Vigilante (1983)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  16 September 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,749 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 32 critic

Eddie Marino is a factory worker in New York City. He has a wife named Vickie and a son named Scott. Eddie's friend and co-worker Nick and some of the factory's other workers have formed a ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Marino
Richard Bright ...
Vickie Marino
Don Blakely ...
Rico (as Willie Colon)
Assistant D.A. Mary Fletcher
Vincent Beck ...
Judge Sinclair
Bo Rucker ...
Ptl. Gibbons (as Steve W. James)
Randy Jurgensen ...
Det. Russo


Eddie Marino is a factory worker in New York City. He has a wife named Vickie and a son named Scott. Eddie's friend and co-worker Nick and some of the factory's other workers have formed a vigilante group because Nick and the group are fed up with the pimps, gangs, and drug dealers who keep taking over the neighborhoods. Nick and his group are also sick and tired of the police, because the police always fail to protect people who become victims. Eddie goes home from work one night, only to discover that Vickie has been stabbed, and Scott has been shot dead. Frederico "Rico" Melendez, the leader of a Puerto Rican street gang, is arrested for Vickie's stabbing and Scott's murder. Assistant District Attorney Mary Fletcher plans to put Rico away for as long as possible, since New York doesn't have the death penalty. Nick tries to convince Eddie to join the vigilante group, but Eddie turns Nick down, preferring to let the courts handle Rico. Nick makes it clear that he has no faith ... Written by Todd Baldridge

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gang | factory | judge | vigilante | police | See All (70) »


There's only one way to stop them... See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 September 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Street Gang  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(4 channels)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The sawed-off shotgun used in the movie is the same real prop shotgun which was used by the killer in the previous William Lustig movie Maniac (1980). See more »


Prago's stunt driving double during the car chase is Caucasian but Prago is African-American. See more »


[first lines]
Nick: Hey, I don't know about you guys, but me... I've had it up to here. There are some 40-odd homicides a day on our streets. There are over two million illegal guns in this city. Man, that's enough guns to invade a whole damn country with. They shoot a cop in our city without thinking twice about it. Aw, come on. You guys ride the subway. How much more of this grief are we gonna stand for? How many more locks we gotta put on our goddamn doors? Now, we ain't got the police, the ...
See more »


Referenced in Reservoir Dogs (1992) See more »


(Larry Rollins / Warren Thomas)
Performed by N.B.T. (Nuthin But The Truth)
Engineered by Bob Yesbeck
Omega Studios, Washington D.C.
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User Reviews

The law plays second fiddle.
26 December 2008 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

Director William Lustig's stirring low-cost vigilante picture is something a little more than your exploitative gung-ho revenge story, as while the material is lank and far-fetched its still implodes with some minor goods. Honestly the first time I came across it, I was left under whelmed and this can be attributed to the direction it went. The story has two sub-plots running, which would eventually come together, but the focus on one over the other really destroyed what could have a lasting impression. On one side of the coin has a small group of local vigilante's led by Nick (an inspired Fred Williamson) cleaning up punks that the law doesn't seem to want to touch and on the other side of the coin follows that of Eddie Marino (Robert Forster), a working class New Yorker coming home to find his wife has been brutally beaten and toddler killed. He's approached by Nick to join their cause, but refuses to let the justice system hand out the law, but after those who were responsible for the attack is left off with nothing but a slap on the wrists. It sees Eddie take it upon himself to hand out the punishment.

The constant shifts in the story seemed to get in the way of cooking any real sort of emotional hold. The cult actors do the best with what they got. Robert Forster's streamlined, if cold approach works and Fred Williamson's full-blooded bad-ass portrayal is nothing that's unexpected. Don Blakely and Willie Colon make for great, nasty pair of thugs. Also in the line-up are Richard Bright, Rutanya Alda, Joseph Carberry, Steve James and Carol Lynley. In brief, but welcoming inclusions are Woody Strode and Joe Spinell as a scummy lawyer.

The material is quite heavy-handed in what it's got to say on a flawed justice system, as Williamson spits out speeches about not living in fear and eventually the line between right and wrong is blurred. In the end don't read too much in to it. Lustig's pacing is on the spot and direction suitably controlled, as while not overly explicit it manages to have a brutal and gritty pulse. There are some intense interplays, and a disturbing moment or two, but in the end it's not particularly gripping like I would have hoped. It's quite underplayed in that department. Jay Chattaway's thumping score has a blaring sting and harrowing cloud that effectively balances the moods.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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