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Vigilante (1983)

aka Vigilante

"You're not safe anymore..."

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 90 mins · English


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Small Eddie Marino
Small Nick
Small Burke
No_movie_poster Vickie Marino
No_movie_poster Prago
No_movie_poster Ramon
No_movie_poster Frederico 'Rico' Melendez
Small Eisenberg
Small Assistant D.A. Mary Fletcher


Small William Lustig Director
No_movie_poster Edward L. Montoro Producer
No_movie_poster Jay Chattaway Music
No_movie_poster Richard Vetere Writer
No_movie_poster Andrew W. Garroni Producer


"You're not safe anymore..."


Eddie Marino (Robert Foster) is a factory worker in New York City. He has a wife named Vickie (Rutanya Alda) and an eight-year-old son named Scott. Eddie's friend and co-worker, Nick (Fred Williamson), and two other co-workers, named Burke and Ramon, have formed a secret vigilante group because Nick and the group are fed up with the pimps, gangs, and drug dealers who keep taking over the neighborhoods. Nick and his group are also sick and tired of the police, because the police always fail to protect people who become victims. Nick's "group" has support of various residents of the neighborhood whom indirectly help them. In one example, a local thug stalks and chases a young woman to a rooftop of an apartment building where the thug robs and then kills her. An old lady who witnesses the thug says nothing to the police, but points out the thug to Nick and his group the next day. Nick and his friends forcibly grab the thug off the streets and place him in their van and drive away. The thug is later found dead in a vacant lot with all of his arms and legs broken and his head bashed in.

One evening, Eddie returns home from work only to discover that Vickie has been stabbed, and Scott has been shot dead in a home invasion led by a street gang that Vickie encountered earlier. Frederico "Rico" Melendez (Willie Colón), the leader of a Puerto Rican street gang, is arrested for Vickie's stabbing and Scott's murder. Assistant District Attorney Mary Fletcher (Carol Lynley) plans to put Rico away for as long as possible, since New York doesn't have the death penalty. Nick tries to convince Eddie to join the vigilante group, but Eddie turns Nick down, preferring to let the courts handle Rico. Nick makes it clear that he has no faith whatsoever in the police and the judicial system. Nick turns out to be right; the case against Rico doesn't make it past the arraignment. After Rico's corrupt lawyer, Eisenburg (Joe Spinell), argues for the case to be dismissed after Rico pleads guilty to Vicki's assault, but not guilty to Scott's murder, the corrupt Judge Sinclair (Vincent Beck) sets Rico free with a two-year suspended sentence. Eddie goes crazy and tries to strangle Judge Sinclair, who sentences Eddie to spend 30 days in jail. It was actually Rico's sadistic right hand man, Prago (Don Blakely), who had fired the shot that killed Scott while Rico was the one who stabbed Vickie. Prago also bribed Judge Sinclair, as well as Eisenburg, to set Rico free.

With Eddie in prison, Nick and his group try to track down the source of drugs that have been sweeping their neighborhood. Nick chases after a small-time drug dealer named Blueboy (Frank Pesce) whom they rough up who points him to his supplier; a local Manhattan pimp. Nick and the group follow and confront the pimp and torture him to reveal his drug source and the pimp points them to a high-ranking member of the New York mayor's office.

In prison, Eddie befriends an inmate named Rake (Woody Strode) who saves him from being gang raped in the showers. As soon as Eddie is released from jail after serving his 30-day-sentence, he changes his mind about Nick's vigilante group. Eddie willingly joins the group so he can track down and kill Rico, Prago, as well as Judge Sinclair.

Eddie, Nick, Burke and Ramon confront Rico in his seedy apartment where Rico denies killing Eddie's son and insists it was Prago. An unmoved Eddie shoots him dead, but narrowly escapes death when Rico's girlfriend attempts to shoot him, but wounds Burke instead, forcing Nick to shoot her dead in self-defense. Upon hearing about Rico's murder, Prago takes over command of the gang and mistakenly assumes that dirty cops killed Rico. The following night, Prago and the gang ambush a police car and kill both cops in a hail of bullets.

Another day or so later, Vickie is released from the hospital, but refuses to come home to Eddie and she leaves him, unable to be in the very house where their son was killed. Eddie decides to move away too, disgusted with himself over killing a man as well as in fear that the gang will track him down. Nick pays him a visit and persuades him to stay and help him and his group continue to fight against street crime in their own way. Eddie declines.

As Eddie is driving through Brooklyn on his way out of town in his van, he spots Prago on the street and recognizes him from the courtroom that day of him being around Rico. Eddie parks his van and follows Prago on foot who soon spots Eddie and attempts to shoot him while Eddie returns fire. A climatic chase sequence begins where Prago hijacks a car and attempts to drive away while Eddie steals another car and chases after him through the streets, evading other cars and pedestrians alike. The chase leads to a local dockyard mill where both cars crash and Eddie chases Prago on foot again up a storage tower where he confronts him with being the person who killed his young son. Sadistic and insane to the last, Prago admits to killing Eddie's son and then dares Eddie to kill him, who responds by throwing Prago off the tower to his death without hesitating.

In the final scene, Eddie targets the corrupt Judge Sinclair who sentenced him to jail by planting a bomb under the judge's car in the Brooklyn courthouse parking lot. That night, when Judge Sinclair gets in his car and starts the engine, it explodes, killing the judge. Watching from a distance in his van, Eddie drives away to an unknown destination and ending the movie on an ambiguous note.

Release Dates:

1983-09-16 : United States of America