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Old 11-10-2019, 06:50 PM
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Unexpected and shocking moments of violence in classic films


I was just thinking about classic movies that have one awful violent second that sticks in your head as the defining moment, and is pretty much the only thing you remember about the film.

Jimmy Cagney crushing the grapefruit into Mae Clarke’s face at the breakfast table, The Public Enemy, 1931.

Richard Widmark pushing the old lady in the wheelchair down a flight of stairs, Kiss of Death, 1947.

Lee Marvin throwing a pot of boiling coffee into Gloria Grahame’s face in The Big Heat, 1953.

The little mob guy doing what ever he did to the girlfriend in Altman’s The Long Goodbye, 1973. That was so awful I’ve blanked it out.

These are all acts by male gangsters against women, so maybe it’s a phobia of mine. Examples of women treating men violently might cheer me up.
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Last edited by Ukulele Ike; 11-10-2019 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:52 PM
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I couldn't believe the original "King Kong" passed the censors due to its violence, but then again, it didn't involve nudity so maybe that was why.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:55 PM
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I couldn't believe the original "King Kong" passed the censors due to its violence, but then again, it didn't involve nudity so maybe that was why.
It was pre-Code, so they could get away with stuff. For re-releases, Kong chomping black natives was cut. Also the near-naked scenes with Fay Wray.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:02 PM
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I still get shivers when I recall the rape scene in the movie Salvador.

Just horrible. It's almost all I remember about the movie.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:08 PM
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It was pre-Code, so they could get away with stuff. For re-releases, Kong chomping black natives was cut. Also the near-naked scenes with Fay Wray.
The version I saw had them in it.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:54 PM
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The murder of Luca Brassi in The Godfather

Just about any set piece of violence in A Clockwork Orange

The nose cutting scene in Chinatown
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:01 PM
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Blue Velvet and the scissors.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:17 PM
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Well, there's the shower scene in Psycho. Nothing explicit was shown, but it didn't have to be.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:32 PM
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I remember about 20 years ago, after having taking an extensive walk around the town's pubs with some friends, getting with the bunch to one of our homes and expecting a nice after hour party. But then someone switched on the TV, and Scorcese's Casino was on. A little much into it, there was one particular scene where some mobsters beat, kick and trample someone to death, and I was shocked and instantly sobered. Not the details, but the intensity of the violence were ingrained so hard in my brain that I've never wanted to watch the film again.

ETA: uh, oh, and the bottle scene from Pan's Labyrinth.
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Last edited by EinsteinsHund; 11-10-2019 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:33 PM
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The rape scene in "Deliverance". I still can't watch that movie.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:25 PM
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The "bite the curb" head-stomp in American History X (is that a "classic" movie yet?)
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:30 PM
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The drowning of the peasant girl in, "Frankenstein."

(To be honest, not seeing that excised scene for almost 40 years of watching that movie made it a lot scarier than it turned out to be.)
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:47 PM
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It is not the only thing I remember about the film, but the chest burster scene in Alien was absolutely shocking at the time.

There are going to be spoilers in discussions like these. I'll just mention, The Departed.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:59 PM
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During the last half-hour or so of The Sign of the Cross (1932), there are a number of "unexpected and shocking" bits of violence, including gladiator action and pygmy impalement.

The clipping of Bambi’s mother, although just an offscreen sound effect, is still what everyone remembers.

George Murphy, already shot, is run over by a tractor in Border Incident (1949).

Cloris Leachman tortured with pliers, Percy Helton’s fingers crushed in a desk drawer and Gaby Rodgers’ fiery demise upon opening “The Great What's-it” in Kiss Me Deadly (1955).

Cornel Wilde tortured via hearing aid-amplified drum solo in The Big Combo (1955).

Toshiro Mifune impaled by arrows in Throne of Blood (1957).

Dude impaled by giant syringe in War of the Colossal Beast (1958).

Bald prostitute Constance Towers beating up her pimp in the jazzy opening of The Naked Kiss (1964).

The end of Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

Last edited by Dropo; 11-10-2019 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:05 PM
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I consider Drive (2011) to be a classic. Most of the violence in it is unexpected and shocking, or at least unexpectedly shocking. Short, but devastating bursts.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 11-10-2019 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:06 PM
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Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. Also, Easy Rider.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:33 PM
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The scene in Catch-22 where Hungry Joe gets cut in half by an airplane propeller.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:53 PM
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The transformation of Cleopatra into the chicken lady at the end of Freaks (1932). Still gives me the creeps to this day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrlVTZFPnzA
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:04 PM
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Couple more.

Carol (Catherine Deneuve) slashing away at the landlord in Repulsion (1965). The way she stops to stare at what she's done, then keeps going!

