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The Killer Elite (1975)

Mike Locke, who works for a private security firm affiliated with the C.I.A., is betrayed by his partner and left apparently crippled for life.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mike Locken
... George Hansen
... Cap Collis
... Jerome Miller
... Yuen Chung
... Mac
... Lawrence Weyburn
Tom Clancy ... O'Leary
... Tommie (as Tiana)
Walter Kelley ... Walter
Kate Heflin ... Amy
... Josephine
... Rita
James Wing Woo ... Tao Yi
... Bruce (as George Kee Cheung)


Mike Locken is one of the principal members of a group of freelance spies. A significant portion of their work is for the C.I.A. and while on a case for them, one of his friends turns on him and shoots him in the elbow and knee. His assignment, to protect someone, goes down in flames. He is nearly crippled, but with braces is able to again become mobile. For revenge as much as anything else, Mike goes after his ex-friend. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cia | spy | revenge | partner | security | See All (263) »


They Protect Us from the Enemy. But Who Protects Us from Them? See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

19 December 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Assassinos de Elite  »


Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,000,000, 31 December 1975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The mothball fleet in Suisun Bay is an impressive sight and its image has remained with me for personal reasons. November, 1963. The train glides to an unexpected halt while I'm playing poker in the men's room. The mothball fleet sits outside the window. A conductor thrusts his head through the corridor curtain and announces that both the president and the vice president have been assassinated. "Got 'em both with a deer rifle." I still retain flashbulb memories of the conductor's excited statement, the startled face of the soldier sitting across from me, and the silvery and indifferent ships of the mothball fleet just outside the men's room window. See more »


During surgery, a crew member and light source are reflected in the doctor's glasses. See more »


Lawrence Weyburn: My father was a minister. That's what he wanted me to be.
Mike Locken: Who cares?
[laughs derisively]
Mike Locken: Who cares?
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is a work of fiction. There is no company called Communications Integrity NOR ComTeg and the thought the C.I.A. might employ such an organization for any purpose is, of course, preposterous. See more »


Featured in The Slanted Screen (2006) See more »


(1928) (uncredited)
Lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert
Music by Mabel Wayne
Sung by James Caan and Robert Duvall
See more »

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User Reviews

A surprising gem.
1 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

No one mentions Killer Elite when they talk about Peckinpah...maybe they should. When you think Peckinpah you think The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs because that's all that anyone thinks is relevant about his career. A career that is fabled to have collapsed under the pressures of his excessive lifestyle and personality. It is for this reason I was surprised to find this movie in the local video store the other day.

This film shows a fantastic amount of maturity about its characters as displayed through the patience with which Peckinpah walks us through the Duvall and Caan's relationship (take for instance the scene with them crossing the Golden Gate bridge...its seldom that a director takes this amount of time with dialogue that is so trivial but subtext that is so important in an indexical sort of way) and Caan's lengthy rehabilitation. The meatiest parts of this films emotional resonance is dealt with in the first act before a majority of the action.

The real strength of the film is that it allows an insight not just into Duvall and Caan but the other mercenaries who are all, in one way or another, fractured people. Though I have to admit that this particular aspect of the film could have been emphasized more I think it is something that is, unfortunately, being overlooked by some of the other people who commented on this film.

Another user drew a parallel between this film and the honor among thieves them at the heart of the Wild Bunch. There is a similarity between the two but to say that Peckinpah is making the same statement in both films is a bit myopic. James Caan's character is not William Holden's character. I can't help but feel though, that either more screen time or a solid R rating would have more clearly delineated the difference.

One last word about this film. I have always been a giant fan of Peckinpah's editing. Wild Bunch was an orgy of (true) montage editing that would have made Eisenstien blush and Straw Dogs would be less of a movie were it not for the free associative cuts into the characters mind that can only been found in the days when American Cinema was busy dry humping the New Wave (i.e. Francis Ford Coppola's the Rain People). In Killer Elite Peckinpah is DW Griffith inspired crosscutting as Sergio Leone is to the ringing phone.

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