A criminally underrated and explosively violent gangster saga from director Richard Fleischer, The Don Is Dead features one of the all-time great casts of tough guy actors: legendary multiple Oscar®-winner Anthony Quinn, Robert Forster (Jackie Brown), and Frederic Forrest (Apocalypse Now) are joined by Al Lettieri (The Getaway), Joe Santos (The Friends of Eddie Coyle), Abe Vigoda (The Godfather), Vic Tayback (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), Victor Argo (Taxi Driver), and Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses). Riddled with as many double crosses as bullet hits, The Don Is Dead is like a gritty 70s pulp paperback come to bloody life.
After his Vegas crime family don father dies, Frank Regalbuto (Forster) now places his loyalties with Don Angelo DiMorra (Quinn), but a rival family wants to trigger a gang war and destroy the DiMorra clan. They make Frank think that his girlfriend Ruby (Prime Cut‘s Angel Tomkins) is locked in an affair with Don Angelo, hoping Frank will take revenge. Enlisting the Fargo brothers hit men, Tony (Forrest) and Vince (Lettieri) — who have some nasty sibling rivalry issues of their own — Frank is determined to rise to the top and wreak vengeance, no matter the body count that results.
Fleischer directed The Don Is Dead just after his science fiction classic from the same year, Soylent Green, and this just demonstrates the eclectic filmmaker’s versatility. Also responsible for everything from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) and Fantastic Voyage (1966) to Doctor Dolittle (1967) and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), Fleischer could clearly do it all, but he was at his best with riveting thrillers like The Boston Strangler (1968), Compulsion (1959), and the noir classic The Narrow Margin (1952). The Don Is Dead fits in with those suspenseful shockers, and is ripe for rediscovery.
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Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
- 1080p presentation on Blu-ray
- Uncompressed LPCM audio (original mono presentation)
- Brand new feature length audio commentary by author Scott Harrison
- Theatrical trailer
- A collector’s booklet featuring an extensive essay on the crime films of director Richard Fleischer by film writer and journalist Barry Forshaw