An Eye for an Eye (1981)

R | 104 mins | Drama | 1981

Director:

Steve Carver

Producer:

Frank Capra, Jr.

Cinematographer:

Roger Sherman

Editor:

Anthony Redman

Production Designer:

Vance Lorenzini

Production Company:

Adams Apple Productions
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HISTORY

According to the 15 Sep 1980 Cinemag, M. M. (Micky) Stevenson, president of Astral Films, planned to move the distribution company into production with An Eye for an Eye starring renowned martial artist Chuck Norris. Filming was scheduled to begin Oct 1980 in Vancouver, Canada, and Astral Films would follow An Eye for an Eye with the feature Humungus, also written by William Gray. However, an item in the 25 Nov 1980 HR announced that Frank Capra, Jr. would produce An Eye for an Eye for Avco Embassy Pictures. The film was based on a story by James Bruner who shared screenplay credit with Gray. As noted in a 19 Sep 1981 Screen International article, Norris had completed three money-making films for American Cinema, but he did not want to be typecast as an American Cinema actor. As a result, when Norris read the script for An Eye for an Eye at Avco Embassy, he signed on.
       The 8 Jan 1981 DV reported James Shigeta was cast in the film, however, an item in the 6 Feb 1981 HR stated Shigeta left due to family illness and a change in the production schedule. Mako was subsequently cast in the role.
       A brief in the 30 Dec 1980 DV reported principal photography was scheduled to begin 7 Jan 1981 in San Francisco, CA, with the 10 Feb 1981 DV noting the film was budgeted at $3.8 million. According to Capra, the San Francisco police department gave limited cooperation to ... More Less

