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Tough Guys (1974)

An ex-convict priest and a framed former policeman hunt a machine-gun killer behind a bank robbery.


Duccio Tessari


Nicola Badalucco, Georges Dutter (French dialogue) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lino Ventura ... Father Charlie
Isaac Hayes ... Lee
Fred Williamson ... Joe Snake
Paula Kelly ... Fay
William Berger ... Captain Ryan
Vittorio Sanipoli ... Mike Petralia
Lorella De Luca ... Anne Lombardo
Mario Erpichini Mario Erpichini ... Gene Lombardo
Jess Hahn ... The Bartender
Jacques Herlin ... Barfly
Guido Leontini Guido Leontini ... Sergeant Sam
Romano Puppo ... Hood
Luciano Salce Luciano Salce ... The bishop
Thurman Scott Thurman Scott ... Tony
Joel Cory Joel Cory ... Cammioneur


An ex-convict priest and a framed former policeman hunt a machine-gun killer behind a bank robbery.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Black Moses, The Hammer, and The Preacher Man. They've got their own kind of mean game.


Action | Crime


PG | See all certifications »



Italy | France | USA



Release Date:

29 May 1974 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Tough Guys See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The production was staffed by an Italian crew because of former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley denying Hollywood production staff from filming within the city. See more »


Featured in Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 4 (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Brother, can you spare me some LIGHT? ... And perhaps an Abacus?
29 January 2008 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

It's probably due to the cheap and clumsy transfer to the Grindhouse Collection DVD, but the picture quality and lighting of this film are absolutely awful! I know this is supposed to be some type of "Blaxploitation" movie, but if I'm not mistaken, this term doesn't mean staring at a black screen the whole time! Several sequences, especially during the first half hour, you have completely no idea what to make of because you only see darkness and vague shadows moving around. And now that we're pointing out the abnormalities anyway, there's something seriously wrong with the title of "THREE Tough Guys". Three? Somebody bring on an abacus, because the correct title ought to be TWO tough guys. At least the soulful theme song got it right. It's not hard to guess why the producers opted to put the number three in the title, though. Fred Williamson receives top billing even though he barely has any screen time and he's also referred to as another one of the tough guys in spite of the fact he's not so tough (he beats women and shoots people in the back) and operating on the wrong side of the law. Williamson's name obviously just served to attract more viewers, as he just scored big Blaxploitation hits with "Black Caesar" and "Hammer", whereas the real tough black dude - Isaac Hayes - would only become a huge star shortly after the release of "Three Tough Guys", namely with his very own testosterone-packed blockbuster "Truck Turner". Say what you want about these Italian filmmakers, but they are great marketers! Anyway, onwards with the story, this opens with the cowardly murder of an insurance agent outside a nightclub. Apparently he was single-handedly investigating a million dollar bank heist and came a little too close to the truth. His closest friend – a tough ex-veteran turned priest – swears to catch whoever killed him and starts a nightly private investigation via sleazy bars and dark alleys filled with heavily armed thugs… on his bike, nonetheless! Father Charlie soon receives back-up from a former cop who has a score of his own to settle. It's no real secret that all traces eventually lead to Williamson, the über-villain for a change! "Three Tough Guys" is a neat hybrid between Italian exploitation and Baadassssssss Cinema, although not highly memorable and badly suffering from the lamentable production values. There are slightly too many tedious sequences to struggle through, but the on screen chemistry between Isaac Hayes and Lino Ventura feels surprisingly authentic and the script contains several funny parts. The amount of brutal violence and sleaze is quite a letdown, but Hayes' own soundtrack is very catchy and Duccio Tessari's ("The Bloodstained Butterfly", "Death Occurred Last Night") direction is fairly solid. So far, the Grindhouse Collection box-set is the only way to get your dirty little hands on this film, but I do hope a fully restored version will appear on DVD in the near future, as it deserves to be slightly more known.

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