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Badge of the Assassin (1985)

Three black revolutionaries gun down two New York City police officers. The subsequent investigation puts a white assistant DA and a black police detective on the trail of the killers that ... See full summary »



(written for television by), (book) | 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert K. Tanenbaum, Assistant District Attorney
Detective Cliff Fenton NYPD
Detective Bill Butler NYPD
Lester Bertram Day
Steven Keats ...
Harold Skelton, Defense Attorney
Larry Riley ...
Herman Bell
Christine Horn
L.J. Delsa
Albert Washington (as Kene Holliday)
Toni Kalem ...
Diane Piagentini
Tamu Blackwell ...
Gloria Lapp
Anthony 'Tony' Bottom
Foreman #1


Three black revolutionaries gun down two New York City police officers. The subsequent investigation puts a white assistant DA and a black police detective on the trail of the killers that leads from New York to San Francisco and down to New Orleans. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They killed in cold blood. Not for money. Not for revenge. But for an even more ruthless motive.




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 November 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Marca do Assassino  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The San Francisco police cars in the movie are painted blue and white. In real life, SFPD patrol cars were painted black and white in 1971, when the scene takes place. See more »


Detective Cliff Fenton NYPD: It doesn't make sense!
Herman Bell: It does not have to! It just has to get noticed! They have to learn - -oppressing people COSTS!
Detective Cliff Fenton NYPD: Now I know what you are. You're not a man; you're not a leader; you're a black thug!
See more »

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User Reviews

Somewhat racist but tension-filled.
12 May 2001 | by (Jonquiere, Canada) – See all my reviews

TV movies are a touchy thing. They're shared between cable and prime-time. Cable movies have the same kind of material as theatrical releases. It's also common that they star established actors. However, prime-time movies have moralistic centers (most of the time), are mostly acted by unknown to modestly popular actors. Therefore, their quality is usually inferior. However, Badge of the Assassin breaks those rules. It has an excellent cast and is worth watching, for one.

The movie starts very badly. 3 black men with huge Afros wait on a car. Two cops come by and the men shoot them. They run away, using true blaxpoitation slang, and go back home to their apartment. To tell you I was confused would be an understatement. I thought this movie was supposed to be pro-black and anti-racist. Yet here they are depicting blacks as animals.

Thank God James Woods is here, however. Woods plays Robert Tanenbaum, the Assistant District Attorney of the City of New York. Tanenbaum is assigned to the task of finding the culprits of the crime. His partner, played by Yaphet Kotto, serves not only as the undercover `brother' but as Tanenbaum's right hand man.

Badge Of The Assassin's script is refreshingly realistic. There's barely any action (violence) but the movie stays tension-filled, thanks to Woods' nervous performance. The story speeds along nicely and the whole thing is very enjoyable. Woods, as I said, is very good. The underrated Yaphet Kotto also delivers a powerful performance. Rae Dawn Chong and Pam Grier show up in small roles as the girlfriends of the accused. The cast is solid, in all.

One thing that bothered me was the R rating. This doesn't deserve an R rating. There's some dark, non-bloody violence, half-a-dozen casual swears and one racial slur. This deserves a PG-13 rating. Because of the R rating I was expecting a violent cop movie, but instead I got an intelligent cop suspense.

Obviously, it'll be hard to find this movie in a video store because of its general fall into oblivion. However, if you see it on the shelf, then grab it, you won't be sorry. 7.5/10

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