The Exterminator (1980) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Exterminator (1980)

The Exterminator (1980)

The Exterminator




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Exterminator Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

A Vietnam veteran declares a one-man war on crime in this vigilante revenge thriller. Michael Jefferson (Steve James) saved the life of his best friend John Eastland (Robert Ginty) while the two were serving in Vietnam, so when Jefferson is left permanently paralyzed after a vicious attack by muggers, Eastland is determined to get revenge. Declaring war not only on the thugs who injured Jefferson but the entire lawless underclass, Eastland becomes known as "The Exterminator" for his swift and deadly retaliation against muggers and other street criminals. While Eastland's actions may be making for safer streets, they're also illegal, and just as the mob have put a price on Eastland's head, Detective James Dalton (Christopher George) has set his sights on putting "The Exterminator" out of business. Jazz great Stan Getz makes a cameo appearance as himself.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: James Glickenhaus
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 26, 1998
AVCO Embassy Pictures


Robert Ginty
as John Eastland
Christopher George
as Detective James Dalt...
Samantha Eggar
as Dr. Megan Stewart
Steve James
as Michael Jefferson
Tony DiBenedetto
as Chicken Pimp
Tony di Benedetto
as Chicken Pimp
Dick Boccelli
as Gino Pontivini
Michele Harrell
as Maria Jefferson
David Lipman
as State Senator
Stan Getz
as Himself
Phil Chong
as Vietcong Garrottee
Bill Saito
as Vietcong AK-47
Clay Wright
as US Pilot
Paul G. Hensler
as Captured US Soldier
Frank Ferrara
as Collector #1
Tony Munafo
as Collector #2
Santos Morales
as Police Captain
Ralph Monaco
as Bartender
Louis Edmonds
as CIA Chief
Lou David
as Leaflet Man
Tom Everett
as Hotel Clerk
Gerald M. Kline
as Massage Parlor Cop
Paul Farentino
as Message Cop (sic)
Robert King
as Motorcyclist
Joe Duquette
as SWAT #2
Kenny Endoso
as Vietcong Fire Gag
Sean O'Rinn
as Uniform Cop #4
George Kee Cheung
as Vietcong Leader
Stan Getz
as Himself
Paul G Hensler
as Captured US Soldier
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Exterminator

Critic Reviews for The Exterminator

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3)

The Exterminator is a sick example of the almost unbelievable descent into gruesome savagery in American movies.

Full Review… | January 31, 2011
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

An action film with little action. Contrived script instead opts for grotesque violence in a series of glum, distasteful scenes.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Top Critic

Even connoisseurs of violence will be disappointed in The Exterminator since its grisly events are not actually shown on screen.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

Prime revenge action cinema that will feed the appetites of fans of Dirty Harry and Charles Bronson...

Full Review… | April 22, 2012
Cinema Crazed

As depicted literally here, going through the meat grinder is an apt metaphor for the Vietnam experience, and for the intended impact on audiences of movies like this one.

Full Review… | November 17, 2011
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

One of the most wretched of all film genres is the vigilante justice movie, and this must-to-avoid Death Wish takeoff is one of the worst of its ilk.

Full Review… | January 31, 2011
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for The Exterminator


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Deathwish II meets Rambo III. Campy, cult-ish film that's just bad enough to be fun. Best viewed in a room full of lightly inebriated friends.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


This movie became infamous for exploitative scenes of violence and gore... that don't happen at all, they're mostly suggestive but whatever.

The gritty tone of Exterminator sets it apart from most vigilante based 80s flicks, which is an immediate turn off for the majority of audiences but it's not on this approach that the movie fails. It's on an unbalanced script that's more concerned on punishing detestable characters and not having a more evolving story in the process. Hell, the motive that sets the Exterminator on a rampage is not that shocking and the post-war Vietname stress the main character is suffering from seems to get lost on his motives too.

A failed opportunity.

Francisco G.
Francisco Godinho

Super Reviewer

The Exterminator Quotes

– Submitted by Daniel m (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Daniel m (3 years ago)

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