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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Tantalizing Portrayal of a Man's Fall from Grace

Author: actionpro from Texas
12 August 2003

'Deadly Hero' is another hidden gem from the 70s that did not receive the buzz it deserved, and instead hides within the bowels of so-called rare video stores or 2nd-rate rental places. That is truly sad, as this movie has the following in its favor: it is extremely well-done, it showcases some awesome acting ability, it is mastered very well (doesn't even look 70s), it features James Earl Jones in a strange but almost brilliant performance, it proves that Don Murray deserved the Academy Award after all, it has a most interesting soundtrack, and is well-written by anyone's standards.

The movie is about a well-liked man's fall from grace after an unfortunate incident. It requires the viewer to either side with the hero or with the hero's critics. It is a very interesting character study that will leave the viewer quite satisfied. This is why I give it 10/10.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Hidden gem, for sure....UNLAWFUL ENTRY anyone?

Author: lee nicholson (dolemite72) from middlesbrough, UK
12 October 2004

I found this movie for 50p in a second-hand shop, and it's taken me a few months to get round and watch it, but i'm glad i did!

DON MURRAY is excellent in this movie, and i can feel for his character (untill maybe the final 10 minutes, or so) as a cop with 18 years clean service, a glittering side career ahead of him (championing a would-be mayor) and a loving wife and daughter. When this (seemingly, by-the-numbers) cop guns down an un-armed kidnapper (JAMES EARL JONES) during the act, the kidnapped lady (DIAHN WILLIAMS) feels a little uneasy about her saviors methods, and decides to change her statement to the D.A. The disgraced cop, finds his world crumbling around him (his mayor friend wants nothing to do with him, and his police precinct suspend him) so he decides to 'pursuade' the women, to re-think her statement. Unfortunately his methods border on psychotic.

To give away anything else, would be a crime (though i will say, it has a great ending!) as i watched the movie knowing nothing about it, whatsoever (the video i bought was such an old pre-certificate copy, it consisted of a front inlay card in a VHS cover. I'd say circa 1980, on the 'MAGNETIC' video label) and for a movie made in 1975, it is certainly gritty enough (the language and violence are quite coarse at times) but is a must for fans of 'bad-cop' cinema.

With not one bad performance throughout, this also marks TREAT WILLIAMS debut (plus a completely un-noticed one by a credited DANNY DE VITO) The movie can be seen as an early blueprint for 1992's UNLAWFUL ENTRY (with RAY LIOTTA, KURT RUSSEL) in that, we witness a gradual breakdown of a respected cop. But plot wise, this is a very daring movie for it's time (and would still be deemed too controversial today!) lacking the total sleaze and religious subtext as BAD LIEUTENANT, it is more of a rarely seen curio, on lines with ORDER OF DEATH (with HARVEY KIETEL and JOHN LYDON) But is also a stunning (yet little-seen) classic, which poses the question of police rights and police wrongs. A great movie, made all the more meaningful for it's apparent obscurity.

10 out of 10, seek it out now (a DVD release would also be welcomed!)

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Exciting psychological thriller

Author: (
30 May 2001

This is a visualy exciting, if somewhat sleazy thriller. After saving a woman from a would-be kidnapper/extortionist, NYC cop Don Murray breaks down and stalks the woman he saved after she goes to the D.A. to change her testimoney, charging him with the "unjustified murder" of the perp.

Though he becomes the "bad guy," the viewer can't help but feel sorry for Murray's character as his world falls apart all around him. All because of one error in judgement. This film is an effective - if unintentional - indictment on big-city policing. Not through the cops' position, but society's, as we demand so much from the police, yet become so righteous when they accomplish the job they are tasked with. One strike against the film is the oh-so-superior, smug stereotypes of the white working-class. A plus, James Earl Jones' funny performance as the suave, but sinister perp. Great NYC photography.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Awesome Movie

Author: actionpro from Texas
9 July 2003

Deadly Hero is a wonderful Don Murray vehicle. After seeing this movie, one can only wonder why he did not receive more opportunities to display his tremendous acting ability. Diahn Williams also does a fine job with her role, which would be her first and last big screen role. And of course, I must mention James Earl Jones, who also delivers a fine performance. Great use of color within this film also is a plus. Lastly, the dated orchestra/dance scenes are hilarious and fun to watch. This movie is a great hidden gem-if you can still find it at a video store, do the right thing and rent this entertaining film.

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Don Murray personifies police violence

Author: msroz from United States
19 February 2016

"Deadly Hero" (1975) is a 70s-style neo-noir. It's quite good, but beware that it seems to start off a bit slowly with some scenes that run too long, like a dancing/music scene. Once it settles down and focuses itself, it becomes more edgy. Don Murray is great as a violent cop who is first recognized as heroic but then is accused of murder. I felt that the movie did not generate much if any sympathy for him and his plight. After all, early in the story he guns down kidnapper James Earl Jones for no good reason at all when he has already surrendered. There is some allusion in the movie to Murray's character being an outlier among all police. We are shown many sides of his character, such that we can to some extent understand him. Being a street cop for 18 years has hardened him and being tough has got him commendations. He's imbibed a philosophy of being society's instrument against crime when the justice system fails. Regardless, his behavior can be seen as a prototype for today's far more extensive and unnecessary police brutality.

The film is very 70s, which is not a criticism. It's blunt, energetic, colorful and has a realistic street-wise edge. Being fully a New York City movie brings in an array of loud and boisterous New York characters.

Diahn Williams, who reminds me of Mary Tyler Moore, is perfect in the part of a 45-year old cellist who is kidnapped by Jones and becomes a key witness in the events leading to his death. The story develops into a thriller, but the heart of the movie has to be the tragedy of it that culminates from the basic conflict between Murray's behavior and the conscience of Diahn Williams.

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1 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

My Memory of Being Disappointed (But How Accurate a Memory?)

Author: inspectors71 from Fly-Over Country
22 November 2005

I've read the other reviews of Deadly Hero and I must confess I have little memory of this film. I saw it on HBO in the late 70's, when Horrible Body Odor showed all sorts of fun B movies that you never would see in your small town. The reviewers are of one mind, that the film was quite good and that it was similar to 1992's Unlawful Entry.

I do recollect that Don Murray's policeman is a sympathetic character and that there are several actors who went on to bigger and better things (which can be a joy by itself), but my overriding impression is that the film had some sort of ugly and/or weak ending. I'd like to see this movie again, but I live in a town so small the main drag is a transvestite (I've always wanted to say that in a movie review!) and there simply is no way the decently stocked video place twelve miles away is going to have this flick.

So, I'm left intrigued by the glowing reviews by my peers. It's either a mail order rental company (?!) or finding it on "ebay" (Amazon doesn't carry it).

Oh, well. Wish me luck and if the other reviewers are right, and you can find a copy, enjoy this almost unheard of movie for me!

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