5.6/10
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31 user 21 critic

Messenger of Death (1988)

A Denver reporter investigates the mass murder of a family of Mormons in rural Colorado.

Director:

J. Lee Thompson

Writers:

Rex Burns (novel), Paul Jarrico (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Bronson ... Garret Smith
Trish Van Devere ... Jastra Watson
Laurence Luckinbill ... Homer Foxx
Daniel Benzali ... Chief Barney Doyle
Marilyn Hassett ... Josephine Fabrizio
Charles Dierkop ... Orville Beecham
Jeff Corey ... Willis Beecham
John Ireland ... Zenas Beecham
Penny Peyser ... Trudy Pike
Gene Davis ... Junior Assassin
John Solari ... Senior Assassin
Jon Cedar ... Saul
Tom Everett ... Wiley
Duncan Gamble Duncan Gamble ... Lieutenant Scully
Bert Williams Bert Williams ... Sheriff Yates
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Storyline

Wifes and children of the Mormon Orville Beecham become victims of a massacre in his own house. The police believes the crime had a religious motive. Orville doesn't give any comment on the case, is taken into protective custody. Journalist Smith persuades him to help him in the investigation - and finds out about economic motives for the murder. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What the cops can't do, he will.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 September 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Avenging Angels See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,035,279, 18 September 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,074,681
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie, "Messenger of Death" (aka "Avenging Angels") [See: Messenger of Death (1988)], was Charles Bronson's second picture outside the 'Death Wish' franchise to feature the word 'Death' in the title. The first was Death Hunt (1981) made and released about seven years earlier. This was also the penultimate movie that featured the word 'Death' in the title for Bronson. The final time would be Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994), where the word appears twice. Bronson made seven movies with the word "Death" in the title. See more »

Goofs

During the car chase, Smith's car is on the inside of one of the tankers on the first corner out of the tunnel, but in the next shot it's back in the middle of both tankers. See more »

Quotes

Garret Smith: [threatening] You're going to give us the name, yes?
Senior Assassin: No!
[gets kicked in the face]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Almost 5 minutes were cut in Finland for VHS distribution. Later released on DVD as uncut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Best of the Worst: Our VHS Collection (2019) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Charlie and the Mormons-Massacre.
19 February 2008 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

Try and beat THIS for an opening sequence! Images of women amiably chatting and young children peacefully playing in the morning sun get barbarically interrupted when suddenly a shady figure holding a shotgun comes driving up to the house. Without speaking one word, the man unhesitatingly butchers the women (one pregnant one) before turning towards the children and shooting them too. The latter killings occur off screen but the footage is nonetheless shocking considering the madman's emotionless modus operandi. This bit of content represents the promising beginning of a compelling and highly suspenseful – albeit flawed – thriller starring the almighty Charles Bronson in an unconventional (at least, for him) role. Charlie depicts a journalist of the Denver newspaper who sinks his teeth into the circumstances surrounding the tragic massacre and stumbles upon a story bigger than he bargained for. The murders initially appear to be a dramatic consequence of a long-running vendetta between a separated family of Mormons, but our courageous reporter gradually uncovers a convoluted and inhumanly cruel conspiracy which concerns – of course – eminent politicians and wealthy businessmen. I honestly expected to find a slightly higher rating and more positive-toned reviews for "Messenger of Death" around here to be honest. Admittedly the evolution of the storyline is rather predictable and the eventual settlement is too tame, but the film definitely maintains a high tempo and a good number of sequences are very tense and literally action-packed. Charles Bronson tries his hardest to come across as a plausible journalist, but there are definitely some problems regarding his character. Bronson isn't exactly known as the most talkative actor in Hollywood; a trademark that usually fits his regular roles of mercenaries ("The Mechanic", "Violent City") and tormented avengers (the "Death Wish" franchise) very well. But even here his number of speeches and dialogs are kept to an absolute minimum, which isn't normal when you're a reporter. Moreover, in spite of his 'normal' job and life-style, he still wipes the floor with professional hit men and stunt-drives his way out of an assassination attempt! Since when do Denver journalists receive training in martial arts and defensive driving? The remote Colorado filming locations, as well as the largely unfamiliar traditions of Mormon families, add up to the ominous atmosphere but still director J. Lee Thompson ("Cape Fear", "The Guns of Navarone") doesn't use up the full potential of these terrific. "Messenger of Death" is an interesting film, to say the least, and it deserves a bit more appreciation from Bronson fanatics as well as fans of suspense films in general.


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