A movie special effects man is hired to fake a real-life mob killing for a witness protection plan, but finds his own life in danger.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ellen Keith
Martin Lipton
Col. Mason
Nicholas DeFranco
Capt. Jake Wallenger
Lt. Murdoch
Paul D'Amato ...
Jossie DeGuzman ...
Marisa Velez (as Jossie deGuzman)
Jean De Baer ...
M'el Dowd ...
Joyce Lehman (Miss Lehman) (as M'eL Dowd)


A movies special effects man is hired by a government agency to help stage the assassination of a well known gangster. When the agency double crosses him, he uses his special effects to trap the gangster and the corrupt agents. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Special effetcs are his life...and his death? See more »


Action | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 February 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

F/X - Murder by Illusion  »

Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)


$20,603,715 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The two stars of this film have homonym's for first names (Bryan Brown) and (Brian Dennehy). See more »


The uniforms worn by the New York State Police at Mason's mansion and the morgue are their dress blouses and are only worn for special ceremonies such as funerals, parades and awards and are never worn on patrol. See more »


Rollie Tyler: Bok choi has great texture. Like alien flesh.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Just at the start of the end credits, the camera flashes briefly through out-take type shots of the eight principal players (Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Diane Venora, Cliff De Young, Mason Adams, Jerry Orbach, Martha Gehman, and Joe Grifasi). Each actor smiles out-of-character at the camera as though in appreciation to the audience of their performances. See more »


References The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) See more »


Performed by Huey Lewis & The News (as Huey Lewis and The News)
Written by Johnny Colla (as J. Colla) and Huey Lewis
Courtesy of Chrysalis Records Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

a fun little movie
19 March 2002 | by (California) – See all my reviews

F/X is a movie I had been hearing about for years, so I finally buckled down and rented it, and I was pretty surprised. It's a good, suspenseful movie with nice effects, a decent story, and some good performances (except for the girl who plays the effects assistant, though she's not on-screen a lot). Bryan Brown plays Roland Tyler, a freelance special effects artist who seeks revenge after some shady Justice Department guys set him up to be the fall guy in a staged execution they had hired him to pull off. Brian Dennehy doesn't enter the film until nearly forty minutes into the picture, but once he does, he's as good as always, even if his character just sort of moves from place to place and effortlessly picks up clues along the way. I would have liked to seen the two stars have more scenes together, but they never even meet up until the final scene of the movie. Cliff DeYoung does his usual weasel villain, though he mysteriously vanishes from the film without explanation, and Jerry Orbach is good in a supporting role as the mobster whose execution is staged. The effects used by Tyler aren't as spectacular as I had thought they would be (disguises to avoid police, smoke bombs, fake blood, etc.), but they're used effectively. F/X is an entertaining little movie with a fair amount of suspense and some good action. Oh, and what I wouldn't give to have that home security system Tyler has inside his front door. The sequel's not bad either.

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