23 user 15 critic

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:

View content advisory »



France | Italy


French | English | Italian

Release Date:

4 September 1987 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Absinthe See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$258,812, 11 October 1987

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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.
See more »


Referenced in Vengeance Is Mine: Reinventing 'Man on Fire' (2005) See more »


Johnny B. Goode
Words and Music by Chuck Berry
Published by Isalee Music Co and 'Arc Music Corporation [us]' All Rights Reserved
See more »

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User Reviews

A bit slow but that's alright, actually.
4 January 2012 | by Boba_Fett1138See all my reviews

Seems to me that the reason why this movie isn't liked and known any better is because the world was not really ready yet for a this sort of action movie, at the time. It's more the sort of action-thriller we are accustomed to of seeing now days, with a better- and more slow build up to it. So the movie was actually ahead of its time and I could understand Tony Scott's interest in this movie and why he decided to make a remake of it, back in 2004.

It's definitely not an usual revenge flick. It seems more focused on its characters and drama really but this of course is not necessarily a bad thing. It actually makes this movie a pretty refreshing and original one within its genre. And having said that, it's not like the movie is all drama. It of course is still being filled with plenty of straightforward action, in its second.

And you would think that this is when the movie becomes truly good and interesting. However in this case I have to say I liked the first half, so its drama and buildup, better than the second, more action filled, one. I just liked the story and far slower pace of the movie its first half way better. It was a genuinely good movie, while its action part comes across as far more standard and the story suddenly got pushed to the background. Besides, director Élie Chouraqui was obviously far more at ease with telling a story than at handling the action really. It's still good and fun enough action all but it just still feels like the second half of the movie is doing a good job at destroying what the first half of the movie had been building up. In that regard this movie is totally the opposite of its remake, in which the second half and all of its action parts were its highlights.

With its pacing and buildup this definitely feels more like a foreign movie, which is not all that surprising really, considering that it had a French director at the helm. But this approach is actually what makes the movie work out as something special and refreshing. I however don't think simply just everybody will be able to appreciate this approach. especially of course when you are expecting a more straightforward action flick.

And for such a low key movie, it definitely has a great cast in it. Scott Glenn, Joe Pesci, Jonathan Pryce, all in one movie, that's pretty awesome! And there are all really right at place within this movie as well. Scott Glenn is a great leading man to have, when the main character is supposed to be a grumpy, tough guy, with his heart still at the right place.

Maybe it's only just a half successful movie but it's still really worth giving a go!



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