Nighthawks (1981)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  4 April 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 11,889 users  
Reviews: 106 user | 35 critic

Conservative street cop DaSilva reluctantly agrees to terminate an international terrorist who has demanded media attention. But DaSilva's "at-home" tactics are very much put to the challenge.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sgt. Matthew Fox
Peter Hartman
Heymar 'Wulfgar' Reinhardt
Hilary Thompson ...
Pam (as Hilarie Thompson)
Lt. Munafo
Walter Mathews ...
E. Brian Dean ...
Caesar Cordova ...
Puerto Rican Proprietor
Charles Duval ...
Dr. Ghiselin
Tony Munafo ...
Big Mike
Howard Stein ...
Disco Manager
Tawn Christian ...
Disco Hostess


Deke DaSilva and Matthew Fox are two New York City cops who get transferred to an elite anti-terrorism squad. About this same time, an infamous international terrorist shows up in New York City looking to cause some chaos. It's up to DaSilva and Fox to stop him, but will they be in time...? Written by Afterburner <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A terrorist holds New York in a grip of fear - and only Stallone can take him on. See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

4 April 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Attack  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sylvester Stallone is seen in 'drag' in this movie. See more »


When DaSilva and Fox are at the first Tram scene, they are wearing jumpsuits with Sergeant's stripes but wearing Detective's badges. Additionally, when DaSilva lands on the Tugboat, another person is in a jumpsuit with Sergeant's stripes but wearing a Police Officer's badge. See more »


Deke DaSilva: Why'd you kill the woman?
Heymar 'Wulfgar' Reinhardt: I wanted to.
Deke DaSilva: So why don't you kill me?
Heymar 'Wulfgar' Reinhardt: In due time.
See more »


Referenced in The Hunt for the House on Cuckoo Lane (2011) See more »


Performed by Libre
Courtesy of Mericana Record Corp.
See more »

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User Reviews

Long Before Terrorism Was On Our Minds...
3 September 2007 | by (Manitoba, Canada) – See all my reviews

Long before terrorism was on the minds of most Americans, NIGHTHAWKS tackled the thorny topic. Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams are decoy cops -- that is, they venture into rough neighborhoods to bait muggers and other forms of scum -- assigned to track down the cold and calculating Rutger Hauer. It seems the devious mastermind has landed in the media capital of the world, New York City, to try and regain his place among the terrorist elite.

Although it's a fairly decent action/suspense effort, NIGHTHAWKS is difficult to recommend unconditionally. The performances are certainly solid; in fact, it's hard to remember Stallone, here sporting a thin beard, being so effective outside of boxing trunks. The action is crisp and exhilarating, with one pursuit through subterranean New York deserving of a place in the Chase Hall of Fame. The story is original and much of the plot intriguing. And Hauer, in his American film debut, is a suitably hateful villain, with his motives all to familiar to contemporary audiences.

Yet NIGHTHAWKS is not quite as good as the sum of its parts. Even though the film starts out with a bang -- literally -- there's somehow too much build-up and not enough execution. The movie has not aged particularly well, and despite its 1981 release date has the feel of a '70s period piece. And as good as Hauer is, his character is a little too incredible to believe as he pulls off massive acts of terror with little or no sponsorship; what should take a team of experts is accomplished by one man wanted by countless law enforcement agencies.

In the end, NIGHTHAWKS is a movie you're bound to like -- either a little bit or a lot. Considering the high ratio of garbage that has and will continue to spew out of Hollywood, I guess that's not such a bad thing.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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