76 user 27 critic

Lionheart (1990)

An Ex-French Solider begins participating in underground street fights in order to make money for his brother's family.



(earlier screenplay), (story) | 2 more credits »
4,244 ( 457)

Watch Now

With Prime Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Death Warrant (1990)
Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

In a violent and corrupt prison, decorated cop Louis Burke must infiltrate the jail to find answers to a number of inside murders. What he finds is a struggle of life and death tied in to his own past.

Director: Deran Sarafian
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Robert Guillaume, Cynthia Gibb
Kickboxer (1989)
Action | Sport | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Kurt Sloane must learn the ancient kick boxing art of Muay Thai in order to avenge his brother.

Directors: Mark DiSalle, David Worth
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Alexio, Dennis Chan
Double Impact (1991)
Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Twin brothers are separated when their parents are murdered but 25 years later they re-unite in order to avenge their parents' death.

Director: Sheldon Lettich
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Geoffrey Lewis, Alonna Shaw
Bloodsport (1988)
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Follows Frank Dux, an American martial artist serving in the military, who decides to leave the army to compete in a martial arts tournament in Hong Kong where fights to the death can occur.

Director: Newt Arnold
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Donald Gibb, Leah Ayres
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Escaped convict Sam Gillen single handedly takes on ruthless developers determined to evict Clydie - a widow with two young children. Nobody knows who Sam is.

Director: Robert Harmon
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rosanna Arquette, Kieran Culkin
Hard Target (1993)
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A woman hires a drifter as her guide through New Orleans in search of her father, who has gone missing. They discover a deadly game of cat and mouse behind his disappearance in the process.

Director: John Woo
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lance Henriksen, Yancy Butler
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Private Luc Deveraux and his sadistic sergeant, Andrew Scott, got killed in Vietnam. The army uses their bodies for a secret project - reanimating dead soldiers as deadly obedient cyborgs. However, their memories come back too.

Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Ally Walker
Legionnaire (1998)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Alain Lefevre is a boxer paid by a Marseille mobster to take a dive. When he wins the fight he attempts to flee to America with the mobster's girlfriend Katrina. This plan fails and he ... See full summary »

Director: Peter MacDonald
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Steven Berkoff
The Quest (1996)
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Chris embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery that spans the globe. Kidnapped and enslaved by gun smugglers, sold by pirates and thrust into the murky underworld of gambling and kickboxing,... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Claude Van Damme
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Roger Moore, James Remar
Sudden Death (1995)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A former fireman takes on a group of terrorists holding the Vice President and others hostage during the seventh game of the NHL Stanley Cup finals.

Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe, Raymond J. Barry
Maximum Risk (1996)
Action | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A policeman finds out that he had a twin brother who was killed in a violent altercation. He takes his twin brother's place, inheriting his problems and his girlfriend, determined to expose... See full summary »

Director: Ringo Lam
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge, Jean-Hugues Anglade
Timecop (1994)
Action | Crime | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Max Walker, an officer for a security agency that regulates time travel, must fend for his life against a shady politician who's intent on changing the past to control the future.

Director: Peter Hyams
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mia Sara, Ron Silver


Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicole Gaultier
Voyo Goric ...
Sgt. Hartog
Francois (as Jason Adams)
William T. Amos ...
Drug Dealer
Roz Bosley ...
Dennis Rucker ...
Irish Legionnaire (as Dennis Wayne Rucker)
African Legionnaire


Lyon Gaultier is a deserter in the Foreign Legion arriving in the USA entirely hard up. He finds his brother between life and death and his sister-in-law without the money needed to heal her husband and to maintain her child. To earn the money needed, Gaultier decides to take part in some very dangerous clandestine fights. Written by Tognacci Sebastiano <seblog@maya.dei.unipd.it>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Honour or revenge, he has no choice... See more »


Action | Crime | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphically violent fight scenes and for strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

11 January 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A.W.O.L.  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)


$24,078,196 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Olivier Gruner earned his credit by supplying background research regarding the French Foreign Legion to the filmmakers. See more »


When Lyon and Joshua are walking in New York City there is seen a sign for Carl's Jr., a western burger chain with no locations on the east coast. See more »


Lyon: Cynthia, I'm not your toy.
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Mouth (2008) See more »


Words and Music by Gil Karson & Sal Rodriguez
Performed by Sal Rodriguez & Bertha E. Oropeza (as Bertha Oropeza)
Published by QLT & Karson West
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"Lionheart" - Welcome to the Lion's Den
15 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the Jean-Claude Van Damme martial arts movie "Lionheart," audiences get to see a side of the Muscles from Brussels not seen in previous action films like "Bloodsport" (1988) and "Kickboxer" (1989): Van Damme acting and fighting like there's no tomorrow. I must be crazy for giving "Lionheart" such a high rating based on "acting" from Van Damme but if one can get past the phony Hollywood theatrics and the like, you can see what is very easily the best of Van Damme's early work simply because he isn't trying too hard... yet.

For the most part in "Lionheart," the flashy, impossible athleticism of the Belgian-born martial arts sensation's earlier works has been shunned in favor of straight-up no-holds-barred brawling, which is essentially what this picture is about. After his drug-dealing brother is set on fire in Los Angeles, Lyon Gaultier (Van Damme) deserts his post in North Africa with the French Foreign Legion and high-tails it to the United States to reconnect with his brother's wife and five-year-old daughter, with two agents in hot pursuit with orders to bring him back at any cost. Once here, he happens upon a bare-knuckle brawl underneath a bridge and immediately stuns the natives when he dispatches his first opponent with surprisingly little difficulty.

At this same match, he also meets Joshua (Harrison Page), a street-wise hustler who becomes Lyon's self-appointed manager and gives Lyon the nickname "Lionheart." Soon enough, Lyon's brawl becomes the talk of the tight little circle interested in such senseless "human cock-fighting," and shamelessly amoral rich-woman fight promoter Cynthia (Deborah Rennard) signs on Lyon as her champion for several no-holds-barred street fights. The arenas themselves are as ridiculous as they could possibly get - an underground parking lot, a racquetball court, a half-filled swimming pool, and a tennis court - but they get the job done in serving shameless blood-sport for the rich who are thirsty for guys beating the living daylights out of each other. At the center of it, of course, is determined Lyon, who puts aside his own reservations about fighting for the rich and focuses squarely on putting money in his family's pockets.

For all its scenes of combat and many, many missteps, "Lionheart" is very easily the best of Van Damme's early martial arts movies simply because it'll give fans of the genre what they want: maximum Van Damage and, boy, does he damage some of his sparring partners and take some damage of his own. The fight choreography (by Frank Dux, the real-life character Van Damme played in his earlier "Bloodsport") is brutal and realistic, with little flash & glitter. It's intense stuff that really captures the beauty and brutality of no-hards-barred combat.

The script, which mostly consists of four-letter words, is obviously the weakest point here. But how can you possibly expect a script authored by Van Damme himself and director Sheldon Lettich to be Academy Award-winning material? What people want to see here is fighting, although there are some heartfelt scenes between family that could probably warm the hearts of those who care to see such drama.

More gladiator combat spectacle than dramatic actioner, "Lionheart" takes us to the Lion's Den and never looks back.


8 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: