Deadly Hero (1975) Poster

(1975)

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Hidden gem, for sure....UNLAWFUL ENTRY anyone?
dolemite7212 October 2004
I found this movie for 50p in a second-hand shop, and it's taken me a few months to get round and watch it, but i'm glad i did!

DON MURRAY is excellent in this movie, and i can feel for his character (untill maybe the final 10 minutes, or so) as a cop with 18 years clean service, a glittering side career ahead of him (championing a would-be mayor) and a loving wife and daughter. When this (seemingly, by-the-numbers) cop guns down an un-armed kidnapper (JAMES EARL JONES) during the act, the kidnapped lady (DIAHN WILLIAMS) feels a little uneasy about her saviors methods, and decides to change her statement to the D.A. The disgraced cop, finds his world crumbling around him (his mayor friend wants nothing to do with him, and his police precinct suspend him) so he decides to 'pursuade' the women, to re-think her statement. Unfortunately his methods border on psychotic.

To give away anything else, would be a crime (though i will say, it has a great ending!) as i watched the movie knowing nothing about it, whatsoever (the video i bought was such an old pre-certificate copy, it consisted of a front inlay card in a VHS cover. I'd say circa 1980, on the 'MAGNETIC' video label) and for a movie made in 1975, it is certainly gritty enough (the language and violence are quite coarse at times) but is a must for fans of 'bad-cop' cinema.

With not one bad performance throughout, this also marks TREAT WILLIAMS debut (plus a completely un-noticed one by a credited DANNY DE VITO) The movie can be seen as an early blueprint for 1992's UNLAWFUL ENTRY (with RAY LIOTTA, KURT RUSSEL) in that, we witness a gradual breakdown of a respected cop. But plot wise, this is a very daring movie for it's time (and would still be deemed too controversial today!) lacking the total sleaze and religious subtext as BAD LIEUTENANT, it is more of a rarely seen curio, on lines with ORDER OF DEATH (with HARVEY KIETEL and JOHN LYDON) But is also a stunning (yet little-seen) classic, which poses the question of police rights and police wrongs. A great movie, made all the more meaningful for it's apparent obscurity.

10 out of 10, seek it out now (a DVD release would also be welcomed!)
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10/10
Tantalizing Portrayal of a Man's Fall from Grace
actionpro12 August 2003
'Deadly Hero' is another hidden gem from the 70s that did not receive the buzz it deserved, and instead hides within the bowels of so-called rare video stores or 2nd-rate rental places. That is truly sad, as this movie has the following in its favor: it is extremely well-done, it showcases some awesome acting ability, it is mastered very well (doesn't even look 70s), it features James Earl Jones in a strange but almost brilliant performance, it proves that Don Murray deserved the Academy Award after all, it has a most interesting soundtrack, and is well-written by anyone's standards.

The movie is about a well-liked man's fall from grace after an unfortunate incident. It requires the viewer to either side with the hero or with the hero's critics. It is a very interesting character study that will leave the viewer quite satisfied. This is why I give it 10/10.
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7/10
We live in troubled times.
Hey_Sweden28 November 2017
Don Murray, in an intense, forceful performance, plays Ed Lacy, a well-regarded NYC law officer and 18 year veteran of the force. One night, he shoots and kills Rabbit (James Earl Jones), a flamboyant extortionist who terrorizes conductor / musician Sally (Diahn Williams) inside her apartment. The twist is that Sally soon develops doubts about her saviour; as her memory of that night returns, she believes that Rabbit was unarmed when he was gunned down. When she changes her story, an increasingly unhinged Lacy resorts to threatening and scaring her.

This is a good, gritty NYC cop drama, directed in efficient no-frills fashion by Ivan Nagy. It gets most of its juice from commanding central performances. While at first one might feel some sympathy towards Lacy, as they see a promising career go down the drain, he ultimately reveals a very dark side to his personality. The lovely Diahn Williams is appealing, while Jones gets to have some fun playing a decidedly offbeat antagonist. Several familiar faces in the cast include Lilia Skala, Treat Williams (playing Lacy's partner, in his film debut), Hank Garrett, Dick Anthony Williams, Conchata Ferrell, and Josh Mostel. Danny DeVito is listed in the end credits, but is hard to spot.

