VIGILANTE (1982) Reviews and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray news

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‘You’re not safe anymore…’

Vigilante is a 1982 American action thriller film about a factory worker that avenges a brutal attack on his wife and the death of his son.

Directed by William Lustig (Uncle Sam; Relentless; Maniac Cop and sequels; Maniac 1980) from a screenplay written by Richard Vetere, the Magnum Motion Pictures production stars Robert Forster, Fred Williamson, Richard Bright and Rutanya Alda.

New release:

On December 15th 2020, Blue Underground is releasing Vigilante as a Limited Collector’s Edition that includes 4K UHD Blu-ray + Blu-ray, collectable booklet, reversible sleeve, and 3D lenticular slipcover.

Audio Commentary #1 with Co-Producer/Director William Lustig and Co-Producer Andrew Garroni
Audio Commentary #2 with Co-Producer/Director William Lustig and Stars Robert Forster, Fred Williamson and Frank Pesce
New! Audio Commentary #3 with Film Historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
New! Blue Collar Death Wish – Interviews with Writer Richard Vetere, Star Rutanya Alda, Associate Producer/First A.D./Actor Randy Jurgensen, and others
New! Urban Western – Interview with Composer Jay Chattaway
Theatrical Trailers
TV Spots
Radio Spot
Promotional Reel
Poster and Still Galleries
Collectable Booklet with a new essay by Michael Gingold

Opening plot:

Eddie Marino is a factory worker in New York City. He has a wife named Vickie and a son named Scott. Eddie’s friend and co-worker Nick and some of the factory’s other workers have formed a vigilante group because Nick and the group are fed up with the pimps, gangs, and drug dealers who keep taking over the neighbourhoods. Nick and his group are also sick and tired of the police because the police always fail to protect people who become victims.

Eddie goes home from work one night, only to discover that Vickie has been stabbed, and Scott has been shot dead. Frederico “Rico” Melendez, the leader of a Puerto Rican street gang, is arrested for Vickie’s stabbing and Scott’s murder. Assistant District Attorney Mary Fletcher 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…


” …it’s the fine work turned in by the cast of Vigilante that brings it all together, taking what might have otherwise been a routine thriller (citizens hitting back when the system fails them) and transforming it into something much more substantial. Robert Forster is convincing as the angry family man who tries the legal route first, only to have it blow up in his face. But it’s Fred Williamson as the leader of the vigilantes who really stands out.” 2,500 Movies Challenge

“Ultimately, Vigilante can’t escape something of an ever-so-slight cheesy 1980s vibe, but the picture works as a mostly serious and dour but at the same time exciting and oddly inspiring tale of the personal satisfaction that is reveling in the violent and just revenge against the world’s worst criminals.”

“The pacing of the film is askew, as Eddie spends 30 days in jail while Nick and his gang does all the legwork. Upon Eddie’s release, the other characters take a backseat for him to handle the big bad. The fight scenes are occasionally stiff, but other action sequences – like a reckless, The French Connection-esque car chase scene in the finale – make up for it with a palpable danger.” Broke Horror Fan

“Forster doesn’t feel like the star of his own film. In all, the movie makes ill use of the actor, who’s more dynamic than allowed, which keeps Vigilante from being as cathartic as one would like, yet appropriately grim.” Flick Attack

“Bronson may have jumpstarted the genre with Death Wish, but Vigilante is a much stronger, more severe – and satisfying – statement!” Pop Matters

“Even though some of the roles are pretty minor — Joe Spinell, Steve James and Woody Strode aren’t on screen very long — they add a lot to the film. The other thing that gives Vigilante an edge is grim nihilistic tone. The film is drenched in dread, paranoia and helplessness. Violence is everywhere.” Screen Anarchy

“Even taken scene by scene, the film can only be viewed as a grab bag of elongated scenes thrown together, with key segments omitted and very little in way of pacing. These choices could even have been cast off as a choice of grindhouse auteurism, but anyone familiar with Lustig’s previous feature, the horror classic Maniac, knows that he knows how to construct a genre picture efficiently…” Slant magazine

“Though it doesn’t exactly break new ground in the revenge genre, Vigilante is a very entertaining and well-directed slice of gritty action movie making. The acting is fine, especially from leads Forster and Williamson, and the villains are pure scum that are clearly meant to be hated and picked off one by one. The electronic score by Jay Chattaway complements the action well…” Talk of Horrors

“It’s not best in class, but thanks to the gore-savy direction of William Lustig (of the Maniac and Maniac Cop films) and the yin and yang performances of Williamson and Forster, this is a satisfying offering of the subgenre. Thumbs up, take back the night, and so forth.” They Shoot Actors, Don’t They?

“As a revenge flick, Vigilante is a moderately entertaining time with lots of high-powered squibs and gunshot effects (one girl even goes flying with great force through a shower curtain), a simply done but great synth-driven score by Jay Chattaway, and gets a lot of its mileage from the main performance of Forster…” The Video Graveyard

Main cast and characters:

Robert Forster … Eddie Marino
Fred Williamson … Nick
Richard Bright … Burke
Rutanya Alda … Vickie Marino
Don Blakely … Prago
Joseph Carberry … Ramon
Willie Colón … Rico
Joe Spinell … Eisenberg
Carol Lynley … Assistant D.A. Mary Fletcher
Woody Strode … Rake
Vincent Beck … Judge Sinclair
Bo Rucker … Horace
Frank Pesce … Blueboy
Steve James … Ptl. Gibbons
Randy Jurgensen … Det. Russo
Henry Judd Baker … Quinn
Dante Joseph … Scott Marino
Vincent Russo … Rubin
Donna Patti … Carnal assault victim
Peter Savage … Thomas ‘Mr. T.’ Stokes
Mike Miller … Doctor Fallon
Hyla Marrow … Rosie
Frank Gio … Ptl. Shore
Raymond Serra … Court Officer
Sal Carollo … Mr Nulty
Sandy Alexander … Prisoner
Gregg Stevens … Boy in Wheelchair
Burt Pittari … Felix
Kim Delgado … Leon
James L. Brewster … Bobby
John Caparosa … Police Officer
Alex Stevens … Alex
Ralph Monaco … Jake

Filming locations:

Green Point, Brooklyn, New York

Filming dates:

16th October 1981 – December 1981

Technical details:

90 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1 Panavision
Audio: Dolby Stereo (4 channels)| Dolby Atmos | Dolby Digital

Alternate title:

The movie was later released on VHS as Street Gang.


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