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Syndicate Sadists (1975)

Il giustiziere sfida la città (original title)
R | | Action, Crime, Drama | April 1976 (USA)
A biker's brother is killed while investigating the kidnapping of a young boy, the byproduct of a war between two crime families. The biker vows to get revenge by finding the kidnapped boy and destroying the two families.


Umberto Lenzi


Vincenzo Mannino (screenplay), Vincenzo Mannino (story)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Tomas Milian ... Rambo
Joseph Cotten ... Paternò
Maria Fiore Maria Fiore ... Maria Scalia
Mario Piave Mario Piave ... Pino Scalia
Luciano Catenacci ... Conti
Guido Alberti Guido Alberti ... Owner of Billiard Salon
Femi Benussi ... Flora
Silvano Tranquilli ... Dr. Marco Marsili
Shirley Corrigan ... Conti's mistress
Antonio Casale ... Philip Duval
Rosario Borelli Rosario Borelli ... One of Paterno's men
Luciano Pigozzi ... One of Conti's men
Mario Novelli ... Franco
Bruno Di Luia Bruno Di Luia ... One of Conti's men
Giuseppe Castellano ... One of Conti's men


A biker's brother is killed while investigating the kidnapping of a young boy, the byproduct of a war between two crime families. The biker vows to get revenge by finding the kidnapped boy and destroying the two families. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Did You Know?


The film predates First Blood (1982), the film which introduced audiences to the John Rambo of David Morrell by seven years. Tomas Milian happened to read David Morrell's novel while flying from the U.S. to Rome. Loving the story he tried to talk some Italian producers into making a film out of it, with him starring as John Rambo. Nothing came of this, but he was allowed to use the Rambo moniker in the next poliziottesco he starred in, Syndicate Sadists (1975). The film does not borrow elements from the novel, with Umberto Lenzi stating he was more influenced by the crime films of Don Siegel. See more »


Rambo: Listen, Conti; life is just one hole. You start from a hole, you feed yourself through a hole, you shit from a hole, you finish up in a hole. And the one in this barrel can put you into that last hole.
Conti: I don't believe you'd pull that trigger.
Rambo: The chamber's loaded with dum-dums. If I put one in your brain, they'll have to re-paper the walls.
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Alternate Versions

US unrated DVD misses about two minutes of footage: when the mother of the kidnapped boy comes home and a bunch of reporters await her, Paterno's goons searching for Rambo in a pub, two reaction shots. This omission is also present in the UK Blu-Ray Edition from 88 Films. See more »

User Reviews

Another entertaining crime-fest from Umberto Lenzi!
14 March 2007 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Umberto Lenzi is undoubtedly the king of Italian crime movies, but unfortunately; Syndicate Sadists is not the best examples of his work in this genre. Lenzi's crime flicks tend to be a cut above the rest because he makes films based on stories with a point, and they don't lack direction; but this film feels a bit too wayward to fully fit with the rest of his stuff. The film takes obvious influence from Sergio Leone's landmark western 'A Fistful of Dollars' (which in turn, took influence from Akira Kurosawa's landmark samurai flick Yojimbo), in that it features two warring families and a strong character at the centre. The crime that Lenzi focuses on is kidnapping, and we centre on a character called 'Rambo'. Rambo is dragged into the war between the two families after his brother is killed because of it. Rambo uses his brains and brawn to pit the two families against one another, in the hope of gaining revenge for his brother's death, rescuing a young boy that they've kidnapped, and ultimately letting the two sides destroy one another.

The film's biggest asset is undoubtedly Tomas Milian. Milian was put to great use by Lenzi in almost all of his crime thrillers. The range of characters he has played for Lenzi is immense, and this one is easily one of the coolest. The character is called Rambo, which immediately sprang to mind the popular Sylvester Stallone character - but for once, the Italians actually haven't stolen this name as Syndicate Sadists was released first! As usual, the film is wickedly entertaining, as we get to watch Milian get himself involved in the usual array of car chases, shootouts and brawls. Lenzi has got him riding a motorbike this time round, and every scene featuring it and Milian is a real standout! However, the film often feels like it doesn't really have anywhere to go, and this means that the running time is stretched out more than it should be. Compared to the crime films of other Italian directors, Syndicate Sadists is more than above average; but in relation to Lenzi crime flicks such as Almost Human and The Cynic, The Rat and The Fist - it doesn't stand tall as one of Lenzi's best. Still, if you're looking for ninety minutes of testosterone fuelled mayhem - Syndicate Sadists will suffice!

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Release Date:

April 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rambo's Revenge See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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