IMDb > Above the Law (1988)
Above the Law
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Above the Law (1988) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 27 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Above the Law -- A dedicated Chicago police detective becomes drawn into an international drug-dealing conspiracy going back to his days as a special agent in Vietnam.
Above the Law -- In Japan, the Sicilian martial arts expert Nicolo "Nico" Toscani is recruited by the CIA Special Agent Nelson Fox to join the Special Operations Forces in the border of the Vietnam and Cambodia. In 1973, Nico witnesses the torturer Kurt Zagon interrogating prisoners of war and he is disgusted and quits the CIA, returning to Chicago. Fifteen years later, Nico is married with a baby with his wife Sarah and they live in the same house of his mother. Nico is a tough and incorruptible narcotics detective of the Chicago Police Department very close to his partner and friend Delores 'Jacks' Jackson and his friend Detective Lukich. When Nico and Jacks investigate a drug traffic operation, they arrest the gang of the drug dealer Tony Salvano but they find that they are smuggling the plastic explosive C4 instead. However there is an interference of the FBI and Salvano and his partner are released by FBI Agent Neeley (Nicholas Kusenko) and the detectives are forbidden of proceed with the investigation. But Nico does not stop and is suspended from the police force. But when there is an explosion in the church of his neighborhood and his friend and parish priest Joseph Gennaro is murdered, Nico chases Salvano and discovers a corruption ring that is planning to kill the American Senator Ernest Harrison that is investigating the involvement of the CIA with drug traffic.


User Rating:
5.9/10   21,495 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 32% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Andrew Davis (story) &
Steven Seagal (story) ...
View company contact information for Above the Law on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 April 1988 (USA) See more »
He was a covert agent trained in Vietnam. He has a master 6th degree black belt in Aikido... and family in the Mafia. He's a cop with an attitude. See more »
A former Special Operations Vietnam vet works as a Chicago cop and uncovers CIA wrongdoing. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Seagal goes above the law in "Above the Law" See more (87 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Steven Seagal ... Nico Toscani

Pam Grier ... Delores 'Jacks' Jackson

Henry Silva ... Kurt Zagon

Ron Dean ... Detective Lukich

Daniel Faraldo ... Tony Salvano

Sharon Stone ... Sara Toscani
Miguel Nino ... Chi Chi Ramon
Nicholas Kusenko ... FBI Agent Neeley
Joe Greco ... Father Joseph Gennaro (as Joe V. Greco)

Chelcie Ross ... Nelson Fox

Gregory Alan Williams ... FBI Agent Halloran (as Gregory Alan-Williams)

Jack Wallace ... Uncle Branca
Metta Davis ... Rosa Toscani
Joseph F. Kosala ... Lieutenant Strozah (as Joseph Kosala)
Ronnie Barron ... CIA Bartender
Joe D. Lauck ... Senator Ernest Harrison
Henry Godinez ... Father Tomasino

Danny Goldring ... Zagon's Aide

Thalmus Rasulala ... Deputy Supt. Crowder (as Thalamus Rasulala)
Gene Barge ... Detective Henderson
Mike James ... Officer O'Hara
India Cooper ... Sister Mary, Sanctuary Nun
Michelle Hoard ... Lucy

Christopher Peditto ... Alex, the Pimp
Rafael González ... Carlos Abandano, Cocaine Lawyer (as Rafael Gonzales)
Nydia Rodriguez Terracina ... Bomb Woman (as Nydia Rodriguez-Terracina)
Cheryl Hamada ... Watanabe
Ralph Foody ... Federal Clerk
Vince Viverito ... Giuseppe
Alex Ross ... Luigi
Toni Fleming ... Grandma Zingaro

Gene Hartline ... Man in Bar
Tom Milanovich ... Man in Bar
Dan Janecek ... Man in Bar

Michael Rooker ... Man in Bar

Lee de Broux ... CIA Interrogator

Patrick Gorman ... CIA Interrogator
Gary Goldman ... CIA Interrogator
Le Tuan ... Interpreter
Dennis Phun ... Asian Prisoner
April Tran ... Asian Prisoner
Chantara Nop ... Cambodian Irregular
Al Rasho ... Grocery Store Owner
Mike Coglianese ... Branca's Bodyguard