The old village lady in Seven Samurai (1954) being let through the crowd of villagers to attack one of the bandits with her hoe.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:07 PM
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Burt Reynolds getting his fingers cut off in Sharkey's Machine.

Not what Burt Reynolds movies were known for at the time.

And yeah, that's all I remember from the movie.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:13 PM
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Not sure how unexpected it is, but Travis Bickle's 'rescue' of Iris from her pimp in Taxi Driver (1976)

Leon tells Holden about his mother in Blade Runner (1982)

Gene Hackman's war correspondent runs afoul of Nicaraguan troops in Under Fire (1983)

Last edited by El_Kabong; 11-10-2019 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
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The transformation of Cleopatra into the chicken lady at the end of Freaks (1932). Still gives me the creeps to this day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrlVTZFPnzA
I was so prepared by what I had read to be shocked and revolted by that reveal at the end, that it was anticlimactic to actually see it. I wished I hadn't read the spoilers (which anyway were not so identified, because the movie was both old and a classic, not considering that it had been out of circulation for a very long time).
  #23  
Old 11-11-2019, 01:56 AM
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I hate violent movies but I can think of one scene...Annie Wilkes talking the sledgehammer to her bound victim’s ankles in “Misery”.

ETA I guess this is not a classic film, sorry about that!

Last edited by Periwinkle; 11-11-2019 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:10 AM
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I hate to be pedantic but I think there should be a rule for what constitutes a "classic" film in the context of this thread. Basically, it should only cover those movies made before 1968 which is when the Motion Picture Production Code was replaced by the MPAA rating system. Anything after that really wouldn't be that unexpectedly shocking since the dam burst in terms of violence (and sexual content) immediately after that.
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Old 11-11-2019, 04:14 AM
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de niros character raping his girlfriend in the backseat of the car after she turned down his marriage proposal in once upon a time in America

Last edited by nightshadea; 11-11-2019 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 11-11-2019, 07:52 AM
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The victim death of a guy strapped to a wheelchair, engulfed in flames, and rolling down a long parking lot garage ramp. The movie was Manhunter.
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:23 AM
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I don't think it's considered "Classic", but the violent scenes of torture to Oliver Reed's character, Father Grandler, in Ken Russel's film The Devils (1971) got that film an X-rating in the US and Britain. It was banned in Finland until 2011.


Of course, it had nudity and sexual content, as well, but the violence definitely put it over the top. had the film contained no nudity, i think it still would've gotten that "X".

You still really can't get it on DVD. There was a bootlegged release, and a legitimate roundabout release that was cancelled after three days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devils_(film)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066993/
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:35 AM
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I also found this tidbit at imdb:

Quote:
The film not only was banned in Italy but the government of that country threatened the actors Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed to condemn them to three years in prison if they stepped on their territory.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066993...ef_=tt_trv_trv
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:52 AM
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The so-brief-blink-and-you-missed-it scene in Midnight Cowboy where Joe Buck gets gang raped.

Last edited by Annie-Xmas; 11-11-2019 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:52 PM
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The so-brief-blink-and-you-missed-it scene in Midnight Cowboy where Joe Buck gets gang raped.
He's gang raped? For someone reason I thought it was implied that his girlfriend was and he was forced to watch.
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Old 11-14-2019, 06:54 PM
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I think Un Chien Andalou has to be right up there. I wonder how many people in 1929 expected to sit in a theater and see a razor slice open an eyeball in the first 5 minutes.
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Old 11-14-2019, 07:09 PM
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In the 1941 serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel, starring Tom Tyler, there is a scene where Captain Marvel fights a group of gangsters on the roof of a skyscraper. One of the gangsters lunges at Cap. Cap casually tosses the gangster over the edge of the roof.

In another scene, the good guys are attacked by a horde of bandits. Billy Batson (who was portrayed as a teenager, though the actor was 25 at the time) mans a machine gun, and mows them down in droves.

You could not do that in a kid's movie today.

The last time I watched The Adventures of Robin Hood, I got to the scene where Errol Flynn bursts into the banquet hall with a deer carcass slung over his shoulder. I found myself wondering if any modern vegetarians would be Triggered by that scene.
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Old 11-14-2019, 07:51 PM
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Kathy Bates hobbling James Caan in Misery.
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:04 PM
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The scene in Catch-22 where Hungry Joe gets cut in half by an airplane propeller.
Kid Sampson, not Hungry Joe.

