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The Punisher

Film poster
Directed by Mark Goldblatt
Produced by Robert Guralnick
Simon Heath
Mace Neufeld
Written by Robert Mark Kamen
Boaz Yakin
Starring Dolph Lundgren
Louis Gossett, Jr.
Kim Miyori
Music by Dennis Dreith
Cinematography Ian Baker
Editing by Stephanie Flack
Tim Wellburn
Studio New World Pictures
Distributed by New World Pictures
Artisan Entertainment
Running time 92 minutes
Country Australia
United States
Budget $9,000,000[citation needed]

The Punisher is a 1989 film starring Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle, directed by Mark Goldblatt from a screenplay by Boaz Yakin. It is based on the Marvel Comics' character The Punisher. The film changes many details of the comic book origin and the main character does not wear the trademark "skull". In the comic book, Castle's wife was named Maria; they had a son named Frank Junior and a daughter named Lisa. Maria, Frank Jr. and Lisa were all killed by gunfire after witnessing the execution of an informant. In the film, Frank's wife was named Julie, they had two daughters, Annie and Felice. Julie, Felice and Annie were all killed in a car bomb explosion meant for Castle. In the comic book, Frank Castle was a former U.S. Marine captain. In the movie, he was changed to a police detective. In the comic, he is based in New York City; in the film, Seattle.

The Punisher was filmed in Sydney, Australia and also featured Louis Gossett, Jr., Jeroen Krabbé, Kim Miyori, Nancy Everhard and Barry Otto.

Marvel Studios rebooted the film series in 2004 with The Punisher, and again in 2008 with Punisher: War Zone.



Frank Castle is the city's most wanted, and most mysterious, vigilante, known as "The Punisher". He has killed 125 people in the last 5 years. Castle is an ex-police officer, whose family was murdered in a mob hit. Living in the sewers and waging a one-man war against organized crime, his only friend is an old alcoholic named Shake. Now legally declared dead, he strikes back from beyond the grave, killing mobsters wherever he can find them. Due to his war against them, the Mafia families have weakened, forcing one of the family leaders, Gianni Franco, to come in and take control. Franco has a plan to bring the families together as one unit. This, however, has attracted the attention of the Yakuza, Asia's most powerful crime syndicate. Led by Lady Tanaka, the Yakuza decide to take over the Mafia families and all of their interests. In order to sway the mobsters to their cause, they kidnap their children and hold them for ransom. Now the Punisher must fight to save the lives of the children of the people he has fought against for five years, while at the same time fighting alongside the man who killed his family.

Shake pleads with the Punisher to save the children, who are likely to be sold into childhood slavery regardless of whether or not the Mafia give into the demands. While he is able to save most of the children, the Mafia leader's son is taken away to the Yakuza headquarters. Furthermore, the Punisher is taken into custody by the police, only to be freed by Franco's men. Franco persuades the Punisher to help him save his son, and stop the Japanese criminal underworld from taking root in America.

Franco and the Punisher raid the Yakuza headquarters, fight and kill all the Yakuza, including Lady Tanaka and her daughter. Upon being reunited with his son, Franco betrays the Punisher in an effort to kill him, but the Punisher wins the duel, killing Franco. As the police arrive, Castle warns Franco's son not to follow the sins of his father, and vanishes from the scene.



The film received mainly negative reviews. It currently holds a 24% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 17 reviews (13 negative, 4 positive.[1] Christopher Null gave the film 1 out of 5, stating the film was "marred by cheeseball sets and special effects, lame fight sequences, and some of the worst acting ever to disgrace the screen."[2] Whilst critisizing the films storyline and acting, Time Out magazine concluded the film was "destructive, reprehensible, and marvellous fun".[3]


The Punisher Original Motion Picture Score
Soundtrack by Dennis Dreith
Released July 19, 2005
Recorded April 3—April 4, 1989
Genre Orchestral
Film score
Length 79:22
Label Perseverance Records
Tarantula Records
Professional reviews

A full orchestral score was composed and conducted by Dennis Dreith at the Warner Bros. soundstage in Burbank, California. A CD of the soundtrack was not released until July 19, 2005 (Perseverance Records, PRD006). The CD includes several interviews with the director and the composer, as well as the complete multi-track stereo recording. Perseverance Records also released the 5.1 mix as an SACD, in collaboration with Tarantula Records (TARAN001). The DVD release only contains a monaural (single track) soundtrack.


Track listing

  1. "Main Titles" (2:20)
  2. "Follow Dino" (0:18)
  3. "Welcome Home Dino" (1:14)
  4. "Dino Bites the Dust" (0:26)
  5. "Praying for a Flashback" (1:05)
  6. "Perfectly Frank" (0:24)
  7. "Harbor Shoot-Em-Up" (4:24)
  8. "Punisher M.D." (0:48)
  9. "Tanaka Meets Franco" (1:13)
  10. "Tanaka and the Punisher" (1:07)
  11. "Suffer the Children" (1:25)
  12. "Path to Tanaka" (0:34)
  13. "Chopin" (1:12)
  14. "Party Pooping Punisher" (1:52)
  15. "The Pier" (1:39)
  16. "The Funhouse" (0:51)
  17. "Funhouse Shootout" (2:34)
  18. "Pretty Poison" (1:53)
  19. "Harbor Aftermath" (1:41)
  20. "The Mission" (1:03)
  21. "Armored Car" (0:41)
  22. "Choose Your Weapon" (0:56)
  23. "Bulletproof Bus" (4:51)
  24. "Mini Nightmare" (0:32)
  25. "Class Dismissed" (2:21)
  26. "Wake Up" (1:46)
  27. "Pain in the Neck (Tanaka's Last Stand)" (3:53)
  28. "Goodbye Castle" (3:51)
  29. "Punisher Signature" (0:36)
  30. "End Title" (4:24)
  31. "Planet of Love" by Harry Garfield and Simon Stokes (4:37)
  32. Interview: Getting the Job (6:48)
  33. Interview: Spotting (1:09)
  34. Interview: Scoring Scenes (4:31)
  35. Interview: Orchestration (1:49)
  36. Interview: Scoring Session (2:38)
  37. Interview: Editing Musically (3:00)
  38. Interview: Soundtrack/Distribution (2:40)
  39. Interview: Sign-Off (0:16)


External links


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