Sandy Holt ... Hostess
Mike Nakayama ... NEC Show Rep
Zaid Farid ... Street Dude
Juan Ramírez ... Machete Man
Mario Nieves ... Man with Gun
Terry Stewart ... Machete Man's Buddy
Anthony Cannata ... Wiseguy Hitman (as Tony Cannata)
Lisa Tejero ... Refugee Woman
Chris Karchmar ... Refugee Man
John Drummond ... TV Reporter
Clare Peck ... Judge Roberta Alspaugh
Tom Muzila ... Aikido Fighter

Craig Dunn ... Aikido Fighter
Marc Katz ... Aikido Fighter (as Marc Kutz)
Haruo Matsuoka ... Aikido Fighter
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Banoso ... Chef with Knife (uncredited)
Fred Degerberg ... Bar Drunk (uncredited)
Robert Minkoff ... Bit (uncredited)

Richard Nixon ... Himself - in Speech (archive footage) (uncredited)
Kristina Oster ... Doctor (uncredited)
Thi Kim Phuc Phan ... Herself - Napalmed Young Vietnamese Girl (archive footage) (uncredited)
Timothy W. Tiedje ... CIA Thug (uncredited)

Directed by
Andrew Davis 
Writing credits
Andrew Davis (story) &
Steven Seagal (story)

Steven Pressfield (screenplay) &
Ronald Shusett (screenplay) &
Andrew Davis (screenplay)

