April 15th, 1988


more trailers Colors

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

Director: 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 - Rocket
Gerardo Mejía - Bird
Glenn Plummer - Clarence 'High Top' Brown
Rudy Ramos - Melindez
Sy Richardson - O.S.S. Sgt. Bailey
Trinidad Silva - Leo 'Frog' Lopez
Charles Walker - Reed
Damon Wayans - T-Bone
Fred Asparagus - Cook
Sherman Augustus - Officer Porter

Taglines: Gangs. The war is here. The war is now.


Official Website: MGM |

Release Date: 15 April 1988

Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA

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

Gross: $46,616,067 (USA)

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.

Continuity: 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]
Diaz: Hey Hodges, what do you think about all those hot shot jitter bugs, huh?
Bob Hodges: What about 'em?
Diaz: 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 best.

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.