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Mean Johnny Barrows (1975)

Johnny Barrows, a G.I, is dishonorably discharged from the army after striking his commanding officer. When he returns home, he is mugged and thrown in jail. Down on his luck and with no ... See full summary »


Fred Williamson

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Williamson ... Johnny Barrows
Roddy McDowall ... Tony Da Vince
Stuart Whitman ... Mario Racconi
Anthony Caruso ... Don Da Vince (as Tony Caruso)
Luther Adler ... Don Racconi
R.G. Armstrong ... Richard
Elliott Gould ... Prof. Theodore Rasputin Waterhouse
Mike Henry ... Carlo Da Vince
Aaron Banks Aaron Banks ... Capt. O'Malley
Robert Phillips ... Ben (as Bob Phillips)
James Brown ... Police Sergeant
Jenny Sherman ... Nancy
Victor Rogers Victor Rogers ... Tom
Gregory Bach ... Body Guard
John LaMotta John LaMotta ... Antonio Goti (as Johnny LaMotta)


Johnny Barrows, a G.I, is dishonorably discharged from the army after striking his commanding officer. When he returns home, he is mugged and thrown in jail. Down on his luck and with no money, he gets a job at a gas station run by a racist jerk. After a while, he beats him up and is thrown in jail again. Shortly after, a mobster hires him as a mafia hit man because of his military training and he now gets caught in the middle of a rival gang war between two families. Written by Jmac1988

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Action | Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »





English | Italian

Release Date:

27 November 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Peace is Hell See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Star Fred Williamson's M*A*S*H (1972) co-star Elliott Gould came in for a half-hour's work to help out his friend. Gould completely improvised his part on the spot. See more »


Don Da Vince: [Notices the two construction workers have not put up the front sign on their new flower shop] Hey, Carlo! Tell them to hurry up with that sign. It should have been up by now.
Carlo Da Vince: I'll take care of it, papa. Hey, what's taking you assholes so long? What do you think we're paying you, for?
Don Da Vince: Carlo, don't talk dirty. How many times I gotta tell you that? You know I don't like that!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to the veteran who traded his place on the front line for a place on the unemployment line. Peace is Hell. See more »

Alternate Versions

The newest edition out by Code Red DVD is the longer, uncut version. However, the theatrical version, available on numerous public domain VHS and DVD copies are sourced from the same video master from the 1980s Unicorn release, differs a lot from the director's cut. The Atlas Films logo is intact on the DVD, where in the theatrical version, it's missing. The director's cut also restores footage from the scene where O'Malley tries to run over Johnny in the parking lot. The scene where Johnny calls Nancy and tells her to meet him actually takes place after he kills DaVinci and his henchmen. The theatrical version actually inserts the scene in after he kills O'Malley. The sound effects during the short chase scene up to the mountain doesn't match up in-sync with the cars compared to the theatrical version. The fight scene with Johnny and O'Malley is sightly longer than the theatrical cut. Before the end credits, after Nancy shoots Johnny steps on a land mine, we see a shot of the two when the camera pans up to a helicopter view and then the explosion. The theatrical cut skips the view and just shows Nancy looking back at Johnny, then the explosion. See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob Movie (2012) See more »


The Hero & Some Other Time
Sung by Gordon Staples and The Devastating Affair
See more »

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User Reviews

Not your typical blaxploitation
18 June 2004 | by iago-6See all my reviews

I got this film as part of this budget "Bad Brothas, Mean Mothas" boxed set, and watched this one first, because it stars Fred "Super-stud" Willaimson. I was surprised at what different and ambitous movie this is. Whether it lives up to all that ambition...

Rather than a typical revenge fantasy (nothing wrong with those, but...) this film follows Johnny B. as he tries to get a job and resist joining the mob after being dishonorably discharged from the army for striking a white officer (after being, to put it lightly, provoked).

It takes a while as the film unfolds to realize that he's not, as usually happens in these movies, going to get p***ed and get even. He is arrested and tormented by the police to which he won't even give his name or say anything. For a while I thought he was dazed by being beaten earlier, but by the time he gets to the police station he should be more coherent. Then I thought "Well, he's just so COOL that he won't even dignify those cops by talking to them," but then that falls apart as well and... I just don't know why he wouldn't talk. Because it's a plot point, I suspect.

The main idea of the story is Johnny trying to get a real job, and resist the mobsters who are offering him big money to become a hit man.

(SPOILERS AHEAD----->)The arc of the movie hinges on Johnny's love for a woman (a WHITE woman, no less), which we are supposed to understand leads to him finally agreeing to work for the mob in order to avenge her rape. Sadly, this entire aspect of the film just doesn't come off at all, as there is barely any connection between him and the woman, there is no discernible chemistry between them... there's just nothing.

(more spoilers here:) Another interesting thing about the structure of the film is how Johnny ends up the head of this crime organization at the end. It's just kind of interesting and unexpected. Then he offers his love to the woman, and instead of saying "Yes Johnny, take me anywhere and make love to me all day and all night! Do it right here! Do it right now!" like any sane woman or man would do, she... has a different reaction. And this leads to another surprising thing: the ending, which I totally didn't expect, but won't give away.

This movie being directed by Fred himself adds a dimension to all the adoring shots of himself glaring face-on into the camera, but hey, he looks great and he knows it. I also like the change when he finally gets into those slick suits. The cheap DVD I got REALLY suffers from not being widescreen, as Fred seems to like to place his characters on opposite ends of the screen, and it seemed like more than half of the movie featured half a person's face or shuttled back and forth between the ends of the screen.

A lot of people posting here have talked about how slow this movie is... I think because they're expecting a traditional revenge tale. This movie is not the greatest, but I think it deserves to be admired for the unconventionality of the story, and the aspects of 70s black culture (namely trying to get a decent job without any credentials, the difficulty of avoiding drawn into crime, in addition to the hammered in "plight of the veteran" aspects) that you don't see covered in other movies, which I think makes it kind of a little gem.

--- Check out website devoted to bad and cheesy movies: www.cinemademerde.com

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