Produced by
Andrew Davis .... producer
Steven Seagal .... producer
Robert H. Solo .... executive producer (as Robert Solo)
John G. Wilson .... co-producer (as John Wilson)
Original Music by
David Michael Frank  (as David M. Frank)
Cinematography by
Robert Steadman 
Film Editing by
Michael Brown 
Casting by
Nan Charbonneau 
Billy DaMota  (as Billy Damota)
Richard S. Kordos 
Production Design by
Maher Ahmad 
Set Decoration by
William Arnold  (as Bill Arnold)
Makeup Department
Jean Austin .... hair stylist: Vietnam sequence
Robyn Goldman .... hair stylist
Rodger Jacobs .... makeup artist
Mike Moschella .... makeup artist: Vietnam sequence
Production Management
John G. Wilson .... unit production manager
Joel Chernoff .... executive in charge of production (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
James A. Dennett .... first assistant director: Vietnam sequence
Mickey Gilbert .... second unit director
Peter Giuliano .... first assistant director
Linnea Ebba Wicklund .... second second assistant director (as Linnea Wicklund)
Robert J. Wilson .... second assistant director
Art Department
Eve Cauley .... leadperson
Howard Cole .... property master: Vietnam sequence
Thomas M. Jones .... assistant property master
Edward J. McDonald .... set decorator: Vietnam sequence (as Ed McDonald)
Ned Parsons .... art director: Vietnam sequence
Ron Reedy .... props
Timothy W. Tiedje .... property master
Larry Verne .... construction coordinator: Vietnam sequence
Anthony Joseph Fatigato .... stand-by painter (uncredited)
Paul Stanwyck .... head painter (uncredited)
Sound Department
Rick Alexander .... sound re-recording mixer (as Dick Alexander)
Gene S. Cantamessa .... sound mixer: Vietnam sequence (as Gene Cantamessa)
Teri E. Dorman .... sound editor (as Teri E. Dormann)
Jay Engel .... supervising adr editor
Les Fresholtz .... sound re-recording mixer
Dee Dee Goldner .... assistant sound editor
Robert G. Henderson .... supervising sound editor
Denise Horta .... adr editor
Joseph A. Ippolito .... sound editor
Dale R. Janus .... boom operator (as Dale Janus)
Alan Robert Murray .... supervising sound editor (as Alan Murray)
Vern Poore .... sound re-recording mixer
Scott D. Smith .... production sound mixer (as Scott Smith)
Brooke Henderson Ward .... assistant sound editor
Marshall Winn .... sound editor
Destiny Borden .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
Dennis C. Salcedo .... boom operator (uncredited)
Gary Wright .... dolby stereo sound consultant (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Arthur Brewer .... special effects (as Art Brewer)
Dennis Dion .... special effects: Vietnam sequence
R.J. Hohman .... special effects technician
Leo Leoncio Solis .... special effects (as Leo Solis)
Richard L. Hill .... special effects sequences (uncredited)
Hank Baumert .... stunts
George Berry .... stunts (as George L. Berry)
J.D. David .... stunts (as J.D. Davis)
Paula Dell .... stunts
Eddie J. Fernandez .... stunts (as Eddie Fernandez)
Dean Raphael Ferrandini .... stunts (as Dean Ferrandini)
Joe Finnegan .... stunts
Glory Fioramonti .... stunts
George Fisher .... stunts
Lance Gilbert .... stunts
Mickey Gilbert .... stunts
Tim Gilbert .... stunts
Troy Gilbert .... stunts
Sandra Lee Gimpel .... stunts (as Sandy Gimpel)
Peter Horak .... stunts
J. Max Kirshina .... stunts
Rick Le Fevour .... stunts
Stacy Logan .... stunts
Matt McColm .... stunts
John Meier .... stunts
Noon Orsatti .... stunts
David Perna .... stunts (as Dave Perna)
Randy Popplewell .... stunts
Bobby Porter .... stunts
Karen Price .... stunts
Bill M. Ryusaki .... stunts (as Bill Ryusaki)
Spike Silver .... stunts
Kay Whipple .... stunts
Mickey Gilbert .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Gene Hartline .... stunts (uncredited)
K. Lee Johnson .... stunts (uncredited)
Larry Reynosa .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Art Bartels .... key grip
James Blanford .... camera operator (as Jim Blanford)
Alphonse Blumenthal .... best boy electric (as Al Blumenthal)
Kelly R. Borisy .... second grip (as Kelly Borisy)
Paolo Cascio .... second assistant camera (as Paul Cascio)
Eugene F. Crededio .... gaffer (as Gino Credidio)
Andrew Davis .... director of photography: Vietnam sequence
Brian C. Glover .... first assistant camera (as Brian Glover)
Mario Gutierrez .... second assistant camera
Michael Kohnhorst .... first assistant camera (as Mike Kohnhorst)
Melton Maxwell .... gaffer: Vietnam sequence (as Mel Maxwell)
Frank Miller .... additional photographer
Frank Miller .... camera operator
Ken Nishino .... first assistant camera: Vietnam sequence
Keith Peterman .... camera operator: Vietnam sequence
Tom Ramsey .... key grip: Vietnam sequence
Randall Robinson .... camera operator: Vietnam sequence
James Zenk .... still photographer (as Jim Zenk)
William Allen Jr. .... grip (uncredited)
Randall Robinson .... director of photography: Hawaii (uncredited)
Casting Department
Alan Berger .... casting assistant
Maureen Corcoran .... casting assistant
Sue Knutsen .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Hector Morales .... costume supervisor: Vietnam sequence
Gina Panno .... set costumer
Carolyn Schraut-Barczak .... wardrobe supervisor (as Carolyn Schraut Barczak)
Editorial Department
David Holden .... additional editor
Robert K. Lambert .... additional editor (as Robert Lambert)
John Morrisey .... assistant editor
Christopher Rouse .... assistant editor
Laura Behary .... assistant film editor (uncredited)
Michael Oleksinski .... assistant editor (uncredited)
David Young .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
John La Salandra .... music editor (as John LaSalandra)
George Doering .... musician (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Patrick Lynn .... transportation captain (as Pat Lynn)
John P. McAuliffe .... transportation coordinator (as John McAuliffe)
Daniel Quick .... transportation coordinator: Vietnam sequence
Other crew
Ken Bernstein .... production runner
Beth Brown .... production accountant
Dru Anne Carlson .... script supervisor (as Druanne Carlson)
James A. Dennett II .... assistant: Mr. Davis
Joseph T. Doyle .... location manager
Wayne Fitzgerald .... title designer
Jay Flynn .... production runner
Thomas F. Gleason .... production runner (as Thomas Gleason)
Gary Goldman .... technical advisor: Vietnam sequence
Joseph F. Kosala .... technical advisor (as Joseph Kosala)
Dennis Lindbergh .... craft service (as Dennis Lindberg)
Raeanne Malone .... assistant: Mr. Seagal
Andy Marx .... unit publicist
Karyn McCarthy .... office secretary (as Karen McCarthy)
Kerry Lyn McKissick .... script supervisor: Vietnam (as Lynn McKissick)
Erik Osborn .... computer graphic artist
Jeanine Rohn .... production runner
Brad Ruby .... production runner
Steven Seagal .... aikido choreographer
Teresa Tucker-Davies .... assistant: Mr. Davis (as Theresa Tucker)
Anna Zappia .... production secretary
Jimmy Jatho .... production assistant (uncredited)
Jimmy Jatho .... security officer (uncredited)
Steve Kraus .... dailies projectionist (uncredited)
Ross L. Kulma .... set medic (uncredited)
Gary Ryder .... extras coordinator (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
99 min | Germany:93 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Dolby Stereo (4 channels)
Argentina:18 | Australia:MA (DVD rating) | Australia:R (original rating) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Canada:R (original rating) | Canada:18A (re-rating) | Finland:K-18 | Finland:K-16 (cut) | Finland:K-18 (cut) (1989) | France:-12 | Germany:18 (re-rating) (uncut) | Iceland:16 | Netherlands:16 | Norway:18 | Portugal:M/16 | Singapore:NC-16 | Sweden:15 | UK:18 | USA:R (Certificate #29113) | West Germany:16 (cut)

