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Nighthawks (1981)

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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:
Shakka Holland
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 <aburner@erols.com>

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:

10 April 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Attack  »


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,525,360, 12 April 1981, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,900,000, 31 December 1981
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some of Keith Emerson's score for the movie was also cut down due to the many reediting problems that movie had. Most of the tracks from the soundtrack are longer than their movie versions, and there are some which were intended for some longer scenes, ones of many which were deleted. Best example of it is the track "Face to Face" which is the music that Emerson composed for the infamous original ending where Wulfgar is torn to pieces in slow motion with his flesh and blood flying around the room while Deke shoots at him. Emerson said some interesting things in the soundtrack notes about composing the music for deleted scenes between Deke and Irene (in notes he refers to character DaSilva as De Soto); "That bit when De Soto tries to get back with his ex-wife (Lindsay Wagner) we need some love interest there", said Harry. "I made notes (Humm, love interest). Sly, whom I felt comfortable addressing as such, felt uncomfortable watching the rushes. His comments upon viewing the love scenes between Lindsay and himself led him to say, 'That's the last time I go in Billy Dee's trailer.' Most of it was cut along with the love interest music."

Emerson also said some things about his music being edited for the final theatrical version of the movie; "Universal got some old dyke as music editor that had worked on Jaws (1975). She was a minimalist in maximalist clothing and immediately set about stripping everything down apart from my underwear in order for my entire score to reach the big screen as half the man I might have been. Sly, upset about Raging Bull (1980) was already working on another Rocky sequel, and couldn't be bothered." See more »


When Fox is loading his rifle just before the confrontation at the bus, you can clearly see the crimped ends of the blank rounds he's loading. See more »


Peter Hartman: Oh, for Christ's sake, DaSilva! Come off this cop on the beat mentality! Your wife left you for it! Wasn't that enough!
See more »


Featured in Bad Movie Beatdown: The Riddle (2010) See more »


Last Call
Performed by The Crusaders
Courtesy of MCA Records
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User Reviews

Surprisingly interesting...
20 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

Wulfgar (Rutger Hauer) is an international terrorist not to be taken lightly… He is wanted by half the countries in Europe… He is currently financed by no one... He becomes trapped as 'Persona Non Grata'…

Wulfgar manages to succeed where others have failed… His pattern is the instilling of fear… He makes female contacts to establish safe housing for his armory… He always covers a woman who is clean... He loses one, he finds another... He has a liking for fancy food, expensive clothes and the most varied nightlife…

Wulfgar doesn't think like a criminal… He wants to be a hero… Since the London incidents, he wants to prove himself as invincible as he ever was… So he decides to change his look, and strikes without warning... Wulfgar's associate is Shakka Holland (Persis Khambatta), a pretty cool woman, with no maternal instincts, who murders without apparent provocation…

DaSilva (Sylvester Stallone) wants to treat Wulfgar like 'some mugger' on the streets… He makes a mistake when he finds himself unexpectedly facing the malevolent killer... He refuses to act in the same ruthlessness Wulfgar does, and to use deadly force in defense of the lives of innocent hostages… He hesitates to shoot and kill… DaSilva rejected to pay attention to the impact of the terrorist's actions on his thinking and beliefs… This mistake enables the best policeman to meet the dangerous terrorist on equal terms…

'Nighthawks' turns out to be surprisingly interesting… Rutger Hauer easily holds our attention throughout the film… He is a disciplined terrorist indifferent to his victims, cold and calculating… His mission to harm the enemy transcends any concern about his victims… For Wulfgar, the end justifies the means...

Stallone and Billy Dee Williams make good partners… Stallone doesn't play his usual character, the ruthless policeman who combats violence with greater violence… He seems to be more human desperately trying to do the right thing at the right time…

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