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Roma a mano armata (1976)

R | | Action, Crime, Drama | July 1978 (USA)
A tough, violent cop who doesn't mind bending the law goes after a machine-gun-carrying, hunchbacked psychotic killer.


(as Bert Lenzi)


(story) (as Bert Lenzi), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chief of Police
Giampiero Albertini ...
Commissioner Francesco Caputo
Tony Parenzo
Biagio Pelligra ...
Aldo Barberito ...
Detective Poliani
Stefano Patrizi ...
Moretto's Henchman
Luciano Catenacci ...
Ferdinando Gerace
Savelli's Lawyer
Carlo Gaddi ...
Ambulance Driver
Claudio Nicastro ...
Valentino Macchi ...
Alessandra Cardini ...
Sandra Moretto (as Sandra Cardini)
Gabriella Lepori ...
Marta Assante


A tough, violent cop who doesn't mind bending the law goes after a machine-gun-carrying, hunchbacked psychotic killer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Inspector Tanzi makes Dirty Harry look like Mr. Clean! See more »


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

July 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Assault with a Deadly Weapon  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Terry Levene distributed this film in the late 1970's, he replaced a few of the establishing shots with those of American locations. For an establishing shot of the Rome youth center where Tanzi meets Stefano, Levine used a shot of the Manhattan night club "Fascination". Strangely enough, in the later Lenzi film Da Corleone a Brooklyn (1979) (which also starred Maurizio Merli as an Italian policeman), Merli drives by the club "Fascination" after he arrives in New York. See more »


Commissioner Leonardo Tanzi: [Holds up a football score card] Is it yours?
Stefano: No, it's your sister's.
Commissioner Leonardo Tanzi: [Beating him up] I'll make you forget women for the rest of your life, damn it! You fucking stupid son of a bitch! I'd like to see you do it again, you know!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are played while the camera in first person view mode (From a criminal's POV) drives through Rome looking at banks and building societies and leaves the city through a long, dark tunnel as the credits end. See more »


Followed by Il cinico, l'infame, il violento (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

Excellent Italian Police Brutality
1 April 2008 | by See all my reviews

Director Umberto Lenzi is widely known for his raw and uncompromising films of a variety of genres, his doubtlessly most famous films being his gory and gruesome Cannibal flicks "Cannibal Ferox" (1981) and "Mangiati Vivi" (1980). These are flicks one is not likely to forget, of course, but, as far as I am concerned, Lenzi's most memorable and brilliant achievements are his tough-minded and ultra-violent Poliziotteschi, such as "Milano Odia, la polizia non pùo sparare" (aka. "Almost Human", 1974) or this "Roma A Mano Armata" (aka. "Rome Armed To The Teeth"/"Brutal Justice") of 1976. "Rome Armed To The Teeth" is an action-packed fast-paced, brutal and breathtaking crime flick like it could only be made in Bella Italia, and a perfect proof for what gifted a director Lenzi was.

Even more than the foregoing "Milano Odia...", this delivers the absolute opposite of political correctness. Commissario Leonardo Tanzi (Maurizio Merli) is a super-tough and relentless cop with a mustache, whose unorthodox methods make Dirty Harry look like a peace-loving social worker. Respectless towards his (hypocritical) superiors and without any form of sympathy for offenders, Tanzi hates criminals as much as he hates crime, and he has no scruples to beat information out of suspects and bend the law whenever it is necessary to do the right thing. Tanzi is super-tough and the role seems as if it was written for Maurizio Merli. The great Tomas Milian (one of my personal all-time favorite actors) plays 'Il Gobbo', a hunchbacked and psychotic gangster. Milian is excellent in any role I see him play, and this particular role of the malicious and sadistic criminal fits him like a glove. Apart from Merli and Milian, who are both excellent in their roles, the cast includes a bunch of other regulars of Italian genre-cinema, such as Giampiero Albertini, who plays a cop, Luciano Catenacci, and, most prominently, Ivan Rassimov as a sleazy drug dealer. The film contains a vast amount of sleaze and brutality, and is definitely not for those who are very sensitive when it comes to violence. For my fellow lovers of Italian genre-cinema from the 70s, however, this is an absolute priority. The score by Franco Micalizzi is absolutely brilliant, the cinematography is excellent, and the film is tantalizing from the beginning to the end. Tough-minded and gripping throughout, "Roma A Mano Armata" is an ultra-violent and wonderfully politically incorrect Poliziottesco that no lover of Italian-genre cinema can afford to miss. In short: Brutal, brilliant, and an absolute must-see for all fans of Italian Crime cinema!

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