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The Punisher (1989)

When Frank Castle's family is murdered by criminals, he wages war on crime as a vigilante assassin known only as The Punisher.


Mark Goldblatt


Boaz Yakin
3,185 ( 328)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dolph Lundgren ... Frank Castle
Louis Gossett Jr. ... Jake Berkowitz
Jeroen Krabbé ... Gianni Franco (as Jeroen Krabbe)
Kim Miyori ... Lady Tanaka
Bryan Marshall Bryan Marshall ... Dino Moretti
Nancy Everhard ... Sam Leary
Barry Otto ... Shake
Brian Rooney Brian Rooney ... Tommy Franco
Zoska Aleece Zoska Aleece ... Tanaka's Daughter (as Zoshka Mizak)
Kenji Yamaki Kenji Yamaki ... Sato
Hirofumi Kanayama Hirofumi Kanayama ... Tomio
Larry McCormick Larry McCormick ... TV Newsreader
Todd Boyce ... Tarrone
Lani John Tupu ... Laccone (as Larney Tupu)
Gianfranco Negroponte Gianfranco Negroponte ... Musso (as John Negroponte)


Based on the Marvel Comic, Dolph Lundgren is Frank Castle an ex-cop who lives in the sewers and acts as judge, jury, and executioner to the city's criminals in retaliation for the unpunished murders of his wife and kids. Frank's ex-partner Jake (Louis Gossett Jr.) finally catches up with the vigilante as he tries to stop the Japanese mob, which is trying to take over the city's mafia operation. Written by Matt Carlin <ghola@umich.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If society won't punish the guilty, he will. See more »


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Parents Guide:

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Australia | USA



Release Date:

5 October 1989 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Каратель See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (heavily cut) (1990) (1995) | (Workprint Version)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Nancy Everhard was highly recommended by Director Sean S. Cunningham to Mark Goldblatt for the role of Det. Sam Leary. After Cunningham showed footage from yet unreleased film he had finished directing "Deep Star Six", Goldblatt was impressed by her performance and cast her in the part. See more »


When the Punisher is arrested, a newsreader says that he has been charged with 125 murders, even though that was the amount of murders he had committed before the movie takes place, and he had killed a lot more people since then. See more »


The Punisher: You're a good boy, Tommy. Grow up to be a good man. Because if you don't... I'll be waiting.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Finnish video version is cut by 11 minutes. See more »


Featured in 80s Blockbusters: When Hollywood Played Tough (2017) See more »


Winning isn't Everything, It's the Only thing
Performed and Written by Bobby Laurel
Courtesy of Gary Lazar Productions
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Fun B-class comic book action movie
19 September 2012 | by MaziunSee all my reviews

"The Punisher" is a post-"Batman" movie . Director Mark Goldblatt edited and worked on some of the greatest action films of all time : "Terminator" , " Rambo 2" , "Commando" , "Robocop" and "Terminator 2" . He directs it as an all-out action film , but everything is played absurdly tongue-in-cheek. The body count in this movie is ridiculously high. The main hero is even "credited" with killing 125 people before the movie even starts. The movie is unapologetically violent, filled with pervasive language and gore.

This is a B-movie, so high production values are not exactly expected. It's dark and moody and it takes you into Castle's dark world . The authors of the movie changed quite a lot of Punisher's story . Still , I liked the changes . This movie is also far more enjoyable both in terms of its sense of capturing the comic-book's spirit and in terms of the dark psychology than the next movies. Dolph Lundgren's stiff acting and menacing demeanor make him perfect for the part . Decked out in black leather, motorcycle boots,stubble and decidedly unhealthy drugged-out red eyes, he is rather well suited to the part. Lundgren captured Frank Castle's descent into madness perfectly. They eliminated the skull on his shirt but the skull symbol is on his knives and bike , so I will live with it.

Louis Gossett Jr. is good as Berkowitz - a police chief who was a friend of Castle. The strained relationship between him and Castle is done well. The interrogation scene is quite touching .

There is also wacky sidekick played by Barry Otto - Shake , a drunken former actor that rhymes most of his lines. He's a good comic relief.

"Punisher" offers you exciting well filmed gun battles and improvised fight scenes ( they are nice and feel real ) . The dialogue comes rather wittily and gives some memorable one-liners.

Overall , this is a nice movie . I give it 6/10 .

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