The Best Vigilante Movies

by jefaud | created - 29 Oct 2011 | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

I LOVE vigilate movies! It's a fine line between a revenge movie and vigilante movies. Sometimes the lines are blurred. Anyway, I like both. No older westerns or super hero movies. Sorry.

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1. Death Wish (2018)

R | 107 min | Action, Crime, Drama

31 Metascore

Dr. Paul Kersey is an experienced trauma surgeon, a man who has spent his life saving lives. After an attack on his family, Paul embarks on his own mission for justice.

Director: Eli Roth | Stars: Bruce Willis, Vincent D'Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Camila Morrone

Votes: 57,534 | Gross: $34.02M

Who do you like better Bronson or Bruce? I'm voting for Charles.

2. Death Wish (1974)

R | 93 min | Action, Crime, Drama

51 Metascore

A New York City architect becomes a one-man vigilante squad after his wife is murdered by street punks in which he randomly goes out and kills would-be muggers on the mean streets after dark.

Director: Michael Winner | Stars: Charles Bronson, Hope Lange, Vincent Gardenia, Steven Keats

Votes: 33,673 | Gross: $22.00M

It started them all.

3. Death Wish II (1982)

R | 89 min | Action, Crime, Drama

11 Metascore

Architect Paul Kersey once again becomes a vigilante when he tries to find the five street punks who murdered his daughter and housekeeper, this time on the dark streets of Los Angeles.

Director: Michael Winner | Stars: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Vincent Gardenia, J.D. Cannon

Votes: 13,691 | Gross: $16.10M

Almost as good as the first. Graphic!

4. Death Wish 3 (1985)

R | 92 min | Action, Crime, Drama

18 Metascore

Architect/vigilante Paul Kersey arrives back in New York City and is forcibly recruited by a crooked police chief to fight street crime caused by a large gang terrorizing the neighborhoods.

Director: Michael Winner | Stars: Charles Bronson, Deborah Raffin, Ed Lauter, Martin Balsam

Votes: 13,321 | Gross: $16.12M

Love the gun so much, I bought one!

5. Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Drama

46 Metascore

Architect/vigilante Paul Kersey takes on the members of a vicious Los Angeles drug cartel to stop the flow of drugs after his girlfriend's daughter dies from an overdose.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Charles Bronson, Kay Lenz, John P. Ryan, Perry Lopez

Votes: 8,348 | Gross: $6.88M

The last one was almost over the top...this one definately is.

6. Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994)

R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Drama

25 Metascore

Paul Kersey is back at working vigilante justice when his fiancée, Olivia, has her business threatened by mobsters.

Director: Allan A. Goldstein | Stars: Charles Bronson, Lesley-Anne Down, Michael Parks, Chuck Shamata

Votes: 6,610 | Gross: $1.70M

As much as I love vigalante movies...this one should have not been made.

7. Dexter (2006–2013)

TV-MA | 53 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

By day, mild-mannered Dexter is a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police. But at night, he is a serial killer who only targets other murderers.

Stars: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, David Zayas, James Remar

Votes: 618,675

The rest on the list are movies. So many people love this series that I included it in the list of movies.

8. John Doe: Vigilante (2014)

R | 93 min | Crime, Thriller

An ordinary man fights violence the only way he knows how - by killing one criminal at a time. Hero or villain? Justice or vengeance? You decide.

Director: Kelly Dolen | Stars: Jamie Bamber, Lachy Hulme, Gary Abrahams, Sam Parsonson

Votes: 8,137

This is a pretty good one.

9. Vengeance: A Love Story (2017)

TV-MA | 99 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A group of strangers come to the aid of a single mother seeking to bring her rapists to justice.

