Turner & Hooch is a 1989 American comedy-thriller film starring Tom Hanks and Beasley the Dog as the eponymous characters, Turner and Hooch respectively. The film also co-stars Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson and Reginald VelJohnson. It was directed by Roger Spottiswoode; the film was originally slated to be directed by Henry Winkler, but he was terminated because of his "creative differences". It was co-written by Michael Blodgett of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls fame.
Although K-9 (with James Belushi) was released prior to this film (exactly three months earlier), Turner & Hooch became more popular and seemingly overshadowed its greater success, even though K-9 had a very similar plot. A pilot for a Turner & Hooch TV series was made and ran as a part of The Magical World of Disney.
Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is an obsessively neat police investigator who is bored with his minor police work in the fictional town of Cypress Beach in Northern California and is set to transfer to a better job in Sacramento, while fellow investigator David Sutton (Reginald VelJohnson) is to be his replacement. As Scott shows David around, we meet local junk-yard owner Amos Reed (John McIntire), who is Scottâs friend and owner of Hooch (Beasley the Dog), a large and slobbery Dogue de Bordeaux.
After a thug kills Amos, Scott pleads with police chief Howard Hyde (Craig T. Nelson) to let him take on Amos's murder case. Believing that Hooch is the only "witness" he has, Scott brings him home. The energetic dog promptly tears the investigator's house apart, chews up his car, and turns his life upside down. On a positive note, however, Hooch also instigates a romance between Scott and the new town veterinarian Emily Carson (Mare Winningham); Hooch also starts his own romance with the vetâs dog, Camille.
Scott and Hooch slowly bond, and they work together to solve the murder. Itâs a drug-smuggling operation, run out of a local seafood distributor, with money-laundering assistance from the corrupt police chief Howard Hyde. When the drug kingpin is cornered, Hooch takes a bullet for his human buddy and dies despite Emilyâs best efforts. But Camille has puppies, one of whom that looks and acts exactly like Hooch.
- Tom Hanks as Detective Scott Turner
- Beasley the Dog as Hooch
- Mare Winningham as Dr. Emily Carson
- Craig T. Nelson as Chief Howard Hyde
- Reginald VelJohnson as Det. David Sutton
- Scott Paulin as Zack Gregory
- J. C. Quinn as Walter Boyett
- John McIntire as Amos Reed
- David Knell as Ernie
- Ebbe Roe Smith as Harley McCabe
- Kevin Scannell as Jeff Foster
- Joel Bailey as Ferraday
- Mary McCusker as Katie
- Ernie Lively as Motel Clerk
- Clyde Kusatsu as Kevin Williams
- Elaine Renee Bush as Store Clerk
- Eda Reiss Merin as Mrs. Remington
Hooch's real name was Beasley, and he was a Dogue de Bordeaux (French mastiff), a French breed of work dog developed in the 15th century. Beasley was born on a dog kennel in Merrimac, Wisconsin owned by Peter Curley. Beasley was later purchased along with three other dogs for production of the film and were trained by Clint Rowe, who makes a brief appearance in the film as an ASPCA officer. Beasley died in 1992 aged 14. Animal Makers created an exact replica of Hooch for the famous death scene.
Henry Winkler was the original director, Winker was fired thirteen days into production by studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, according to Winkler on the October 10, 2012 The Howard Stern Show.
Many scenes were filmed on location in Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Moss Landing, California. "Cypress Beach" is fictional, using mostly Pacific Grove for shots such as the police department, the wedding foot chase, and the car chase down Ocean View Ave.
Reception and legacy
Turner & Hooch gained a mixed response from critics, with a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 27 reviews, but it was a box office success. No plans remain for a sequel despite its revived popularity following Hanks' rise to success. NBC did a television pilot based on the film in 1990. It aired in the summer with another dog pilot, "Poochinski" under the banner, "Two Dog Night".
Turner & Hooch has been referred to in various films and television shows, including the NBC/ABC medical sitcom Scrubs, in which main characters J.D. and Turk modify shift schedules so that Doctors Turner and Hooch are teamed up as a surgical team in the episode "My Faith in Humanity" (Doctor Turner was played by Jim Hanks, Tom Hanks' brother). They actually make a good team, and are disappointed when they have to disband. Another episode has Turk offended at JD's assumption that Turner and Hooch was an interracial buddy movie, an assumption made based on the aforementioned Hooch. In the second season of Castle, Beckett and Castle compare themselves to Turner and Hooch, with Castle being Hooch. This comparison returned in the Castle season 7 episode Kill Switch.
During an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, O'Brien gave Tom Hanks a preserved dog skeleton, claiming it was his old friend Hooch. As one of O'Brien's first guests on The Tonight Show, Hanks improvised a song from an alleged Turner & Hooch stage musical. During the 2006 Academy Awards, Tom Hanks played in a sketch about acceptance speeches that ran on too long. In his comedic lengthy speech, he thanked Hooch.
On April 2015, it was reported that Christine Turner Wagner, widow of producer Raymond Wagner, and Richard Dreyfuss have sued The Walt Disney Company over profits from Turner & Hooch and What About Bob? (1991), another Touchstone release which Dreyfuss starred in. The plaintiffs have claimed that Disney has refused to hire their chosen auditor, Robinson and Co.
- Turner & Hooch at the Internet Movie Database
- Turner & Hooch at the TCM Movie Database
- Turner & Hooch at AllMovie
- Turner & Hooch at Rotten Tomatoes