6.8/10
8,407
83 user 146 critic

Ms .45 (1981)

Trailer
1:15 | Trailer
A timid and mute seamstress goes insane after being attacked and raped twice in one day, in which she takes to the streets of New York City after dark and randomly shoots men with a .45 caliber pistol.

Director:

Abel Ferrara

Writer:

Nicholas St. John (screenplay) (as N.G. St. John)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Zoë Lund ... Thana (as Zoë Tamerlis)
Bogey Bogey ... Phil
Albert Sinkys Albert Sinkys ... Albert
Darlene Stuto Darlene Stuto ... Laurie
Helen McGara Helen McGara ... Carol
Nike Zachmanoglou Nike Zachmanoglou ... Pamela
Abel Ferrara ... 1st Rapist (as Jimmy Laine)
Peter Yellen Peter Yellen ... Burglar
Editta Sherman Editta Sherman ... Mrs. Nasone
Vincent Gruppi Vincent Gruppi ... Heckler on Corner
Stanley Timms Stanley Timms ... Pimp
Faith Peters Faith Peters ... Prostitute
Lawrence Zavaglia Lawrence Zavaglia ... Arab
Alex Jachno Alex Jachno ... Chauffeur
Jack Thibeau ... Man in Bar
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Storyline

In Manhattan, Thana is a timid and mute woman that works as a seamstress in the fashion industry and spends most of her idle time at home. One night, she gets raped in an alley while going back home after hours and when she arrives at home, she gets raped again by another criminal. However, she reacts and bludgeons the assaulter to his death with a flatiron. The disturbed Thana loses her sanity and uses a .45 caliber pistol to shoot men on the streets of New York. She dresses suggestively and roams the dark streets alone, wreaking vengeance upon anyone who tries to take advantage of her. Eventually, her secret life overflows into her regular life in the fashion industry. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She's number one... with a bullet. Know her name. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Zoë Lund was only 17 years old when this movie was filmed. See more »

Goofs

There is no evidence to suggest that the character Thana has ever been shown how to handle an automatic pistol, let alone been trained how to fire one, let alone achieved any proficiency; yet within two days of her being raped and acquiring the pistol, she is able to hit four men circling her, at night, each with a single shot, in rapid succession. See more »

Quotes

Bag Lady: Don't know why they want to persecute me because I don't talk to women. All women do is laugh, and sing, and say the word 'Pussy'. Y'ask any doctor, and he'll tell you that.
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Alternate Versions

The British video release, on Warner's Maverick Director's label, was cut by 1m 42s by the BBFC. Early copies of this version, released in 1997, were accidentally mastered with the uncut version. These were quickly recalled and replaced with the BBFC approved version, but some uncut copies were sold - they can be identified by the code on the spine of the tape (082897). The cuts were made to the rape scenes and to a shot of Thana severing a dead man's arm with a bread knife. The use of a set of nunchakus was also removed. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Indie Sex: Teens (2007) See more »

User Reviews

 
Death Wish meet Repulsion in this Abel Ferrara near-great of cold-blooded murder
3 May 2010 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Thana (not Hannah as one might mistake to hear) hasn't had a good lot in life. She doesn't have really any family or friends, she works for pittance as a clothing workshop, and can't speak as a mute. She's also very attractive, and one day walking home she's pulled into an alley and raped by a man in a mask. She staggers home, bewildered by the whole thing, but before she can get her bearings she comes upon *another* man, in her apartment before she got home, who was in the midst of theft. He instead decides to go ahead for the rape. Twice in one day? Fat chance of that - she finally takes her moment, and Thana hits the guy to the ground and then with an iron kills him.

From then on the film takes its beat as something of a quandary, but a truly fascinating one: this isn't quite an exploitation flick, but it's not really a vigilante action-revenge picture like Death Wish, and yet it has hints of both. It's like Abel Ferrara and his writer St. John took the revenge element of Death Wish, of taking it to the street to rid the scum, but took it also to another level like in Polanski's Repulsion. Here Thana isn't some expert at self-defense, and shouldn't be as good as she is with the .45 she pulls off of the rapist #2. But she is good at getting her chance to kill people, and she does, even if they haven't really done anything to her (one of the more curiously ambiguous scenes is when Thana meets a guy at a bar, he keeps rambling outside about strangling his cat, she's about to shoot and it doesn't fire, he takes the gun and instead of shooting her shoots himself)

True, not all of the acting Ferrara is able to gather up totally works; some of them, like two actors playing a pimp and a prostitute (even for one scene) falls flat as believable streetwise (better is Thana's boss, a creep who wants to have his way with her but hides it under a thin veneer of professionalism and care). And it may also be true that Ferrara's film paints men- hell, just most people- as jerks or losers or total dogs, and really who will miss them when they're gone? It's that part of it that makes it an exploitation flick, especially in that one sequence at night when Thana goes out and kills the most amount of people (a whole group of gang-bangers in the park, an Arab and his chauffeur in a limo, the cat strangler). And as part of tugging at the weakest of heart strings, there's a neighbor who has a little dog and (gasp) will the dog make it through the end of the film?

A lot of this is pulp, but it's well directed and given a score that is fresh and cool in an early NY 80's sort of way. And when we do take it most seriously it's when looking right into Thana's face and her eyes, which start off terrified and dazed and a little in a surreal mindset (watch when she is surrounded by (over) concerned co-workers, or when she's in the bathroom and sees a hand near her breast that isn't there), and soon turns cold and bloodless. It's almost a symbolic kind of turn, hence even the name Thana which dates back to Greek mythology. This isn't someone to root for, which is what mucks up the traditional angle of a B-movie. Instead Ferrara is after something a lot deeper. Ms. 45 is action and a bit of horror (dismembered body anyone?) but it's also a sad tale of a girl without any hope, who is going crazier by the day and dresses out in black like a spider out on the prowl.

It's got some bad-ass dimensions of drama, and a rather wicked climax involving slow-motion and Ms. 45 herself going in her maniac mode in a nun costume, and is mostly marred by a few sub-par supporting performances (albeit a very low-budget indie from NYC) and a few little unsatisfying scenes.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 April 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ms .45 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$62,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Navaron Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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