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The Exterminator (1980)

A man's best friend is killed on the streets of New York City. The man (Robert Ginty) then transforms into a violent killer, turning New York City into a great war zone, and Christopher George is the only one to stop him.


James Glickenhaus




Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher George ... Detective James Dalton
Samantha Eggar ... Dr. Megan Stewart
Robert Ginty ... John Eastland
Steve James ... Michael Jefferson
Tony DiBenedetto Tony DiBenedetto ... Chicken Pimp (as Toni Di Benedetto)
Dick Boccelli Dick Boccelli ... Gino Pontivini
Patrick Farrelly Patrick Farrelly ... CIA Agent Shaw
Michele Harrell Michele Harrell ... Maria Jefferson
David Lipman ... The State Senator from New Jersey
Cindy Wilks Cindy Wilks ... Candy
Dennis Boutsikaris ... Frankie
Roger Grimsby ... Roger Grimsby
Judy Licht Judy Licht ... Judy Licht
Stan Getz ... Stan Getz
George Cheung ... Vietcong Leader (as George Lee Cheung)


When John Eastland's best friend, Michael Jefferson, is mugged and left permanently crippled, he decides to do something about it. Jefferson had saved Eastland's life in Vietnam and now it's time for Eastland to get revenge for his friend. Using his old Army gear he sets out on a crusade to clean up the streets of New York using the name "The Exterminator." Written by David Bongo <ajgs09b@prodigy.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When everyone's the victim .. He's the only hope they've got. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Most of the pins and patches the Ghetto Ghouls wear on their clothes are US Army insignia. See more »


Michael is on a ventilator and has an oxygen mask on his face with large holes either side, which would mean little or no air would enter his lungs! See more »


John Eastland: If you're lying, I'll be back.
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Crazy Credits

"The producer" is credited as burping ghoul See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema release was cut by 44 seconds with edits to the decapitation scene, the stabbing of Michael and a scene where a prostitute is tortured with a soldering iron. Video versions were cut by 3m 38 secs with further cuts to the cinema edits, and additional cuts to slow-motion footage of Vietnam killing scenes and the removal of an entire sequence where John makes mercury-filled dum-dum bullets. The Synergy DVD released in the UK in 2000 was treated much more leniently and was cut by only 22s, with the opening beheading and the prostitute's torture still edited. The film was finally passed completely uncut in the UK by the BBFC in 2004, since the offending scenes were no longer judged to be harmful by 2004 standards. See more »


Theme for an American Hero
Written and Sung by Chip Taylor
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User Reviews

Solid And Gritty 80's "Vigilante" Film
30 May 2006 | by EVOL666See all my reviews

THE EXTERMINATOR is a "fun" piece of 80's exploit-style cinema that is an enjoyable film all-around, for people who dig this sort of thing. Decent acting, a strong storyline, some "rough" violence, and the gritty early 80's New York City environments up the entertainment-value of this straight-faced B-entry...

John and Michael were in 'Nam together, where Michael saved Johns life from Charlie. Living back in New York after the war, John and Mike remain best-buddies and work at the same warehouse. One day, the two of them divert some robbers from the Ghetto Ghouls gang from rippin' off the warehouse, and the gang members don't take to kindly to bein' interrupted. The gang members find Michael walking home from work one day, jump him, and leave him paralyzed. John takes this pretty hard (to say the least...) and goes gunnin' for the Ghouls. After dispatching some of them, he decides the city needs some "cleaning up" - and goes on to attack a mob boss, a sleazy kiddie-prostitution ring leader and his chickenhawk client, and the remaining members of the Ghetto Ghouls. Meanwhile, a tough cop and the CIA is on the case of "The Exterminator", and are lookin' to bring him down...

This one is pretty action-packed right from the jump. The opening 'Nam scene sets the stage for what's to come as one of John's Army pals is beheaded graphically, in a scene that proves that with the right machete, you can take a head off like a knife through butter. Rather than being strictly a revenge/vigilante exploit film though, the character development is enough to really feel the bond between John and Michael, and makes it easy to root for John as he's blastin' his way through the city. Definitely worth a look to 80's U.S. exploit fans - team this one up with VICE SQUAD for a double-feature night and you'll be set...8.5/10

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Exterminator See more »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Interstar, Interstar See more »
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Technical Specs


| (director's cut) | (original uncut)

Sound Mix:

Stereo (Dolby Stereo)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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