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Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

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A frustrated man decides to take justice into his own hands after a plea bargain sets one of his family's killers free. He targets not only the killer but also the district attorney and others involved in the deal.



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3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Emerald-Angel Young ...
Denise Rice (as Emerald Angel Young)
Rupert Ames (as Joshua Stewart)


Clyde Shelton's family is brutally murdered. The ones responsible are caught. However, because of improper procedure, the D.A., Nick Rice only has circumstantial evidence. So he decides to get one of them to testify against the other. When Shelton learns of this, he is not happy. Ten years later, the one who was convicted is being executed but something goes wrong; his execution goes awry and he suffers. They learn that someone tampered with the machine. And the other one is found dead, killed in a gruesome manner. Rice suspects Shelton, so he has him picked up. At first, Shelton agrees to a plea agreement with Rice but changes his mind. It appears that Shelton is not done, it appears he blames the whole system and is declaring war on it going after everyone involved with his family's case. So Rice has to stop him but Shelton is way ahead of him. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The System Must Pay See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody brutal violence and torture, a scene of rape, and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 October 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Días de ira  »


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,039,502, 18 October 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$73,343,413, 31 January 2010

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$126,690,726, 12 August 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jamie Foxx's character uses the line "It's not what you know, it's what you can prove in court". This is the same line Denzel Washington uses in Training Day minus the "in court". See more »


During the first court room scene a smoke machine can be seen in the background. See more »


Detective Dunnigan: Where's the specialist team?
SWAT Troop #1: Round the corner. It's approaching soft.
Detective Dunnigan: Where's the bomb disposal unit?
SWAT Troop #1: You're looking at it.
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Referenced in Bad Movie Beatdown: The Ugly Truth (2010) See more »


Eminence Front
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by The Who
Courtesy of Polydor Records Ltd./Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Law Abiding Citizen is a thrill ride
15 October 2009 | by See all my reviews

This film is gory, but the gore is mostly suggested rather than shown. You can make up your own mind as to how gory you want it to be. Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) and Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) are excellent as "frenemies." They still sympathize with each other, in a way, as each teaches the other a lesson. Butler is excellent as the crushed father and husband who believes he must use his unique skills and talent to make an example of a justice system that has forgotten the victims. You sympathize with him even as he enacts his vicious lesson plan upon Foxx's coworkers. Foxx is an arrogant self-serving assistant district attorney who is only concerned with his conviction rate as he claws his way up the ladder in the justice system. He has forgotten the victims. But when he has a family of his own, he begins to see Clyde's point, yet he cannot give in to all of Clyde's demands to stop the carnage. Beautifully films in a noir tone with excellent timing on the stunts and effects. Law Abiding Citizen is an adrenaline-pumping experience. Bring your heart meds.

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