Director: Johnny Martin | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Anna Hutchison, Talitha Eliana Bateman, Deborah Kara Unger

Votes: 6,322

10. The Equalizer (2014)

R | 132 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

57 Metascore

A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life, before he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters and can't stand idly by.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour

Votes: 316,786 | Gross: $101.53M

11. The Equalizer 2 (2018)

R | 121 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

50 Metascore

Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Orson Bean

Votes: 115,584 | Gross: $102.08M

12. Falling Down (1993)

R | 113 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

56 Metascore

An unemployed defense worker frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Ticotin

Votes: 162,248 | Gross: $40.90M

Douglas nails this role

13. Death Sentence (2007)

R | 105 min | Action, Crime, Drama

36 Metascore

Nick Hume is a mild-mannered executive with a perfect life, until one gruesome night he witnesses something that changes him forever. Transformed by grief, Hume eventually comes to the disturbing conclusion that no length is too great when protecting his family.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, Kelly Preston, Garrett Hedlund

Votes: 67,304 | Gross: $9.53M

**spoiler** Pretty cool how he ends up looking like the "bad" guy at the end.

14. The Brave One (2007)

R | 122 min | Action, Crime, Drama

56 Metascore

Struggling to recover emotionally from a brutal assault that killed her fiancé and left her in a coma, a radio personality begins a quest for vengeance against the perpetrators that leaves a bloody trail across New York City.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard, Naveen Andrews, Nicky Katt

Votes: 56,973 | Gross: $36.79M

Jodie Foster is a liberal who makes conservative movies. I just don't get her.

15. Peppermint (2018)

R | 101 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

29 Metascore

Five years after her husband and daughter are killed in a senseless act of violence, a woman comes back from self-imposed exile to seek revenge against those responsible and the system that let them go free.

Director: Pierre Morel | Stars: Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz, Juan Pablo Raba

Votes: 45,690 | Gross: $35.42M

16. A Vigilante (2018)

R | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

68 Metascore

After escaping her violent husband, Sadie makes it her life's mission to help free others in danger. After months of rigorous training in survival skills, boxing, and lethal martial arts, she is back with a vengeance.

Director: Sarah Daggar-Nickson | Stars: Olivia Wilde, Morgan Spector, Kyle Catlett, Estefania Tejeda

Votes: 5,247

17. Proud Mary (2018)

R | 89 min | Action, Crime, Drama

35 Metascore

Mary (Taraji P. Henson) is a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes bad.

Director: Babak Najafi | Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Billy Brown, Jahi Di'Allo Winston, Neal McDonough

Votes: 7,991 | Gross: $20.87M

18. Miss Meadows (2014)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, Thriller

43 Metascore

A story centered on a proper elementary school teacher who moonlights as a vigilante.

Director: Karen Leigh Hopkins | Stars: Katie Holmes, James Badge Dale, Callan Mulvey, Jean Smart

Votes: 6,882

19. Harry Brown (2009)

R | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama

55 Metascore

An elderly ex-serviceman and widower looks to avenge his best friend's murder by doling out his own form of justice.

Director: Daniel Barber | Stars: Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, David Bradley, Charlie Creed-Miles

Votes: 82,478 | Gross: $1.82M

I guess that he didn't have anything to lose.

20. Boy Wonder (2010)

R | 93 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A traumatized boy grows into a shy, determined teenager who patrols the mean streets of New York City, helping those in need and dishing out severe punishment to remorseless thugs.

Director: Michael Morrissey | Stars: Caleb Steinmeyer, Zulay Henao, Bill Sage, Daniel Stewart Sherman

Votes: 8,675

21. Gran Torino (2008)

R | 116 min | Drama

72 Metascore

Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, Thao Lor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Christopher Carley, Ahney Her

Votes: 693,789 | Gross: $148.10M

Could've been a sequel to Heartbreak Ridge.

22. Bad Ass (2012)

R | 90 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

A Vietnam veteran who becomes a local hero after saving a man from attackers on a city bus decides to take action when his best friend is murdered and the police show little interest in solving the crime.

Director: Craig Moss | Stars: Danny Trejo, Charles S. Dutton, Ron Perlman, Patrick Fabian

Votes: 18,034

Senior citizen fights back,. loosely based on Vietnam Tom aka Epic Beard Man (see youtube)

23. Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses (2014 Video)

R | 91 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

Frank Vega teams up with grumpy old agoraphobic Bernie Pope to kick ass and clean up the streets of L.A.

Director: Craig Moss | Stars: Danny Trejo, Danny Glover, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Federico Berte

Votes: 4,412

24. Bad Ass 3: Bad Asses on the Bayou (2015 Video)

R | 85 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

Frank Vega and Bernie Pope return, this time to Louisiana in an attempt to find a kidnapped friend.

