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Man on Fire (1987)

A former CIA agent, John Creasy, is hired as a bodyguard for a girl in Italy, who becomes the daughter he never had. When she is abducted, Creasy's fiery rage is unleashed, and despite being badly wounded, embarks on a bloody revenge spree.


Élie Chouraqui


A.J. Quinnell (novel), Élie Chouraqui (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Scott Glenn ... Creasy
Jade Malle ... Samantha
Joe Pesci ... David
Brooke Adams ... Jane
Jonathan Pryce ... Michael
Paul Shenar ... Ettore
Danny Aiello ... Conti
Laura Morante ... Julia
Giancarlo Prati Giancarlo Prati ... Satta
Inigo Lezzi Inigo Lezzi ... Bellu
Alessandro Haber Alessandro Haber ... Sandri
Franco Trevisi ... Rabbia
Lou Castel ... Violente
Lorenzo Piani Lorenzo Piani ... Bruno
Giuseppe Cederna ... Snake


A former CIA agent, John Creasy, is hired as a bodyguard for a girl in Italy, who becomes the daughter he never had. When she is abducted, Creasy's fiery rage is unleashed, and despite being badly wounded, embarks on a bloody revenge spree.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

girl | bodyguard | italy | truck | bombing | See All (29) »


For an ex-CIA agent, the job of bodyguard for a twelve-year old girl should have been a breeze...


Action | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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France | Italy


French | English | Italian

Release Date:

4 September 1987 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Absinthe See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Tony Scott was originally slated to direct. But the studio balked because at the time they felt he was not accomplished enough to pull off the project. He would go on to direct the second adaptation Man on Fire (2004). See more »


[first lines]
Creasy: And so. That's how I ended. A stiff in a body bag.
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Referenced in Vengeance Is Mine: Reinventing 'Man on Fire' (2005) See more »


Someone to Watch Over Me
Words and Music by George Gershwin (as George) and Ira Gershwin
Published by 'WB Music Corp. [us]' All Rights Reserved
See more »

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User Reviews

10 November 1998 | by Helen-7See all my reviews

French auteur Elie Chouraqui often demonstrates his interest in dissecting film structure and conventions. Unlike "Menteurs" where Chouraqui constructs a (French) movie within a (French) movie, his earlier work "Man on Fire" deftly collides elements of European and Hollywood moviemaking by putting American actors inside the universe of Italian political thriller and making them look utterly un-American....A man is dying in some Italian military hospital. We see a body in a bag, though man's face remains obscure."That's how I died", - begins the narration, thus creating creepy and weird ambience for this otherwise formulaic story. Bodyguard Chris (Scott Glenn) is hired to protect Sam (Jade Malle), 12-year old daughter of American businessman (Jonathan Pryce). Chris doesnt't want to bond with Sam, but he can't resist her charms and reluctantly becomes her friend and mentor. These scenes are filmed with tact and delicacy; even some"Lolita-ish" touches can't spoil them. Chris' past remains a mystery, but when terrorists kidnap Sam, he will stop at nothing to save her. The direction is elegant (if a bit slow), but movie's biggest assets are its two leads: Jade Malle with her sincerity and freshness and Scott Glenn - one of the most underrated American actors. Former Marine, Glenn brings authenticity to a part where another thesp would look downright embarrassing. The bottom-line is: whose who seeks entertainment will not be disappointed in case they don't expect an "event" movie with a lot of pyrotechnics, while movie buffs will undoubtedly appreciate the chance to find out where Scorcese found his "Casino" story frame.

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