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Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  16 October 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 205,004 users   Metascore: 34/100
Reviews: 423 user | 213 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

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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2 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


How do you stop a killer who is already behind bars? 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:

$21,039,502 (USA) (16 October 2009)


$73,343,413 (USA) (29 January 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Catherine Zeta-Jones was considered for the role of Mayor April Henry. See more »


As Clyde gives Nick and his legal team until 6:00 to release him the camera shows the clock turning to 6:00 for dramatic effect. Then seconds later when nothing has happened yet Sarah's watch is set five minutes fast. See more »


Clyde Shelton: I took his fingers with bolt cutters, his toes with tin snips, his balls with a hack saw, and his penis with a box cutter, how's that for specifics?
See more »


Featured in The Jay Leno Show: Episode #1.19 (2009) See more »


Sin's a Good Man's Brother
Written by Mark Farner
Performed by Grand Funk Railroad
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great Acting but a Ludicrous Script
20 January 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm voting this down, but I still pretty much enjoyed it. Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, and everyone else in this movie do superbly well with an engaging action thriller. I was engrossed enough in the first 20 minutes to want to see the whole thing through.

This movie is about revenge, society's concepts of justice and punishment, and the follies of unexamined ambition. It develops these themes from the start and with a good pace throughout the film. The two main leads and their supporting characters are pretty thoroughly believable and deserve much praise for their work.

And the second phase of the film is almost entirely unbelievable. As the action escalates, we are treated to plot action that defies even common sense to hammer home the pervading themes. For specific examples, I'm sure the message boards on this site can elaborate very competently. I was thinking "oh c'mon...really?" with every scene. It was that horrible.

My hope is that whichever producers hacked this up will not be given such latitude in film again. But sadly, schlock sells.

If it weren't for the wonderful strength of the performances, and certain nice detail touches during the first phase of the movie, I'd be rating this as a complete failure. Instead, it's a movie with lots of potential and heart that went way way off the rails into stupid Hollywood nonsense.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Couldve been a great movie if... ovallejr09
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Not even remotely possible....ptp wanderin
Clyde's accomplice bv-j
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