Director: Craig Moss | Stars: Danny Trejo, Danny Glover, John Amos, Loni Love

Votes: 2,238

25. Django Unchained (2012)

R | 165 min | Drama, Western

81 Metascore

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington

Votes: 1,279,885 | Gross: $162.81M

I don't normally add westerns, but since this one is a newer movie, I'll put it on the list for a while. More of a revenge movie, Django definately takes out some random slavers, vigilante style.

26. The Boondock Saints (1999)

R | 108 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

44 Metascore

Two Irish Catholic brothers become vigilantes and wipe out Boston's criminal underworld in the name of God.

Director: Troy Duffy | Stars: Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, David Della Rocco

Votes: 221,936 | Gross: $0.03M

Huge cult following. I just don't get it.

27. The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009)

R | 118 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

24 Metascore

The MacManus brothers are living a quiet life in Ireland with their father, but when they learn that their beloved priest has been killed by mob forces, they go back to Boston to bring justice to those responsible and avenge the priest.

Director: Troy Duffy | Stars: Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly, Clifton Collins Jr.

Votes: 60,112 | Gross: $10.27M

More mainstream.

28. Barracuda (2013)

Not Rated | 94 min | Action, Adventure

Based on actual events, Barracuda is an original, vengeance themed story and fresh take on sexual perversions, the lives it affects and the pursuit of it. When we first meet Summer, a ... See full summary »

Directors: Christy Oldham, Shane Woodson | Stars: Christy Oldham, Pippa Hinchley, Kaden Graves, Elina Madison

Votes: 46

First half of the movie is nearly pornographic, the second half was actually a reasonable sort of vigilantism. She went the legal route.

29. Taxi Driver (1976)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Albert Brooks

Votes: 681,088 | Gross: $28.26M

Don't go all "John Hinkley Jr." after watching this flick.

30. Edge of Darkness (2010)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

55 Metascore

As homicide detective Thomas Craven investigates the murder of his activist daughter, he uncovers a corporate cover-up and government conspiracy that attracts an agent tasked with cleaning up the evidence.

Director: Martin Campbell | Stars: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic

Votes: 87,273 | Gross: $43.31M

Cop gone vigilate justice to avenge daughters death.

31. Seeking Justice (2011)

R | 105 min | Action, Crime, Drama

38 Metascore

After his wife is assaulted, a husband enlists the services of a vigilante group to help him settle the score. Then he discovers they want a 'favor' from him in return.

Director: Roger Donaldson | Stars: Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce, Harold Perrineau

Votes: 43,614 | Gross: $0.04M

Okay vigilante movie. I would have liked to have seen more bad guys get what's coming.

32. Walking Tall (1981– )

60 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Sheriff Buford Pusser maintains law and order in McNeal County, Tennessee, with the help of his loving family, loyal staff, and a large club he calls his "pacifier".

Stars: Bo Svenson, Walter Barnes, Harold Sylvester, Courtney Pledger

Votes: 192

Ok. I lied. There are two TV series on this list.

33. Walking Tall (1973)

R | 125 min | Action, Biography, Crime

60 Metascore

Based on the life of Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser whom almost single-handily cleaned up his small town of crime and corruption, but at a personal cost of his family life and nearly his own life.

Director: Phil Karlson | Stars: Joe Don Baker, Elizabeth Hartman, Leif Garrett, Dawn Lyn

Votes: 4,704

Also a TV series.

34. Walking Tall Part II (1975)

PG | 109 min | Action, Biography, Crime

Sheriff Buford Pusser continues his one-man war against moonshiners and a ruthless crime syndicate after the murder of his wife in late 1960's Tennessee.

Director: Earl Bellamy | Stars: Bo Svenson, Luke Askew, John Davis Chandler, Robert DoQui

Votes: 1,050

The story continues.

35. Final Chapter: Walking Tall (1977)

R | 112 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Buford Pusser's last days as Sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee in 1970 and his subsequent death in 1974.

Director: Jack Starrett | Stars: Bo Svenson, Lurene Tuttle, Forrest Tucker, Leif Garrett

Votes: 783

...and like clockwork, every two years...the story continued.

36. A Real American Hero (1978 TV Movie)

TV-14 | 90 min | Crime, Drama

Tennessee Sheriff Buford Pusser attempts to stop a moonshiner whose bad liquor has blinded several teens.

