Vigilante film

The vigilante film is a film genre in which the protagonist or protagonists engage in vigilante behavior, taking the law into their own hands. Vigilante films are usually revenge films in which the legal system fails protagonists, leading them to become vigilantes.

In United States cinema, vigilante films gained prominence during the 1970s with "touchstones" like Death Wish and Dirty Harry, both of which had sequels. The Los Angeles Times reported, "Vigilante vengeance was the cinematic theme of the decade, flourishing in the more respectable precincts of the new American cinema even as it fueled numerous exploitation flicks," referring to Taxi Driver as a respectable example of the genre. It reported in 2009 that such films were making a comeback after "the comparatively prosperous and peaceable 1990s", with examples like Walking Tall (2004), Death Sentence (2007), and Law Abiding Citizen (2009).

List of films

The following vigilante films are listed alphabetically.

Pre-1960 vigilante films

Film Year Ref.
The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938 [1]

Late 60s-mid 80s vigilante film wave

Film Year Ref.
1990: The Bronx Warriors 1982 [2]
Alley Cat 1984
An Average Little Man 1977
The Big Racket 1976
Billy Jack 1971 [3]
The Black Gestapo 1975
Bloodrage 1979
The Bride Wore Black 1968
The Candy Tangerine Man 1975 [4]
Chrome and Hot Leather 1971
Coffy 1973
Cold Sweat 1970 [5]
Colt 38 Special Squad 1976
The Common Man 1975
A Dangerous Toy 1979
Death Weekend 1976
Death Wish 1974 [6]
Death Wish II 1982
Defiance 1980
Die Hard 1988 [7]
Dirty Harry 1971 [6]
Django 1966 [8]
Double Game 1977
The Enforcer 1976
Escape from New York 1981 [9]
Execution Squad 1972
The Exterminator 1980 [6]
Exterminator 2 1984
An Eye for an Eye 1981
First Blood 1982 [10]
The Graduates of Malibu High 1983
Harakiri 1962 [11]
Hatred 1977
High Plains Drifter 1973
The "Human" Factor 1975
I Spit on Your Grave 1978 [12]
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka 1988 [13]
Jackson County Jail 1976
Joe 1970
Kidnap Syndicate 1975
Krodham 1982
Lady Snowblood 1973
The Last House on the Left 1972
Law and Disorder 1974
Lipstick 1976
Mad Max 1979 [14]
Magnum Force 1973
Manhunt in the City 1975
Milano trema: la polizia vuole giustizia 1973
Ms. 45 1981
Naked Vengeance 1985
The No Mercy Man 1973 [15]
Pumpkinhead 1988 [16]
Revolver 1973
Robin Hood 1973 [12]
Savage Streets 1984
The Seventh Curse 1986 [17]
The Star Chamber 1983
Strange Shadows in an Empty Room 1976
Straw Dogs 1971
The Street Fighter 1974
Street Law 1974
Sudden Impact 1983
Syndicate Sadists 1975
Taxi Driver 1976 [6]
Three the Hard Way 1974
Thriller – A Cruel Picture 1973
Tony Arzenta 1973
The Toxic Avenger 1984 [18]
Trial by Combat 1976
Ulzana's Raid 1972 [19]
Vigilante 1983 [19]
Vigilante Force 1976
Violent City 1970
The Virgin Spring 1960 [20]
Walking Tall 1973 [21]
What Have They Done to Your Daughters? 1974
The Wild Bunch 1969 [19]
Yojimbo 1961 [22]
Youth of the Beast 1963 [23]
Zebra Force 1976

