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ColorsStill of Sean Penn in ColorsStill of Sean Penn in ColorsStill of Robert Duvall in ColorsStill of Robert Duvall and Sean Penn in ColorsStill of Don Cheadle in Colors


An experienced cop and his rookie partner patrol the streets of East Los Angeles while trying to keep the gang violence under control.

Release Year: 1988

Rating: 6.5/10 (10,802 voted)

Critic's Score: 66/100

Dennis Hopper

Stars: Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Maria Conchita Alonso

A confident young cop is shown the ropes by a veteran partner in the dangerous gang-controlled barrios of L.A. about to explode in violence in this look at the gang culture enforced by the colors that members wear.

Writers: Michael Schiffer, Michael Schiffer


Sean Penn

Officer Danny McGavin

Robert Duvall

Officer Bob Hodges

Maria Conchita Alonso

Louisa Gomez

Randy Brooks

Ron Delaney

Grand L. Bush

Larry Sylvester

(as Grand Bush)

Don Cheadle


Gerardo Mejía


Glenn Plummer

Clarence 'High Top' Brown

Rudy Ramos


Sy Richardson

O.S.S. Sgt. Bailey

Trinidad Silva

Leo 'Frog' Lopez

Charles Walker


Damon Wayans


Fred Asparagus


Sherman Augustus

Officer Porter

Gangs. The war is here. The war is now.


Official Website:

Release Date: 15 April 1988

Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA

Opening Weekend: $4,747,118
(17 April 1988)
(422 Screens)

Gross: $46,616,067

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


Producer Robert H. Solo hired real gang members as guardians as well as actors. Two of them were shot during filming.


During the chase of the female driver by police, she crashes head on into a car parked on the street, propped up on blocks, which brings her car to a full stop, but when they cut to a different angle her car is shown only side-swiping the park car and then she continues speeding down the road.


[first lines]

Hey Hodges, what do you think about all those hot shot jitter bugs, huh?

Bob Hodges:
What about 'em?

You never went for this shit, did you?

Bob Hodges:
No way.

User Review


Rating: 10/10

Consider the range and the capture of characters in one movie, Colors
delivers multiple plot lines from a number of sides.

I remember when this movie first came out I was in Jr. high school.
Colors was a controversial movie talked about by teachers, principles
and parents because, believe it or not, it had a tendency for
glorification and encouraging gang membership.

To my surprise, the movie has little glorification in it and was a grim
summary of Los Angeles gang life (and even that of law enforcement.)
The movie does not spoon feed its audience, save for a few minor
comments that were cheesy at their worst and cleverly woven in at their

In some cases the portrayal of gang life in LA might have been TOO
broad and sophisticated for many viewers. The title COLORS and its
implication was meant to explain the rival Crip and Blood gangs but in
fact that was merely a pretext. Soon into the movie the viewer is taken
into various other neighborhoods as well as other gangs, including
WHITE FENCE and 21st Street.

For those that denounce this movie as being outdated, cheesy or
otherwise, it's hard for me to understand what you are paying attention
to. If you remember the 80's in the slightest, it was a time of
decadent and flamboyant neon glow ala Prince, Michael Jackson and
various other nonsense. The irony is that COLORS portrays a world that
was virtually isolated and separate from the 80's because that is what
it was MEANT to point out. This was gang life at its peak, before any
of the gangster rap hit white suburbia and became a marketable fad.
This was BEFORE white folks thought it was cool. It was isolated from
the look and feel of the rest of the 80's because this world was
isolated from the general population.

For this reason I am surprised that anyone would call the movie
outdated in any way. "Timeless" is the word I use to describe it.

Despite all this, Hopper manages to incorporate the storyline between
Duval and Penn. Not only is this a brilliant interaction between two
great actors, it also has a more marketable value to a white audience
that would otherwise have been turned off by the subject matter and
considered it, unfairly, as a "blacksploitation" film. Let's face it,
Hollywood is big business. The ability to market this movie with ANY
semblance of a good plot line but making it even remotely realistic is
an amazing achievement.

Hopper goes beyond doing both. I would not be surprised to see this
movie in the classics section, someday.