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Rabid Dogs (1974)

Cani arrabbiati (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 25 February 1998 (USA)
Following a bungled robbery, three violent criminals take a young woman, a middle-aged man, and a child hostage and force them to drive them outside Rome to help them make a clean escape.


Mario Bava


Alessandro Parenzo (story and screenplay)

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Complete credited cast:
Riccardo Cucciolla ... Riccardo
Don Backy ... Bisturi / Blade / Stiletto (as Aldo Caponi)
Lea Lander ... Maria / Greta Garbo
Maurice Poli ... Dottore / Doc / Doctor
George Eastman ... Trentadue / Thirty-two (as Luigi Montefiori)
Erika Dario Erika Dario ... Marisa
Marisa Fabbri ... Maria Sbravati
Luigi Antonio Guerra Luigi Antonio Guerra ... Employee (as Luigi Guerra)
Gustavo De Nardo ... Gas Station Attendant (as Francesco Ferrini)
Emilio Bonucci Emilio Bonucci ... Taxi Driver
Pino Manzari Pino Manzari ... Toll Collector
Ettore Manni ... Bank President


A gang of thieves hijack a man's car after botching their getaway from a robbery. They take a woman prisoner and command the man to drive them to safety. The man must try to cope with the bad situation he is in as well as trying to get help for a sick child that he is caring for. Written by Josh Pasnak <chainsaw@intouch.bc.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Lock the doors, rollup the windows, and buckle up ... for the ride of your life!


Crime | Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Italy | USA



Release Date:

25 February 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kidnapped See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby SR (version 'Kidnapped')


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Often mistakenly is considered an influence on Reservoir Dogs because of how the movie is based around the after effects of a heist. The film wasn't released till 5 years after Reservoir Dogs. Quentin Tarantino has said that Mario Bava's Black Sabbath influenced Pulp Fiction, however. See more »


When Doc looks up from tinkering with a car's engine in his first scene, the camera crew is reflected in his sunglasses. See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally shot in 1974 under the title 'L'uomo e il bambino', this film was shelved when one of the film financial backers died and ownership of the picture became entangled in bankruptcy proceedings before post-production had been completed, which prevented its theatrical release. The film sat on a shelf for almost 25 years until actress Lea Lander rescued it from oblivion by helping finance a DVD release: a new short prologue was shot, according to Bava's original script, and editing and scoring were completed using existing available materials. In 2002 producer Alfredo Leone and director Lamberto Bava (Mario's son), allegedly dissatisfied with the DVD edit, produced a new restored version of the film. Lamberto Bava and his son Roy shot additional footage and original composer Stelvio Cipriani created a new complete musical score (though the DVD release employed some of Cipriani's cues and themes, the film was never properly scored in 1974). This restored version, produced by Kismet Entertainment Group and retitled "Kidnapped", premiered theatrically in the US on May 31, 2002 as part of a Mario Bava retrospective at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood See more »


Referenced in Baby Driver (2017) See more »


Hold On To Me
(Appears in the 'Kidnapped' version)
Words by Myriann D'Antine
Music by Stelvio Cipriani
Sung by Simona Patitucci
See more »

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User Reviews

Rabid Dogs & Kidnapped
25 June 2008 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Rabid Dogs (1974)

**** (out of 4)

A father (Riccardo Cucciolla) is rushing his young son to the hospital because he is near death but before getting there three criminals and their female hostage kidnap them and force them to drive them away from the police. The leader, Doctor (Maurice Poli), and his two assistants (Don Backy, George Eastman) are all crazed madmen who want to escape the police with their money and they don't care what happens to the sick child. It's been many years since I last saw this film and while it went down a few pages in my book I still think it's a very impressive film that would have done director Bava wonders for his career had it ever been released while he was alive. Before the post-production could be finished, one of the film's producers went bankrupt and this caused the film to be seized by the courts where it stayed until 1997, a full seventeen years after Bava had died. Once again the director does wonders with such a small budget and he really creates a nailbitting thriller that manages to have several tense scenes and some claustrophobic moments. I love the visual style of the film, which takes place, for the majority of the running time, inside a moving car. The tight space in the car and the way Bava shoots this tightness makes for a very tense ride as we wait and see what the killers are going to do next. Most of the scenes are filmed in close up and this puts us right in the middle of the action. I also loved the way Bava shows developments in the story even if it's something simple like one of the bad guys pulling a gun. Bava just lets the camera gently slide to where the action is and this slow pace really helps build the tension. The entire cast deliver strong performances by it's George Eastman who really sticks out as the perverted Thirty-Two. The movie is rather mean spirited but it never relies on gore or graphic violence. Most of the violence takes place off screen but the way the criminals have no regards for the dying son makes them perfect villains. The music score by Stelvio Cipriani really captures the mood and frantic pacing and adds a lot of tension as well. Then, of course, there's the downright shocking and out of left field ending, which perfectly closes the film. If anyone sees this ending coming then they're a lot better than I am.

Kidnapped (2002/1974)

** (out of 4)

This is the re-edited, American version of Mario Bava's 1974 masterpiece Rabid Dogs, which has been tinkered with to the point where it's really not the same film. Producer Alfredo Leone, who had previously worked with Mario Bava, bought the American rights to Rabid Dogs but he wasn't too happy with the edit that had been done in the 1990's so he hired Mario's son, Lamberto, to shoot new scenes, re-edited other scenes and then added an entire new score. You could argue that there will never ben an official, director's cut of this film, which is a shame but I see this version as a complete hack job from start to finish. I'm not sure what Lamberto didn't like about the original editing job but everything his father's film had going for it is pretty much lost here in the bastard like version. For starters, it seems that the producer wanted more of an action movie so we get added scenes that really don't do anything for the film. During the opening heist we see added footage of the police being called. The biggest problem with these added scenes are three moments where an extra character is brought into the film and this really ruins the ending. I won't ruin the brilliant original ending by writing about it here but once you watch the original version you'll see what I mean. Then there's the re-editing of the film. Once again I feel this really takes away the pacing of what Bava had in mind. How can I know what Mario original had it mind? Because Rabid Dogs has the pacing of a lot of Mario's films while Kidnapped doesn't. There's also a new music score added, which is a real killer as it, again, adds nothing to the film. If you're a fan of the original film and want to see how a producer can mess up a classic then I'd recommend you watching this version. If you haven't seen either version then stick with the original. It's funny but producer Leone messed around with Mario's Lisa and the Devil and turned it into the hated The House of Exorcism so it's no shock that he would do it again. It is shocking to see Lamberto putting his name on this however.

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