Late 1980s to the present

Film Year Ref.
13 Assassins 2010 [24]
22 Bullets 2010 [25]
The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse 2012 [26]
The Amazing Spider-Man 2012 [12]
Avenged 2013 [27]
Batman 1989
Batman Begins 2005 [21]
Birds of Prey 2020
Blade 1998 [28]
Blood and Donuts 1995 [29]
The Boondock Saints 1999 [21]
The Brave One 2007 [6]
Constantine 2005 [30]
The Crow 1994 [12]
Dark Angel: The Ascent 1994 [31]
The Dark Knight 2008 [32]
The Dark Knight Rises 2012 [12]
Darkman 1990
Deadpool 2016
Death Sentence 2007 [6]
Death Wish 2018
Defendor 2009 [33]
Desperado 1995 [12]
Drive Angry 2011 [34]
El Muerto 2007 [35]
The Equalizer 2014 [36]
Eye for an Eye 1996 [6]
Falling Down 1993 [12]
Faster 2010 [12]
Faust: Love of the Damned 2000 [37]
Four Brothers 2005 [19]
The Gladiator 1986 [12]
Gran Torino 2008 [21]
Hard Candy 2006 [38]
Hard to Kill 1990 [32]
Harry Brown 2009 [21]
Hercules 2014 [39]
Hobo with a Shotgun 2011 [12]
The Horseman 2008
Inglourious Basterds 2009 [6]
John Wick 2014
Kick-Ass 2010 [40]
Kick-Ass 2 2013 [41]
Kill Bill 2003 [12]
Law Abiding Citizen 2009 [6]
Machete 2010 [12]
A Man Apart 2003 [19]
Man on Fire 2004 [32]
Mandy 2018 [42]
Mr. X 2015
Munich 2005 [19]
Peppermint 2018
Prisoners 2013 [43]
The Punisher 2004 [19]
Red: Werewolf Hunter 2010 [44]
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves 1991 [45]
Rolling Vengeance 1987 [12]
Sin City 2005 [46]
Six Underground 2019
Spawn 1997 [47]
Super 2010 [12]
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies' 2009 [48]
Taken 2008 [12]
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990 [12]
A Time to Kill 1996 [6]
V for Vendetta 2005 [21]
Walking Tall 2004 [6]
Watchmen 2009 [12]

See also


  1. ^
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  3. ^ Lichtenfeld, Eric (2007). Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie. Wesleyan. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-8195-6801-4.
  4. ^
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  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lim, Dennis (October 19, 2009). "Vigilante films, an American tradition". Los Angeles Times.
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  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Staff (August 13, 2013). "24 Frames: Vigilante Justice!". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
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  19. ^ a b c d e f g Lichtenfeld, Eric (September 13, 2007). "Killer Films". Slate. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b c d e f Plumb, Alistair (April 1, 2010). "The 8 Most Kick-Ass Movie Vigilantes". Empire. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
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  32. ^ a b c Firecloud, Johnny (November 18, 2009). "10 Best Vigilante Films". CraveOnline. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  33. ^ Rohit, Parimal. "Defending 'Defendor'". Archived from the original on 2010-08-08. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ Steinberg, Don (September 18, 2014). "'The Equalizer': Vigilante Justice". The Wall Street Journal.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Stringer, Rebecca. "From Victim to Vigilante". Routeledge. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  39. ^
  40. ^ Scott, A. O. (April 15, 2010). "Brutal Truths About Violence". The New York Times.
  41. ^ Coyle, Jake (June 24, 2013). "Carrey says 'Kick-Ass 2' too violent after Newtown". The Big Story. Associated Press. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Hugh Jackman to Star in Vigilante Thriller PRISONERS for November 2013 Release". March 15, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  44. ^
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  48. ^


  • Hoppenstand, Gary (1993). "Lethal weapons: The gun as icon in the popular urban vigilante film". In Loukides, Paul; Fuller, Linda K. (eds.). Beyond the Stars 3: The Material World in American Popular Film. Popular Press. ISBN 978-0-87972-623-2.
  • Novak, Glenn D. (November 1987). "Social Ills and the One-Man Solution: Depictions of Evil in the Vigilante Film". International Conference on the Expressions of Evil in Literature and the Visual Arts.
Arthur Ornitz

Arthur J. Ornitz (November 28, 1916, New York City, New York - July 10, 1985, New York City, New York) was an American cinematographer, and the son of screenwriter Samuel Ornitz. He also co-directed the Oscar-nominated short film Wanted, A Master.

Ornitz was also cinematographer for the 1974 vigilante film Death Wish.


Bardhaasht (English: Tolerate) is a 2004 Bollywood Vigilante film Produced by Vijay galani & directed by E. Nivas. It is based on the screenplay written by Vikram Bhatt. The film stars Bobby Deol, Ritesh Deshmukh, Tara Sharma, Lara Dutta and Rahul Dev in lead roles, with Vishwajeet Pradhan, Ganesh Yadav and Virendra Saxena in important supporting roles.