Director: Lou Antonio | Stars: Brian Dennehy, Forrest Tucker, Brian Kerwin, Ken Howard

Votes: 234

...then a made for TV Movie based on the real life Walking Tall Hero - Buford Pusser.

37. Walking Tall (2004)

PG-13 | 86 min | Action, Crime

44 Metascore

A former U.S. soldier returns to his hometown to find it overrun by crime and corruption, which prompts him to clean house.

Director: Kevin Bray | Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Michael Bowen

Votes: 68,336 | Gross: $45.86M

...Then a re-telling. Fun, exciting movie!

38. Walking Tall: The Payback (2007 Video)

R | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

A man goes back to his hometown that is now overrun with crime and single-handedly takes justice into his own hands.

Director: Tripp Reed | Stars: Kevin Sorbo, Richard Dillard, Gail Cronauer, Dell Johnson

Votes: 1,669

...then whoever owned the rights to this franchise ruined it all by making these two stinkers.

39. Walking Tall: Lone Justice (2007 Video)

R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Drama

After cleaning up his town, the retired Sheriff, Nick Prescott, tries to make a fresh start in Dallas, as key witnesses against a drug kingpin start dying. Now, he is one man against all. Can he protect his family and make it in one piece?

Director: Tripp Reed | Stars: Kevin Sorbo, Yvette Nipar, Haley Ramm, Elizabeth Barondes

Votes: 1,437

Kevin Sorbo really seems like such a nice guy. He shouldn't have lent himself to destroy the real life story of Buford Pusser. Where is the stick?!!!

40. Defendor (2009)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

57 Metascore

Arthur Poppington, a regular man who adopts a superhero persona, known as "Defendor", combs the city streets at night, in search of his archenemy, Captain Industry.

Director: Peter Stebbings | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Kat Dennings, Sandra Oh, Elias Koteas

Votes: 34,824 | Gross: $0.04M

Can you say, "out of touch with reality"?

41. The Exterminator (1980)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A man's best friend is killed on the streets of New York City. The man (Robert Ginty) then transforms into a violent killer, turning New York City into a great war zone, and Christopher George is the only one to stop him.

Director: James Glickenhaus | Stars: Robert Ginty, Samantha Eggar, Christopher George, Steve James

Votes: 4,706

There are so many good movies that I can't get on DVD. Why can I get this one? It has a sequel

42. Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

Not Rated | 86 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

55 Metascore

A homeless vigilante blows away crooked cops, pedophile Santas, and other scumbags with his trusty pump-action shotgun.

Director: Jason Eisener | Stars: Rutger Hauer, Pasha Ebrahimi, Robb Wells, Brian Downey

Votes: 43,008 | Gross: $0.70M

This movie brought back to my mind 2 Rutger Hauer movies that I used to love, Blind Fury & Wanted Dead or Alive.

43. The Substitute (1996)

R | 114 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Mercenary Shale's team is retired after a (not so) covert mission in Cuba. He becomes substitute teacher at his teacher fiancee's Miami high school to get those behind kneecapping her. His team helps him.

Director: Robert Mandel | Stars: Tom Berenger, Raymond Cruz, William Forsythe, Luis Guzmán

Votes: 11,629 | Gross: $14.75M

The original movie.

44. The Substitute 2: School's Out (1998 TV Movie)

R | 89 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

Professional mercenary Karl Thomasson arrives in Brooklyn to attend the funeral of his brother Randall, who was murdered while trying to stop a carjacking that has been blamed on the "... See full summary »

Director: Steven Pearl | Stars: Owen Stadele, Edoardo Ballerini, Christopher Cousins, Chuck Jeffreys

Votes: 2,532

...then the owners of this franchise sell out.

45. The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All (1999 TV Movie)

R | 89 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

At a college visit to a war buddy's professor daughter, mercenary Karl Thomasson finds her brutally beaten. He then poses as a teacher to teach a lesson, and get revenge, on the brash football jocks responsible.

Director: Robert Radler | Stars: Treat Williams, David Jensen, Barbara Jane Reams, Brian Simpson

Votes: 1,487

...and Treat Williams (desperate for work) makes another.

46. The Substitute: Failure Is Not an Option (2001 Video)

R | 91 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

4.7