According to the 15 Sep 1980 Cinemag, M. M. (Micky) Stevenson, president of Astral Films, planned to move the distribution company into production with An Eye for an Eye starring renowned martial artist Chuck Norris. Filming was scheduled to begin Oct 1980 in Vancouver, Canada, and Astral Films would follow An Eye for an Eye with the feature Humungus, also written by William Gray. However, an item in the 25 Nov 1980 HR announced that Frank Capra, Jr. would produce An Eye for an Eye for Avco Embassy Pictures. The film was based on a story by James Bruner who shared screenplay credit with Gray. As noted in a 19 Sep 1981 Screen International article, Norris had completed three money-making films for American Cinema, but he did not want to be typecast as an American Cinema actor. As a result, when Norris read the script for An Eye for an Eye at Avco Embassy, he signed on.
       The 8 Jan 1981 DV reported James Shigeta was cast in the film, however, an item in the 6 Feb 1981 HR stated Shigeta left due to family illness and a change in the production schedule. Mako was subsequently cast in the role.
       A brief in the 30 Dec 1980 DV reported principal photography was scheduled to begin 7 Jan 1981 in San Francisco, CA, with the 10 Feb 1981 DV noting the film was budgeted at $3.8 million. According to Capra, the San Francisco police department gave limited cooperation to film companies and would not allow its off-duty police officers to wear their uniforms, therefore Capra hired off-duty Los Angeles, CA, police officers to work on the film and the Bank of America building stood in for the police station. To save lighting time and money, Capra used a new higher speed Fuji film stock, rated at 250 ASA and exposed at 300.
       According to the 19 Sep 1981 Screen International article, Capra’s two sons, Jonathan Capra and Frank Capra, III, worked as production assistants, although only Frank Capra, III received onscreen credit. As with Norris’ prior films, his younger brother, Aaron Norris, was the stunt coordinator.
       Screen International also noted that Robert Rehme, president of Avco and an executive producer on the film, left Avco for a position at Universal. Producer Capra, Jr., who joined Avco in Mar 1981 as vice president of worldwide production, became president-chief executive officer in Jul 1981.
       A brief in the 19 Mar 1981 HR reported that Rehme was excited about An Eye for an Eye and pushed ahead its release from Oct 1981 to Jul 1981. An item in 6 Aug 1981 HR noted Capra’s announcement that the film would be released on 7 Aug 1981 in Southern, Midwestern and Western markets, including San Francisco, CA; Detroit, MI; St. Louis, MO; Minneapolis, MN; Omaha, NE; Jacksonville, FL; and Charlotte, NC. The film opened on 14 Aug 1981 in Eastern U.S. markets. According to Screen International, the film was a domestic box office success.
       Maggie Cooper made her feature film debut in An Eye for an Eye.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Cinemag
15 Sep 1980.
---
Daily Variety
30 Dec 1980.
---
Daily Variety
8 Jan 1981.
---
Daily Variety
10 Feb 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Feb 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 1981.
---
Los Angeles Times
21 Aug 1981
p. 2.
New York Times
14 Aug 1981
p. 6.
Screen International
19 Sep 1981.
---
Variety
19 Aug 1981
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A South Street Film
A Wescom Productions Presentation
An Avco Embassy Pictures Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d cam op
2d cam asst op
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Addl film ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Const coord
Const gang boss
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Ward
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus mixer
SOUND
Sd eff created by
Sd mixer
Boom op
Dubbing mixer
Sd eff mixer
Cable man
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Asst spec eff
Asst spec eff
Titles and opt
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Post-prod supv
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Completion bond rep
Paymaster
Asst to accountant
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Asst loc mgr
Craft service
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Animal trainer
Asst animal trainer
Caterer
Extra casting
Extra casting
STAND INS
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Release Date:
1981
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 14 August 1981
Los Angeles opening: 21 August 1981
Production Date:
began 7 January 1981
Copyright Claimant:
Avco Embassy Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
2 November 1981
Copyright Number:
PA119117
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Undercover San Francisco, California, narcotics police officers, Sean Kane and Dave Pierce, meet with a potential informant named Montoya and are ambushed in an alley. In the ensuing gunfight, both Kane and Pierce are wounded; a car races into the alley, smashes Pierce into a dumpster, and sets him on fire. Kane cannot see the car’s driver, but notices a distinctive dog in the back seat. As the car speeds off, Kane follows an assailant into a hotel where they fight until the thug falls out a window to his death. Back at the police station, Captain Stevens does not believe Kane and Pierce were set up, arguing that their operation was the department’s best kept secret, so Kane quits the police force to investigate on his own. As Kane leaves, police officer Tom “Mac” McCoy expresses sadness over Pierce’s death. At Pierce’s funeral, Kane consoles Linda Chan, a television reporter and Pierce’s girl friend. Kane informs her that Montoya promised to lead them to the head of a heroin operation and Linda is determined to help him investigate. Later, Linda calls Kane from a subway station and claims to have the evidence he needs, but she’s being followed. As she hangs up, the “Professor,” a giant Asian assassin, chases her. She barely escapes, and calls Kane from her apartment as she hurriedly packs a suitcase. She does not trust the police and, as Kane offers to pick her up, the “Professor” and his men arrive. Before they break the door in, Linda searches for a place to hide a subway locker key. ... +


