A crew of ex-cons are hired by a Cleveland mafioso to kidnap the baby of a rival mobster.


Paul Schrader


Edward Bunker (based on the novel by), Matthew Wilder
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Troy
Willem Dafoe ... Mad Dog
Christopher Matthew Cook ... Diesel
Omar J. Dorsey ... Moon Man
Louisa Krause ... Zoe
Melissa Bolona ... Lina
Reynaldo Gallegos ... Chepe
Chelcie Lynn Chelcie Lynn ... Sheila (as Chelcie Melton)
Bruce Reizen Bruce Reizen ... Maurie
Jeff Hilliard ... Gun Enthusiast
Ali Wasdovich ... Melissa
Louis Perez ... Mike Brennan
Magi Avila ... Nanny
Tevis R. Marcum ... White Power Inmate
Todd Emmett ... Prison Skin Head


Carved from a lifetime of experience that runs the gamut from incarceration to liberation, Dog Eat Dog is the story of three men who are all out of prison and now have the task of adapting themselves to civilian life. The California three strikes law looms over them, but what the hell, they're going to do it, and they're going to do it their way. Troy, an aloof mastermind, seeks an uncomplicated, clean life but cannot get away from his hatred for the system. Diesel is on the mob's payroll and his interest in his suburban home and his nagging wife is waning. The loose cannon of the trio, Mad Dog, is possessed by true demons within, which lead him from one situation to the next. One more hit, one more jackpot, and they'll all be satisfied. Troy constructs the perfect crime and they pull it off, but in the aftermath, they keep finding the law surrounding them wherever they go.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Grabs you by the lapels and keeps moving, never lagging, never dull. See more »


Action | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Shot in only 25 days. The crew was largely comprised of recent film school graduates. See more »


It's unclear why, in the final scene in the movie, during the shootout between police and Troy, with no one near the vehicle, someone(s) repeatedly shoot at the vehicle, killing the innocent couple. See more »


Mad Dog: [Face distorting in the mirror]
See more »

User Reviews

Dog Eat Dog
14 November 2016 | by geraldohannaSee all my reviews

Paul Schrader: 'I've made some important films. 'Dog Eat Dog is not one of them'. Sad but true for Director/Writer Paul Schrader - A man with a career of 20 films, among them Taxi and Raging Bull - His career as a director remains unseen by his work as a screenwriter for Martin Scorsese - A legacy we will always remember him for - With Dog Eat Dog, Schrader tries to remind us that he is still relevant in the world - Ignoring one small fact - Everyone in this day and age can and will judge you harshly, no matter the reputation. Stylized as a low-budget Neo-noir crime caper with the talents of Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe and Schrader himself taking on a role, respectfully making comparisons to Quentin Tarantino's earlier films - With heavy-handed dialogue, harsh and senseless barbarity and a convoluted plot not worth following to its third act - Which is based on the novel of the same name by Edward Bunker.

Troy (Nicolas Cage), Mad Dog (Willem Dafoe), and Diesel (Christopher Matthew Cook) are a couple of goofball criminals, all with clichéd traits - Troy (The Straight-Man), Mad Dog (The Loose Cannon), and Diesel (The Muscle), tired of small end jobs they decide to pull off one last big score - Which involves kidnapping the baby of a rival mobster. But like most crime caper films, this goes awry and they are forced to fend for themselves - From the mob and now police following an anonymous tip.

On first glance, one can say that Schrader relates to the author himself - Edward Bunker. Both men looking for redemption, seeking a story that will ignite the spark they once had - For Schrader Dog Eat Dog should've been that story - After the disastrous events of his previous film, also starring Cage - 'Dying of the Light', unhappy with the film's re-cut, Schrader, and Cage publicly dismissed the film.

A similar theme about loss and redemption - A recurring theme for Schrader as he demonstrates it throughout his career as-a screenwriter.

Screenwriter, Matthew Wilder (Your Name Here) writes from a jarring and lurid place - depicting a dark Americana - Which is fine if used effectively. The idea of Troy, Cage's character - A movie buff with delusions of being a Humphrey Bogart lookalike is a small moment that stands out, adding more layers to a none the less complicated character.

In part, Nicolas Cage as Troy is subdued and less comical as we'd expect from a Nicolas Cage performance - Willem Dafoe as Mad Dog is fine and yet misunderstood - A man yearning for love and friendship, yet afraid to admit it. Christopher Matthew Cook as Diesel is less intriguing, as he stumbles with stoic and apprehensive tendencies.

Cinematographer Alexander Dynan never really shows us anything new to take in or marvel at besides the story itself - Perhaps in part to the editing by Ben Rodriguez Jr., who provides quick and fast paced editing.

Dog Eat Dog may inspire some with its unique flare or visuals - Fast and quick insert cuts - Or its simplistic story, whatever the reason only time will tell if we remember this as Paul Schrader film.

34 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 84 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

11 November 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dog Eat Dog See more »

Filming Locations:

Cleveland, Ohio, USA See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color | Black and White (some scenes)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed