5.7/10
4,834
98 user 104 critic

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.

Director:

James Glickenhaus
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Cast

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)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

He's not only smarter than the police-He's doing their job...He's the Exterminator See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the film was released, some censors overseas wouldn't allow the film to be shown, unless considerable cuts were made. They wouldn't let movies show "bad guys" getting away with their crimes, and wanted them brought to justice, so the audiences would be sure to get the message that "crime doesn't pay". See more »

Goofs

At the very beginning, when Eastland's friend saves him from an imminent beheading, they fire on an enemy soldier standing at the water's edge. The man is blown backwards not by the impact of the bullet but from a clearly seen rigged see saw that throws him into the air. See more »

Quotes

John Eastland: You really are a sick motherfucker, you know that?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

Finnish VHS version is cut over 10 minutes, it's missing:
  • The infamous decapitation (later on the film, an ultra-fast glimpse of this scene is shown uncut in a flashback). 2. A Nam-soldier walking from the bleeding torso body wiping his machete. 3. A Nam soldier trying to remove a wire from his bleeding throat. 4. Michael shooting a Nam soldier. 5. A Nam soldier fusing in flames. 6. A Nam soldier running to water in flames. 7. Ginty shooting the Nam-leader who is in the water (later on the film, this same shot is shown in an even more graphic angle in a flashback, completely uncut!). 8. The "Ghetto Ghouls" beating Michael (almost completely cut, all the actual beating deleted).
See more »


Soundtracks

Heal It
Written by Byron Hill and Mike Reid
Produced by Byron Hill
Sung by Roger Bowling
See more »

User Reviews

 
"...That n*gger was my best friend, you m*therf*cker..."
4 August 2008 | by Erich8192See all my reviews

James Glickenhaus certainly had a stone cold vision of what he wanted when he made this gritty film in the waning days of the Carter administration about a Vietnam vet who goes on a man hunt for the worst society has to offer.

What immediately becomes evident when seeing The Exterminator is that the violence and subject matter are completely uncompromising; disturbingly realistic at times, over the top and sadistic at others. But the story is well written and mature and I have a hard time throwing the 'exploitation' label at this film like some others do; it is definitely a few steps ahead of some tongue in cheek Cannon Films fodder. At the core of the story is a true friendship between two Vietnam buddies; a bachelor named John Eastland, and a family man named Michael Jefferson (who is black, which adds an interesting social dynamic to this older film and has significance in a couple of scenes). The two are law abiding working class guys living in crime infested 1980's New York City.

Once this solid premise is developed, the film more or less follows the typical vigilante- revenge formula, albeit in a really brutal, and at times, heart-breaking way. The thing that saves this movie from being just a Death Wish 1.5 is the inclusion of a parallel story about the upcoming 'elections' and the perceived soft-on-crime stance the current administration has promoted. The conservative views of the films writer-director really come into play with this subplot, as a couple of CIA operatives are intent on keeping a lid on any person that would show the ineffective nature of a more liberal justice system, especially just around election time.

The Exterminator is clearly a prototype for the style of action movies that came to dominate during the Reagan administration, in it's decidedly conservative stance and it's excessive use of R violence, but the slower pacing and cinematography, and bleak outlook at modern society tie this film more to the 1970's style. The music is haunting and low key and really adds to the dark feel of the film. A good surprise ending keeps the story from becoming too predictable, but leaves a lot of loose ends, perhaps not a bad thing. But avoid the trashy and simplistic sequel which has nothing to do with James Glickenhaus or his style.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Exterminator See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Interstar See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(director's cut) | (original uncut)

Sound Mix:

Stereo (Dolby Stereo)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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