Trailer and Release Date". Retrieved June 28, 2017.
  26. ^ "See Samuel Jackson, Ryan Reynolds' 'Hitman's Bodyguard' Clip". Retrieved March 17, 2018.

External links[edit]