The film is admittedly violent, but the narrative (by Don Petersen, inspired by a real life story) is compelling, especially when it's told from Lacy's perspective. Location shooting and a vibrant music score by Brad Fiedel & Tom Mandel are definite assets (this was one of the earliest scores for Fiedel, who's best known for his "Terminator" theme).

This seems to be a largely forgotten film nowadays, but any movie lover who's fond of 70s cop / crime cinema will likely find it interesting if they seek it out.

Seven out of 10.
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8/10
Sturdy and overlooked 70's police crime drama
Woodyanders4 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Angry and unbalanced bigoted cop Lacy (a fine and credible performance by Don Murray) gets hailed by the press as a hero after he saves beautiful cellist Sally (an appealing portrayal by fetching redhead Diahn Williams) from flaky kidnapper Rabbit (delightfully played with witty relish by James Earl Jones) by gunning the man down. However, after discovering that Rabbit was unarmed and that Lacy is a volatile racist, Sally starts to have second thoughts about Lacy's newfound "heroic" status.

Director Ivan Nagy relates the engrossing story at a steady pace, maintains a tough gritty tone throughout, and makes nice use of grimy New York City locations. Don Peterson's gutsy script tackles the potent issues of racism, misguided hero worship, and abuse of authority head on. The sound acting by the able cast keeps this movie humming: Lilia Skala as pesky landlady Mrs. Broderick, George S. Irving as smarmy opportunistic politician Reilly, Hank Garrett as sympathetic detective Buckley, Charles Siebert as the boorish Baker, Dick Anthony Williams as no-nonsense D.A. Winston, and Treat Williams as Lacy's easygoing partner Billings. Conchata Farrell has a funny small role as cheery barmaid Slugger Ann. Both Andrzej Bartkowiak's proficient cinematography and the funky-throbbing score by Brad Fiedel and Tom Mandel are up to par. Only the dissatisfying ending leaves something to be desired. A solid little film.
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5/10
Exciting psychological thriller
hooahh7130 May 2001
This is a visualy exciting, if somewhat sleazy thriller. After saving a woman from a would-be kidnapper/extortionist, NYC cop Don Murray breaks down and stalks the woman he saved after she goes to the D.A. to change her testimoney, charging him with the "unjustified murder" of the perp.

Though he becomes the "bad guy," the viewer can't help but feel sorry for Murray's character as his world falls apart all around him. All because of one error in judgement. This film is an effective - if unintentional - indictment on big-city policing. Not through the cops' position, but society's, as we demand so much from the police, yet become so righteous when they accomplish the job they are tasked with. One strike against the film is the oh-so-superior, smug stereotypes of the white working-class. A plus, James Earl Jones' funny performance as the suave, but sinister perp. Great NYC photography.
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10/10
Awesome Movie
actionpro9 July 2003
Deadly Hero is a wonderful Don Murray vehicle. After seeing this movie, one can only wonder why he did not receive more opportunities to display his tremendous acting ability. Diahn Williams also does a fine job with her role, which would be her first and last big screen role. And of course, I must mention James Earl Jones, who also delivers a fine performance. Great use of color within this film also is a plus. Lastly, the dated orchestra/dance scenes are hilarious and fun to watch. This movie is a great hidden gem-if you can still find it at a video store, do the right thing and rent this entertaining film.
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My Memory of Being Disappointed (But How Accurate a Memory?)
inspectors7122 November 2005
I've read the other reviews of Deadly Hero and I must confess I have little memory of this film. I saw it on HBO in the late 70's, when Horrible Body Odor showed all sorts of fun B movies that you never would see in your small town. The reviewers are of one mind, that the film was quite good and that it was similar to 1992's Unlawful Entry.

I do recollect that Don Murray's policeman is a sympathetic character and that there are several actors who went on to bigger and better things (which can be a joy by itself), but my overriding impression is that the film had some sort of ugly and/or weak ending. I'd like to see this movie again, but I live in a town so small the main drag is a transvestite (I've always wanted to say that in a movie review!) and there simply is no way the decently stocked video place twelve miles away is going to have this flick.

So, I'm left intrigued by the glowing reviews by my peers. It's either a mail order rental company (?!) or finding it on "ebay" (Amazon doesn't carry it).

Oh, well. Wish me luck and if the other reviewers are right, and you can find a copy, enjoy this almost unheard of movie for me!
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