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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.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Frank Castle
... Jake Berkowitz
... Gianni Franco (as Jeroen Krabbe)
... Lady Tanaka
Bryan Marshall ... Dino Moretti
... Sam Leary
... Shake
Brian Rooney ... Tommy Franco
Zoska Aleece ... Tanaka's Daughter (as Zoshka Mizak)
Kenji Yamaki ... Sato
Hirofumi Kanayama ... Tomio
Larry McCormick ... TV Newsreader
... Tarrone
... Laccone (as Larney Tupu)
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


Judge. Jury. Executioner. All in a day's work. See more »


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

5 October 1989 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Каратель  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (heavily cut) (1990) (1995)

Sound Mix:

(4 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


All of the fight sequences were performed with real contact by the actors to give the fights a sense of realism, and because the Kyokushin karate champions Kenji Yamaki and Hirofumi Kanayama's sense of honor would not allow them to fake it. See more »


(at around 47 mins) When detectives Berkowitz and Leary go down into the sewers to search for The Punisher's lair, Berkowitz explains how he met Frank Castle. As they round a corner a film crew member's leg is visible in the corner of the shot, and they quickly move their leg out of the frame. See more »


Gianni Franco: [Alternate Ending] I'll see to him.
Tommy Franco: But, I can help him.
Gianni Franco: Wait outside, Tommy.
[Tommy leaves and Gianni walks over to The Punisher whom is on the floor]
Gianni Franco: You gave me back my son. Thank you! I'm in your debt. I would gladly give you whatever you want. But, I know all you want is my life. I can't give you that, not when I have him. I'm so sorry, Castle.
Tommy Franco: [Gianni aims his gun at The Punisher] Dad!
Tommy Franco: Go outside.
Tommy Franco: He saved us. What are you doing?
Gianni Franco: Do as I told you. Wait outside.
Tommy Franco: No! I won't let you. I won't.
See more »


References Ms. Pac-Man (1982) See more »


Vicious Minds
Written by Harry Garfield
Performed by Hobo & Habby
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not nearly as bad as the IMDB rating leads you to believe
7 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

In fact, I have a suspicion that I will still like this one better even after the release of the new Punisher (2004).

That's because of a couple of reasons. Firstly, the acting. Dolph Lundgren acts very well in this film, portraying a grim, depressed, out of the ordinary action hero whose sole reason for living is revenge. Louis Gossett, jr. also does his best as Lundgren's former best friend. Jeroen Krabbe, in my opinion, is miscast as the big crime boss although he does his best.

Secondly, the action sequences are simply good. Lots of guns blazing, some decent camera angles and of course the whole 'red light' sequence near the end of the film, which I liked. The whole atmosphere of this movie is grim, gritty, depressed. Something I think the remake this year will not accomplish.


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