God Told Me To (1976)

R  |   |  Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi  |  11 July 1979 (France)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,592 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 80 critic

A New York detective investigates a series of murders committed by random New Yorkers who claim that "God told them to."



(original screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter J. Nicholas
Casey Forster
Martha Nicholas
Elizabeth Mullin
Sam Levene ...
Everett Lukas
David Morten
Deputy Commissioner
Bernard Phillips
Sammy Williams ...
Harold Gorman
Jo Flores Chase ...
Mrs. Gorman
William Roerick ...
Lester Rawlins ...
Board Chairman
George Patterson ...
Walter Steele ...


The storyline of this movie involves a series of motiveless murders committed by various New York residents: a sniper shoots people from a water tower; a father murders his entire family; and a cop opens fire during a St. Patrick's Day parade. The only consistent pattern to the crimes involves the perpetrators calm admissions of guilt, explaining, "God told me to." While investigating the murders, catholic police detective Peter Nicholas is increasingly troubled by evidence of a Christ-like figure named Bernard Phillips who appeared to each of the killers and can't seem to shake the feeling that his own fate is somewhat linked to this mysterious being. As he comes closer to the truth, his worst fears are confirmed. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

11 July 1979 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Demon  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Larry Cohen did not have a permit to film the scene at the St. Patrick's Day parade, but he did it anyway. See more »


A shadow from one of the crew, most likely the camera operator, can be seen on Peter and Casey in bed. See more »

Crazy Credits

This motion picture is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Bernard Herrman. See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Heartbeeps (2013) See more »


Sweet Momma Sweetlove
Lyrics by Janelle Webb
Music by Robert O. Ragland
Performed by George Gentre Griffin
See more »

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User Reviews

Definitely not what you expect!
5 April 2005 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

I surely won't say that I was disappointed with my long awaited viewing of Larry Cohen's "God Told Me To", but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. And I mean that as a compliment because the depth and storyline of this film was far more impressive than I hoped it to be. Cohen has always been an imaginative and versatile scriptwriter (It's Alive, Q – The Winged Serpent) but he really surpasses oneself here with this multifunctional shocker! It would be a disgrace to simply categorize "God Told Me To" as a shlock-horror film as it equally covers the fields of detective thriller, pseudo-religious drama and science fiction. The very engaging script starts from a dazzling basic idea (which truly encouraged me to purchase this movie no matter what…) but unexpectedly becomes an ambitious mystery that constantly keeps you guessing. We follow the deeply religious cop Peter Nicholas in his investigation on every day NY citizens that suddenly go wild and commit vile murders. Right before dying, they all confess that God himself ordered them to commit these crimes. In his search for clues, Det. Nicholas stumbles upon supernatural events and connections that are beyond belief. The story is compelling, although very VERY complex. It took me three viewings to really "get" the story and I still have questions to ponder on. Nevertheless, Cohen proves himself to be a master of plotting and even the tiniest sub plot (like the anti-hero cop being torn between his wife and mistress) are sublimely elaborated. I admit I more or less expected this to be a semi-absurd and violent cheapie (like Cohen delivered them before) but it turned out one of the most misunderstood exploitation films of the 70's. Although the film isn't really disturbing, there's a lot of suspense and intrigue. Cult lovers familiar with Cohen's repertoire will be pleased to see that he couldn't resist referring to his blaxploitation roots and that he takes every opportunity to severely criticize American society. The charismatic actor Tony Lo Bianco is terrific in portraying the spirited here and he's partly responsible for a climax you won't forget easily.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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