Bharath (actor)

Bharat (born Bharat Niwas) is an Indian film actor, working predominantly in the Tamil film industry along with a few films in Malayalam, Hindi and Telugu. He was named as Chinna Thalapathy (little commander) in Tamil Cinema, given by the director Perarasu

during the film Pazhani (2008).He debuted in 2003 in the film Boys under the direction of S. Shankar. Coming-of-age extravaganza is complete with technical wizardry, terrific music and a vivacious cast. The film was a commercial success. In 2004, he first appeared in the Malayalam, the Jayaraj directed vigilante film 4 the People. Portraying one of the four protagonists, which was a musical Hit and a Blockbuster in Kerala, it was dubbed into Tamil as 4 Students.In the film Chellamae, Bharath is cast as the possessive youth.He received his breakthrough in the film Kaadhal, as the first lead role in Tamil. It was a poignant love story, his performance as the naive but sweet lover was highly praised. He has given several successful movies in romances, actions, comedies and dramas films like Pattiyal (2006), Em Magan (2006), Veyil (2006), Pazhani (2008), Kanden Kadhalai (2009), Vaanam (2011) and Ainthu Ainthu Ainthu (2013). He acted for his 25th film Aindhaam Thalaimurai Sidha Vaidhiya Sigamani (2014).

Big Brother (2007 film)

Big Brother is a 2007 Indian Bollywood vigilante film directed by Guddu Dhanoa, which starred Sunny Deol and Priyanka Chopra in the lead roles. The film was declared a semi hit at the box office.

Broadway to Cheyenne

Broadway to Cheyenne is a 1932 American Pre-Code Western film directed by Harry L. Fraser. The film is also known as From Broadway to Cheyenne (American poster title). The film successfully combines the Western with the gangster film and vigilante film.

Brotherhood of Justice

Brotherhood of Justice is a 1986 American television crime drama vigilante film starring Keanu Reeves, Billy Zane, Kiefer Sutherland, and Lori Loughlin.

Gentleman (1993 film)

Gentleman is a 1993 Tamil vigilante film written and directed by S. Shankar, marking his debut, and produced by K. T. Kunjumon. It stars Arjun and Madhoo in the lead roles while Goundamani, Senthil, Charan Raj, Subhashri, and Vineeth play supporting roles. The film's music (score and soundtrack) was composed by A. R. Rahman. The choreography in the film was viewed as a highlight. This high-budget production won positive reviews and became a blockbuster at the box office. The film was remade in Hindi as The Gentleman in 1994, by Mahesh Bhatt, starring Chiranjeevi.


Kalaignarin Ilaignan (pronunciation ) (Tamil: இளைஞன், English: Youth) is a 2011 Tamil-language period vigilante film directed by Suresh Krishna, who directs his 50th film, and written by DMK Chief and the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi, its 75th film and based on the Russian novel, The Mother, by Maxim Gorky.

Indian (1996 film)

Indian (pronunciation ) is a 1996 Indian Tamil vigilante film written and directed by Shankar and produced by A. M. Rathnam. The film stars Kamal Haasan in dual roles with Manisha Koirala, Urmila Matondkar, Sukanya and Goundamani appearing in other pivotal roles. The film's score and soundtrack are composed by A. R. Rahman, while cinematography was handled by Jeeva.

The film focuses on an ex-freedom fighter turned vigilante bent on rooting out corruption, and his son, who is at the other end of the spectrum by facilitating corrupt practices leading to some unfortunate events. He is well trained in Varmakkalai, an ancient lethal martial art used for close counter combat (Choreographed by Aasan R. Rajendran). The film opened to positive reviews from critics on the way to becoming a commercial blockbuster in the Tamil film industry. Indian was selected by India as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the Academy Awards in 1996, but was not nominated. The film also went on to win three National Film Awards including that of Best Actor for Kamal Haasan's portrayal, while his performance also saw him win at the Filmfare Awards and the Tamil Nadu State Film Awards. It was the highest-grossing Tamil film upon its release, beating the collections of Baashha, until surpassed by Padayappa three years later.

Indian 2

Indian 2 is an upcoming Indian Tamil-language vigilante film directed by S. Shankar. A sequel to the 1996 film Indian, the film is being produced by Subaskaran Allirajah‘s Lyca Productions. The film stars Kamal Haasan reprising his role as Senapathy, along with Kajal Aggarwal in the lead role. Suzy Bae will make her Indian cinema debut. Nedumudi Venu reprises his role as Krishnaswamy from the first instalment. The film features music composed by Anirudh, collaborating for the first time with Kamal Haasan. Cinematography and editing will be handled by S. Ravi Varman and A. Sreekar Prasad, respectively.

