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Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

0:54 | Trailer
A frustrated man decides to take justice into his own hands after a plea bargain sets one of his family's killers free.


F. Gary Gray


Kurt Wimmer
2,055 ( 27)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Foxx ... Nick Rice
Gerard Butler ... Clyde Shelton
Colm Meaney ... Detective Dunnigan
Bruce McGill ... Jonas Cantrell
Leslie Bibb ... Sarah Lowell
Michael Irby ... Detective Garza
Gregory Itzin ... Warden Iger
Regina Hall ... Kelly Rice
Emerald-Angel Young Emerald-Angel Young ... Denise Rice (as Emerald Angel Young)
Christian Stolte ... Clarence Darby
Annie Corley ... Judge Laura Burch
Richard Portnow ... Bill Reynolds
Viola Davis ... Mayor
Michael Kelly ... Bray
Josh Stewart ... Rupert Ames (as Joshua Stewart)


Clyde Shelton's family is brutally murdered. The ones responsible are caught. However, because of improper procedure, the D.A., Nick Rice only has circumstantial evidence. So he decides to get one of them to testify against the other. When Shelton learns of this, he is not happy. Ten years later, the one who was convicted is being executed but something goes wrong; his execution goes awry and he suffers. They learn that someone tampered with the machine. And the other one is found dead, killed in a gruesome manner. Rice suspects Shelton, so he has him picked up. At first, Shelton agrees to a plea agreement with Rice but changes his mind. It appears that Shelton is not done, it appears he blames the whole system and is declaring war on it going after everyone involved with his family's case. So Rice has to stop him but Shelton is way ahead of him. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


How do you stop a killer who is already behind bars? See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody brutal violence and torture, a scene of rape, and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Roger Bart and Bruce McGill previously appeared in The Insider (1999). They didn't share scenes on that movie. See more »


The CCTV cameras used for monitoring the prison interview 'bird cage' are IKEGAMI ITC CTC-5000 models dating from the late 60's through the the early 70's. Yet clearly the movie is set in the 21st century. Cameras are replaced at least every decade or so, the very most. See more »


Clyde Shelton: [to Dwight, about the Warden] I don't think he likes me very much.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Two versions of the film exist: theatrical and unrated. The theatrical version is 109 minutes long while the unrated cut released on Blu-ray is 118 minutes long, adding several violent moments that were removed from the theatrical cut to avoid an NC-17 rating. It also features alternate shots and some extra footage. See more »


Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #18.17 (2010) See more »


Written by Tom Araya (as Tomas Araya), Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman
Performed by Slayer
Courtesy of American Recordings, a unit of Sony Music Entertainment
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

User Reviews

An ending that works (for me)
31 May 2010 | by BonesnapSee all my reviews

Almost everyone agrees. Law Abiding Citizen is a great movie but the ending sucks.

The problem is, with about 30 minutes to go, the movie wants us to stop cheering on Clyde (Gerry Butler) and suddenly start thinking of Nick (Jamie Foxx) as the hero. That's not going to work, the audience has just invested about 90 minutes of wanting Clyde to continue with his vengeance. Damn right too.

The plot should have continued to its logical conclusion. Clyde was trying to teach Nick a lesson, that the system was so broken that it could only be fixed by being destroyed first. Rather than the squeaky-Hollywood-ending-slop they served up, here's what should have happened...

In the solitary confinement cell at the end, Jamie Foxx's character Nick should have taken the cell-phone from Clyde then remote-detonated the bomb at city hall, blowing up the mayor, the brass, the whole rotten system, then gone off to watch his daughter's cello recital.

Now, that ending would have been really insane, but it would have taken the movie to its logical conclusion. Nick's conversion would have been complete. As an ending, it would be right up there with Jimmy Cagney at the end of White Heat, 'Made it Ma, top of the world!' Morally dubious, yes, but it would have given us a bona-fide classic. It would be rating 9.8 here on IMDb rather than this insipid seven-point-bleh.

Oh, and the movie loses a point for Gerard Butler not using his own voice. Gerry is a Scot and has a fine Glasgow accent, he should use it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

16 October 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Law Abiding Citizen See more »


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,039,502, 18 October 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS | Dolby Atmos


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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