|Directed by||Roman Polanski|
|Edited by||Sam O'Steen|
|Music by||Ennio Morricone|
The Mount Company
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$17.6 million (USA)|
Dr. Richard Walker (Harrison Ford) is a surgeon visiting Paris with his wife Sondra (Betty Buckley) for a medical conference. At their hotel, she is unable to unlock her suitcase, and Walker determines that she picked up the wrong one at the airport. While Walker is taking a shower, Sondra receives a phone call that Walker can't hear and she mysteriously disappears from their hotel room.
Still jet-lagged, Walker searches for his wife in the hotel with the help of a polite but mostly indifferent staff and then wanders outside to look for her himself. A wino overhears him in a café and says he saw Sondra being forced into a car in a nearby alley. Walker is skeptical, until he finds his wife's ID bracelet on the cobblestones. He contacts the Paris police and the U.S. Embassy, but their responses are bureaucratic, and there is little hope anyone will bother looking for her. As Walker carries on the search himself he stumbles onto a murder site where he encounters the streetwise young Michelle, who mistook Sondra's suitcase for her own at the airport. He discovers that Michelle is a career drug smuggler, but does not care or know for which dealers - the friend that hired her, Dédé, worked for some shady people. Michelle reluctantly helps Walker in his frantic attempt to learn what was packed in her switched suitcase, and how to trade the contents for the return of his kidnapped wife.
Following their visit to Michelle's apartment, Walker's hotel room and shabby cabarets, it turns out that the smuggled contents are not drugs, but a krytron, an electronic switch used as a detonator for nuclear weapons, stolen and smuggled inside a souvenir replica of the Statue of Liberty, on the orders of Arab agents. The American embassy, working with Israeli agents, wants to get hold of the precious device, and they have no problem letting Sondra die for it. In order to save his wife, Walker joins forces with Michelle, who is only interested in getting her paycheck.
The film ends with a confrontation on the Île aux Cygnes, in the middle of the Seine, next to the parisian Statue of Liberty replica there, where Sondra is to be exchanged for the krytron. However, a gunfight ensues between the Arab agents who were to get the device, and the Israeli agents who traced and followed them. The Arabs are killed in the crossfire and Michelle is hit too, dying soon after having slipped the krytron into Walker's pocket, with Sondra at her side. Furious, Walker shows the krytron to the Israeli agents, and throws it into the Seine. He carries Michelle's body away, and he and Sondra leave Paris.
Filming took place on location in Paris with exteriors filmed outside Le Grand Hotel in rue Scribe in the 9th arrondissement. The hotel's lobby also appeared in the film. Filming also took place at the Île aux Cygnes island in the Seine for the Lady Liberty scenes.
Frantic was released in the UK on 16 February 1988, with a release of 26 February in the US and a 30 March release in France.
The film was a disappointment at the box office with a domestic gross of $17,637,950, failing to recoup its production budget. However, the film was more successful in other countries such as France where it received 1,293,721 admissions.
Although a commercial failure, Frantic was a critical success. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 76% of critics gave positive reviews based on a sample of 42 reviews with an average rating of 6.4/10.
The film received 'Two Thumbs Up' from Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on their television programme Siskel & Ebert and The Movies. Pat Collins of WWOR-TV called it 'Polanski's best film ever'. Desson Howe, of the Washington Post, called the movie 'vintage Polanski', with its relentless paranoia, irony, diffident strangers and nutty cameos. British film magazine Empire rated the movie three out five, calling it Polanski's most satisfying film since Chinatown, and one of the best traditional thrillers to come down the pike in quite some time. Roger Ebert, in his review, gave the movie three stars, saying: 'to watch the opening sequences of Frantic is to be reminded of Polanski's talent. Here is one of the few modern masters of the thriller and the film noir. Frantic is a reminder of how absorbing a good thriller can be.'