My entry: LA Confidential. Captain Smith suddenly murders Sgt. Vincennes.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:38 PM
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He's gang raped? For someone reason I thought it was implied that his girlfriend was and he was forced to watch.
No, they were both raped by the gang. IIRC he has flashbacks of the event when a gay client goes down on him in a movie theater, leading him to beat the guy up later, which was also shocking violence.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:14 PM
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Kathy Bates hobbling James Caan in Misery.
Speaking of James Caan there is the death of Sonny Corleone at the tollbooths in The Godfather.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:18 PM
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Well, there's the shower scene in Psycho. Nothing explicit was shown, but it didn't have to be.
Another unexpected and shocking scene in Psycho:

SPOILER:
The reveal of Norman's mother as a taxidermied corpse isn't violent but it is creepy and gory for a film released in 1960.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:12 PM
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Had any movie prior to Cool Hand Luke shown someone really well and truly getting the shit pummeled out of him? Because even NOW in an era of constant over-the-top violence, the boxing scene with Dragline still seems unbelievably brutal.

Fun fact: the guy who wrote the book that the movie was based on, is still alive at age 91.

Last edited by Lamoral; 11-14-2019 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:30 PM
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In Went the Day Well? (1942), a small Brit town is occupied by Germans as an advance post for a planned invasion. It contains at least a couple scenes of shocking violence – an axe to the head and a grenade smothering - all the more shocking because they are perpetrated by elderly ladies.


Quote:
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Had any movie prior to Cool Hand Luke shown someone really well and truly getting the shit pummeled out of him? Because even NOW in an era of constant over-the-top violence, the boxing scene with Dragline still seems unbelievably brutal.
Cool Hand Luke was released in 1967. Brando gets the shit pummeled out of him in On the Waterfront (1954) and The Chase (1966). Ditto Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars (1964). I am sure I am forgetting others.
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:46 AM
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Brando gets the shit pummeled out of him in [I]On the Waterfront
I still have to laugh at, even considering it was 1954, longshoreman Terry Malloy "swearing" to the mob boss just before he fought him:

"Youre a dirty, lousy, rotten, stinkin....MUG!"

Gosh darn it all.

Last edited by BrickBat; 11-15-2019 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:36 PM
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.......Leon tells Holden about his mother in Blade Runner (1982) ........
What struck me most forcibly was the shocking violence perpetrated against female replicants - Zhora is shot in the back whilst running to save her life; Pris is shot and left screaming and threshing her legs in agony until she is finally properly "retired". I remember this very clearly from the first time I saw the movie, and it stayed with me unexpectedly. With repeated viewings, I now take the view that this violence was critical to the central theme of the nature of humanity, and that was why it hung around in my mind.

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Old 11-15-2019, 04:37 PM
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The clipping of Bambi’s mother, although just an offscreen sound effect, is still what everyone remembers.
It's interesting how hardly anybody talks about how much more violent the movie gets after that scene. There's:
  • Bambi's fight with the other buck for Faline's affection
  • The forest fire
  • The return of the hunters
  • The scared bird who flies off in terror, only to be shot, and whose dead body we see (unlike Bambi's mother)
  • The attack by the hunting dogs
  #43  
Old 11-15-2019, 05:58 PM
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Kid Sampson, not Hungry Joe.
Kid Sampson in the book. Hungry Joe in the movie.

https://youtu.be/LwELqrqsf_o
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:07 PM
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Kid Sampson in the book. Hungry Joe in the movie.

https://youtu.be/LwELqrqsf_o
And we're talking about films, not books. Got it. I withdraw my nitpick.
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:19 PM
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Johnny taking out Snakes with the Tommy gun in Angels with Filthy Souls is unexpected and violent.
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Old 11-16-2019, 01:42 PM
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Certainly not a 'classic' (but I think that ship sailed long ago), but in movie To Live And Die In L.A. has a scene about half-way in, where the Major Character gets shot in the face with a shot-gun. Completely unexpected. Did not see that coming.
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Old 11-16-2019, 01:44 PM
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Certainly not a 'classic' (but I think that ship sailed long ago), but in movie To Live And Die In L.A. has a scene about half-way in, where the Major Character gets shot in the face with a shot-gun. Completely unexpected. Did not see that coming.
I would say it's a classic for the amazing car chase itself. Willam Defoe was amazing and William Friedkin directs.
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Old 11-16-2019, 02:39 PM
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The scene where they break Paul Newman's thumbs in The Hustler gave me nightmares for quite a while, even though the violence is mostly implied.
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Old 11-16-2019, 03:09 PM
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Certainly not a 'classic' (but I think that ship sailed long ago), but in movie To Live And Die In L.A. has a scene about half-way in, where the Major Character gets shot in the face with a shot-gun. Completely unexpected. Did not see that coming.
Thought it was more towards the end---and it shocked the hell out of me when I saw it---and it's not 'classic' anyways, but it fits. Great B-movie, with, as noted, an amazing car chase, and it has an almost Michael Mann-like verisimilitude to the cop dialogue and some of the gunplay. Worth your time. Scared the US Secret Service---who demanded some edits, IIRC---for the detail it went into about how to counterfeit currency.

Last edited by Gray Ghost; 11-16-2019 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 11-16-2019, 03:12 PM
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