Hit List (1989)

R  |   |  Thriller, Action  |  3 March 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 331 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 3 critic

A family man and a mob witness hunt for a hit-man who has mistakenly kidnapped the family man's son.



(story), (screenplay) (as John Goff) , 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Collins
Frank DeSalvo
Chris Caleek
Tom Mitchum
Vic Luca
Brian Armstrong
Jared Riley
Harriet Hall ...
Sandy Collins
Abe Fasio
Nick Barbaro ...
Barry Brenner ...
Geoff Brewer ...
Richard E. Butler ...


Gangster boss Vincent Luca shall appear in court to account for his crimes - but he has a man at the police who tells him names and locations of the witnesses, so he can kill them all - but one: In the last hit, the professional killer gets into the wrong house. When the owner Mark Collins comes home, he finds his pregnant wife unconscious in the kitchen, his friend dead in the living room and his son kidnapped. The police officer wants Luca to believe he has the real witness' son and sends Collins into prison. But he manages to escape and takes things into his own hands. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The F.B.I. Had Him. The Mob Wants Him. Being Popular Can Be Deadly. See more »


Thriller | Action


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 March 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hell to Pay  »

Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Though Josh Becker and Scott Spiegel were uncredited, they wrote three drafts of the script. Everything they wrote was featured in the film. See more »


Frank DeSalvo: Hey! Whoa! Buster Badass! You are playin' in the major leagues here. You do things my way, or you do it alone.
Jack Collins: [Grabs gun] This may be your world but it's my kid! Got it?
Frank DeSalvo: You are a real dunce-ski.
Jack Collins: Yeah, well, fuck you.
See more »


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »


Bad News
Written by Robby Weaver and Rusty Weaver
(C) Burtus Publishing (EMI)
See more »

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User Reviews

Familiar territory for William Lustig, but he treads it well
12 December 2006 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

William Lustig certainly knows how to direct a gritty city based thriller; he succeeded admirably with the fantastically entertaining Maniac Cop series, and while Hit List isn't quite as memorable - it's still more than entertaining enough, and I'm sure any fan of Lustig's work won't regret tracking it down. It's slightly more serious overall than the majority of the rest of Lustig's filmography, although the director still manages to find time for some humour, and while the action isn't exactly groundbreaking - the film is, at least, not boring for a minute. The basis for the plot focuses on Vic Luca; a big-mouthed mob boss who is set to appear in court for his crimes. However, given his powers as the head of a criminal organisation, it's not difficult for him to track down and kill all the witnesses; much to the dismay of hard-bitten cop Tom Mitchum, who wants to see Luca rot in jail. The plot thickens when Luca's assassin Chris Caleek goes to kill witness Frank DeSalvo and ends up getting the wrong house, and kidnapping ordinary man Jack Collins' son...

William Lustig has put together a good cast for this film, with the likes of Lance Henriksen standing out the most and getting good support from memorable actors such as Charles Napier, Rip Torn, Jan-Michael Vincent and Leo Rossi. As he showed with the Maniac Cop films, Lustig certainly has an eye for atmosphere and this film revels in the same gritty urban feel as the earlier films did. I've got to say that I'm surprised this film isn't better known really; it may not have quite the same appeal that Maniac Cop did, but it's great fun and makes for easy viewing. The characters are all drawn in an intriguing manner, as no two are similar and thanks to the cast of character actors - all manage to be memorable in their own right. The film obviously had budget constraints as there's not a great deal of action sequences, and the ones that do feature aren't exactly over the top; but Lustig makes good use of his assets, and Hit List could have been a lot worse. It all boils down to a conclusion that isn't hard to see coming, but its good fun getting there and overall, I won't hesitate to recommend this film to anyone who can find it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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