10 Best Vigilante Movies, According to IMDb

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10 Best Vigilante Movies, According to IMDb

Vigilantism has been a popular subject in cinema for decades, with numerous movies exploring the theme of ordinary individuals taking the law into their own hands to fight crime and injustice. It resonates heavily with fans who want to experience the thrill of dodging the law while undertaking a campaign for righteous justice.


Vigilante movies have continued to captivate audiences with thrilling action scenes, complex characters, and thought-provoking themes. From superhero movies like Kick-Ass and The Dark Knight to more traditional vigilante movies like John Wick, the genre comes in all different shapes and sizes.

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10 ‘Bad Ass’ (2012)

IMDb Rating: 5.4/10

Directed by Craig Moss and starring the legendary Danny Trejo as the main character, the film is a thrilling mix of action, humor, and social commentary. The plot follows Frank Vega (Danny Trejo), taking matters into his own hands after uncovering a conspiracy behind the murder of his best friend with the help of a young hacker named Martin and a journalist named Amber.

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The movie tackles social issues such as racism and police corruption while promoting swift condemnation of such. A subtle touch of comedy mixed with the issues portrayed in the movie makes it a thrilling and entertaining piece that will leave fans cheering for justice and drama.

9 ‘The Punisher’ (2004)

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IMDb Rating: 6.4/10

The Punisher is a captivating thriller film that has become a cult classic in the vigilante genre. The movie follows the development of Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) as he gives into the thirst for vengeance after the murder of his family in a mob hit.

Rather than focusing only on the fight sequences and effects to make the film more appealing, it also shows how Frank’s psychological trauma shapes his character as he delves further into the gray area against morality and the justice system.

8 ‘Taken’ (2008)

TAKEN (1)

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

The 2008 action-thriller, Taken, directed by Pierre Morgan, is renowned for Liam Neeson’s role as the main protagonist, Bryan Mills. The film brings to attention how individuals are vulnerable to being taken advantage of without mercy. Liam’s acting in this movie is phenomenal as he exhibits powerful emotions and a dead-set determination to save his daughter.

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Even though the film shows Bryan crossing legal and ethical boundaries, it still makes a case for moral righteousness on his part, as he was doing it to save his daughter. Truly showing the extremes anyone can go to protect their loved ones, the message resonates with the audience even as the credits roll to a close.

7 ‘The Equalizer’ (2014)

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IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, the film revolves around the retired CIA operative using his expertise and skills to take down organizations and individuals with ill intentions. The first film in a planned trilogy, The Equalizer sees McCall go from a mild-mannered hardware store employee into a force of righteous vengeance to protect a teenage sex worker from the grips of the Russian mob.

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The Equalizer and its sequel have gained critical acclaim due to the outstanding performance of the cast and the intense action sequences, and the apt portrayal of what lengths one goes to create a difference in the lives of people around them.

6 ‘Law Abiding Citizen’ (2009)

Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler in Law Abiding Citizen

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

Law Abiding Citizen is a somber and suspenseful film that follows the typical style of vigilante moves. Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) takes matters into his own hands when the justice system fails to bring justice to the murderer of his family. Shelton sets out to give them the punishment they deserve and is caught between keeping his morality and pursuing justice.

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The film highlights how the justice system fails to bring the guilty to justice. It further portrays the psychological toll it takes on those affected by its failure.

5 ‘John Wick’ (2014)

Keanu Reeves in John Wick
Image via Lionsgate

IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

John Wick walks a fine line between brutal action and impeccable style. Following the titular John Wick (Keanu Reeves), Wick tries to divest himself from his criminal past as an assassin. However, an altercation with an arrogant young mobster leads him down a bloody path of vengeance.

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His alias, “Baba Yaga,” a supernatural Russian witch, speaks to the fear and respect he conjures in his enemies. Due to their intense action sequences, intricate world-building, and stylish cinematography, the first film and its subsequent sequels have received critical acclaim and become a popular franchise among fans of action movies.

4 ‘Nobody’ (2021)

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IMDb Rating: 7.4/10

Directed by Ilya Naishuller, the 2021 action-thriller Nobody follows the story of one Hutch Mansell. Who sees his life take a turn for the worse after a break-in at his home. The confrontation eventually puts him at crossroads with a Russian mafia boss and his henchman, as he uses his skills as an ex-government agent to take them down.

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Portraying the general idea of a vigilante movie by employing themes such as fighting injustice within the law or the psychological drawbacks of adopting such a lifestyle, Nobody also caters to modern, fast-paced action sequences. The overall screenwriting and brilliant performance by Bob Odenkirk makes it an appealing addition to the canon of vigilante movies.

3 ‘Kick-Ass’ (2010)

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IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

Kick-Ass is a comedy, action, and thriller all packed into one. The film follows a young teenager, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who decides to start fighting crime in his city despite having no experience at all. Even though his first two experiences fighting crime don’t go so well, he later teams up with a father-daughter duo, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl, to take down a drug lord named Frank D’Amico.

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The film is known for its take on the comedic-heroism trope and excellent writing, which offers a refreshing angle to the usually “somber” films in the vigilante genre. Saddle up for a journey of emotion and entertainment in this production directed by Matthew Vaughn.

2 ‘Kill Bill Vol. 1’ (2003)

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IMDb Rating: 8.2/10

Kill Bill Vol. 1 is an action-packed thriller sequence directed by Quentin Tarantino, following the life story of a female assassin known as “The Bride.” Uma Thurman’s performance as the bride is lauded for capturing the character’s physical and emotional prowess. Follow her journey as she goes against the deadly viper’s assassination squad for daring to kill her and her unborn child.

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Kill Bill stands out in the vigilante movie genre for its take on personal responsibility associated with following such a lifestyle and its consequences. A classical blend of style, substance, and stellar performance!

1 ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

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IMDb Rating: 9.0/10

The critically lauded The Dark Knight picks up after the first film in The Dark Knight Trilogy. It follows the story of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), a billionaire/philanthropist who struggles to reconcile between himself and his alter-ego, Batman, as Gotham is laid siege by the anarchist criminal Joker (Heath Ledger), who is determined to burn the city the to the ground.

RELATED: Christopher Nolan Explains How His Dark Knight Trilogy Was Defined by Its Villains

The intense style, sophisticated effects, and remarkable acting make the Caped Crusader’s tale even and a must-watch for every vigilante movie fan. The other two movies help form a cohesive and compelling character arc for Batman and help make up one greatest superhero series ever.

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