Ivan Veramathiri

Ivan Veramathiri (English: He is different) is a 2013 Indian Tamil vigilante film written and directed by M. presented by director N. Linguswamy and produced by his brother N. Subash Chandrabose under Thirupathi Brothers association with Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur under UTV Motion Pictures . The film stars Vikram Prabhu, Surbhi, Ganesh Venkatraman, Vamsi Krishna and Hariraj. The background score and soundtrack were composed by C. Sathya. The film was released on 13 December 2013 to positive reviews.The director adapted the core storyline of this movie in Kannada as Chakravyuha starring

Puneeth Rajkumar and the movie was remade in Odia in 2017 as Abhaya starring Anubhav Mohanty.

Jallikattu (film)

Jallikattu (English: Bull-vaulting) is a 1987 Tamil-language vigilante film directed by Manivannan. The film features Sivaji Ganesan, Sathyaraj and Radha in lead roles. The film, produced by Chitra Ramu and Chitra Lakshmanan, had musical score by Ilaiyaraaja and was released on 28 August 1987. The title of the film is a reference to the traditional Tamil sport of the same name.


Mambattiyan (The man with the shovel) is a 2011 Tamil vigilante film co written, produced and directed by Thiagarajan, starring his son Prashanth as the title character. The film, also starring Meera Jasmine, Prakash Raj, Vadivelu and Mumaith Khan in other pivotal roles, is a remake of the 1983 Tamil blockbuster Malaiyoor Mambattiyan that starred Thiagarajan himself and Saritha. The film released on 16 December 2011 to highly positive reviews from critics.

Mr. X (2015 film)

Mr. X is a 2015 Indian 3D sci-fi vigilante film directed by Vikram Bhatt, written by Shagufta Rafique, and produced by Mukesh Bhatt. The film stars Emraan Hashmi and Amyra Dastur. The film revolves around a man who gains the power of invisibility, and becomes a vigilante to take revenge on those who have wronged him. The film released in both 2D and 3D on 17 April 2015.

Ramanaa (film)

Ramanaa, also known as Ramana, is a 2002 Tamil-language vigilante film written and directed by A. R. Murugadoss, starring Vijayakanth, Simran and Ashima Bhalla. The film is about a man named Ramana who decides to abolish corruption completely with the help of his ex-students who are working in various government offices. The film received positive reviews from both film critics and audiences. It was awarded the 2002 Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Film and A. R. Murugadoss won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Dialogue Writer.

In 2015, the film was dubbed into Hindi as Mar Mitenge 3.

The Gentleman (film)

The Gentleman is a 1994 Bollywood Vigilante film directed by Mahesh Bhatt and produced by Allu Aravind, starring Chiranjeevi, Juhi Chawla, Harish Kumar and Paresh Rawal. It is a remake of the Tamil film Gentleman (1993), which starred Arjun Sarja and Madhoo in the lead roles. Three of the songs were re-used without any change in tune or instrumentation, from A. R. Rahman's original compositions for the original Tamil version. The movie was a super hit at the time of release and it's the last Hindi movie of Telugu mega-star Chiranjeevi. Chiranjeevi was nominated for best actor in 1994. The song "Roop Suhana Lagta Hain, Chand Pooranaa Lagta Hain" is still popular song in Hindi.

Thrust (album)

Thrust is a jazz-funk album by Herbie Hancock, released in September 6, 1974 on Columbia Records. It served as a follow-up to Hancock's album Head Hunters (1973), and achieved similar commercial success, as the album reached as high as number 13 on the Billboard 200 listing. The lineup for Thrust is the same as on Head Hunters, except that Mike Clark replaced Harvey Mason on drums. This is Hancock's fourteenth album overall.

A variation of the composition "Palm Grease" was used in the 1974 vigilante film Death Wish, starring Charles Bronson.

The composition "Actual Proof" was originally written for the 1973 film The Spook Who Sat by the Door, and Hancock has used it as a demonstration of his style of playing the Fender Rhodes piano.The composition "Butterfly" would subsequently be performed on the live album Flood, and two other studio releases: Direct Step and Dis Is da Drum. "Butterfly" is the opening track on Eddie Henderson's 1978 album Mahal, which features Hancock on keyboards.

Tiger (2007 film)

Tiger is a 2007 Bengali Vigilante film directed by Swapan Saha. The film featured Mithun Chakraborty and Debashree Roy. It is the remake of Tamil film Ramanaa stars Vijaykanth in lead role.

Vigilante (film)

Vigilante, later released on video as Street Gang, is a 1983 American vigilante film directed by William Lustig and starring Robert Forster and Fred Williamson.

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