Did You Know?

Due to film schedule constraints, the sequences at "Chicago Summer CES" (Consumer Electronic Show) were actually filmed at the November Comdex (Computer Dealer Expo) in Las Vegas. The film crew carried press credentials and pretended to be a news show filming about the products in the booth.See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When 5 armed thugs came out of the van, children saw them and started to run before they began to shoot. However, one girl among children didn't turn around and didn't see armed people but she started to run anyway.See more »
Nico Toscani:What's happening brother?
black man on street:What it be like, homey?
See more »
Movie Connections:


What are the differences between the British BBFC 18 Version and the Uncut Version?
See more »
11 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
Seagal goes above the law in "Above the Law", 10 June 2006
Author: dee.reid from United States

Before he was "out for justice" on the mean Brooklyn streets and "under siege" by terrorists on a U.S. Navy battleship, he was above the law. Yes, I'm talking about that quick-fisted, pony-tailed martial arts hero Steven Seagal and his 1988 starring debut "Above the Law."

Though his career hasn't panned out the way this debut promised, it is nonetheless a dynamic introduction to the mysterious world of Seagal, who plays Nico Toscani, a Chicago cop who as a child took up the Japanese martial art of Aikido and was some time later recruited by the CIA for covert operations in Vietnam.

After witnessing the cruel torture and executions of some Vietnamese hostages by ruthless CIA chemical interrogator Zagon (Henry Silva) and his cohorts, who also seem in on a secret drug running operation, he walks away from his career and retires to life as a cop on the streets of Chicago with wife Sara (Sharon Stone) and partner Jacks (Pam Grier). Things get dicey when two suspects collared in a recent drug bust are allowed to go free. The department silences concerns by announcing that the two men are part of a huge undercover investigation. But Nico doesn't buy it.

He suspects that something bigger is underway, and he's right. It isn't long before he stumbles onto a covert drug running operation right under his nose that involves his old CIA buddies, a local drug kingpin, some corrupt FBI officials and old nemesis Zagon, who is also involved in a political assassination plot. So Toscani, Jacks, and his Aikido fists of fury go to work on some really bad guys.

Directed by Andrew Davis and co-produced by Seagal (who also shares a story credit), "Above the Law" promises a mean and gritty portrait of law enforcement with the magnetic screen presence of the charismatic (if not necessarily wooden) Seagal in the lead. The picture opens with some black & white home movie footage of Toscani and accompanying narration, showing us this mysterious man's history. Seagal, who became the first American to open an Aikido dojo in Japan and at the time held a sixth-degree black belt in the art, was a world-renowned security expert before he started appearing in the movies and snapping necks, bending limbs, and using his opponents' own momentum and strength against them.

"Above the Law" does has some script problems, but it's balanced out by some rough & tumble action shoot-outs and nasty fights where Seagal throws his opponents into things and breaks and twists limbs 180 degrees in the opposite direction. But that is what his chosen sport Aikido does, as it employs joint locks, pins, and other methods meant to redirect and utilize an attacker's own strength and power against him. And Seagal does it perfectly.

Is "Above the Law" a sensational debut for Steven Seagal? Certainly, at least for his loyalists. As a casual fan, he has certainly made better movies since then and improved his "acting" skills but what will always dazzle us are the nifty arm-twists and breaks that prove he is a master of his Aikido craft.


Was the above review useful to you?
See more (87 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Above the Law (1988)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
O mplication of abuse at the church scene ahbopek
Rank the Seagal Films Metropolis99
Segal is a bad ass ! krunchy144
Was Nelson Fox dirty? coleskinner-767-616012
What's with that walk? jesscclifford333
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Code of Silence The Professional: Golgo 13 Beverly Hills Cop Double Impact Hard to Kill
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Action section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.