Undercover San Francisco, California, narcotics police officers, Sean Kane and Dave Pierce, meet with a potential informant named Montoya and are ambushed in an alley. In the ensuing gunfight, both Kane and Pierce are wounded; a car races into the alley, smashes Pierce into a dumpster, and sets him on fire. Kane cannot see the car’s driver, but notices a distinctive dog in the back seat. As the car speeds off, Kane follows an assailant into a hotel where they fight until the thug falls out a window to his death. Back at the police station, Captain Stevens does not believe Kane and Pierce were set up, arguing that their operation was the department’s best kept secret, so Kane quits the police force to investigate on his own. As Kane leaves, police officer Tom “Mac” McCoy expresses sadness over Pierce’s death. At Pierce’s funeral, Kane consoles Linda Chan, a television reporter and Pierce’s girl friend. Kane informs her that Montoya promised to lead them to the head of a heroin operation and Linda is determined to help him investigate. Later, Linda calls Kane from a subway station and claims to have the evidence he needs, but she’s being followed. As she hangs up, the “Professor,” a giant Asian assassin, chases her. She barely escapes, and calls Kane from her apartment as she hurriedly packs a suitcase. She does not trust the police and, as Kane offers to pick her up, the “Professor” and his men arrive. Before they break the door in, Linda searches for a place to hide a subway locker key. By the time Kane arrives, the police are already investigating Linda’s death. Mac McCoy is on scene and questions Kane about Linda’s phone calls, but Kane does not know what “evidence” she was referring to. They are interrupted by Heather Sullivan, Linda’s co-worker and neighbor, who wants to retrieve some of her possessions that are in Linda’s apartment. Captain Stevens arrives and orders Kane to leave. Later, as Kane drives to the mountaintop retreat of James Chan, Linda’s father and Kane’s martial arts mentor, he notices a helicopter shadowing him. Chan expects a visit from Captain Stevens, so Kane waits in the garden while Chan answers the door. Instead of finding Stevens, Chan’s property is attacked by several thugs as the helicopter provides cover; however, Kane defeats the assailants outside and helps Chan finish off the thugs in the house. During the fight, Kane notices one man with a Triad tattoo and realizes the Chinese criminal organization is part of the narcotics smuggling operation. Chan wants retribution for his daughter’s death and offers to help Kane. The next day, Kane meets Heather Sullivan at the Channel Six television station. She has compiled Linda’s investigative reports for Kane’s viewing and, on one video, Kane spots Montoya standing in front of a freighter. Heather offers to research the ship’s name as they are interrupted by the station’s owner, Morgan Canfield, who wants to hire Kane to investigate Linda’s death. Although Kane refuses the job, Canfield offers his station’s continued assistance. Learning that a pimp named Nicky LaBelle has pertinent information, Kane goes to LaBelle’s bordello and finds James Chan beating LaBelle’s security men. LaBelle refuses to reveal Montoya’s whereabouts until Kane threatens to destroy an expensive sculpture. Later, when Kane captures Montoya and drags him into an alley for questioning, a car speeds up, shots are fired and Montoya escapes in the vehicle. The next day, Heather learns the freighter’s name is Sulu Sea and her apartment is vandalized, but only audio cassette tapes are stolen. Feeling Heather is in danger, Kane offers the safety of his waterfront home. That night, Heather sleeps in his guest bedroom until Kane is awakened by a nightmare reliving Pierce’s death and she rushes in to comfort him. The next night, Captain Stevens’s surveillance team watches Kane sneak onto the Sulu Sea. Inside the ship, he discovers the smugglers have hidden heroin in boxes of fireworks. When thugs rush into the hold, Kane kicks an overhead lamp and its sparks ignite the boxes. As fireworks explode, Kane escapes the hold, battles his way across the freighter and jumps overboard. Meanwhile, Heather unpacks her suitcase and discovers that Linda had hidden the subway locker key inside her shoe. At the locker, Heather retrieves a cassette tape and leaves a message on Kane’s answering machine instructing him to meet her at Channel Six to hear the tape. Mac meets Kane in the lobby of the television station, claiming that station owner Morgan Canfield called the police to alert them about the tape. Mac leads the way to Canfield’s office and, as they enter, Canfield listens to a tape recording of himself talking about his heroin operation. Mac pulls a gun on Kane while Canfield pockets the tape, announces that the fire on the Sulu Sea was contained and he is en route to finalize the drug deal at his home. The “Professor” enters as Canfield and Mac lead Heather out. Kane moves to attack the Asian assassin but is hit from behind by a thug. The “Professor” follows Canfield, leaving two thugs to kill Kane, but James Chan bursts in, and the thugs are soon dispatched. Kane rushes to the roof where Mac watches as Canfield’s helicopter leaves. Although Mac has a gun, he is no match for Kane and is killed in the ensuing fight. Stevens and his officers surround Canfield’s hilltop estate but the police hold back until the truck carrying the heroin arrives. They watch as Kane and James Chan sneak up the cliff and defeat perimeter security guards. Inside the mansion, Canfield reassures a roomful of businessmen that the heroin deal will work smoothly. Kane and James continue their assault on Canfield’s security men and, when the shipment arrives, the police shoot their way onto the property. Inside, the “Professor” overpowers James, then turns to Kane. Although the “Professor” is a formidable opponent, Kane prevails and knocks him unconscious. Canfield enters holding a gun on Heather, followed by Canfield’s distinctive dog and Kane realizes that it was Canfield who drove the car that killed Pierce. As he attacks, James and Captain Stevens cannot stop Kane from strangling Canfield, but Heather reminds him that Linda’s tape will convict the drug lord and Kane releases his chokehold. Stevens admits that Kane was essential to the capture of the smuggling ring and Kane leaves with his arms around Heather and James. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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