Code of Silence (film)

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Code of Silence
Code of silence.jpg
Promotional movie poster for the film
Directed by Andrew Davis
Produced by Raymond Wagner
Written by Michael Butler
Dennis Shryack
Mike Gray
Music by David Michael Frank
Cinematography Frank Tidy
Edited by Christopher Holmes
Peter Parasheles
Russ Kingston
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release dates
  • May 3, 1985 (1985-05-03)
Running time
101 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office 20,345,561 USD

Code of Silence is a 1985 American action film directed by Andrew Davis, and starring Chuck Norris and Henry Silva. The film was released in the United States on May 3, 1985.[1]

It was typical for the genre and the star but filmed on location in Chicago with a few sub-plots. It featured Norris as Sgt. Eddie Cusack, a streetwise plainclothes officer who takes down a crime czar / drug lord responsible for officers being wounded in a botched drug raid. In the film's climax Norris teams with a more than menacing crime-fighting robot named "Prowler".

"Code of Silence" is a slang term for a police officer's cover for one another in circumstances where an officer makes a mistake or is corrupt. This plays a subplot whereby a rookie officer in the station covers up for an aging, alcoholic officer who accidentally shoots a teenage boy then covers up the murder by planting a gun on the victim.

Norris's character is the only one to speak out publicly against the corrupt officer and is temporarily ostracized by most of the other officers in his unit, until they learn the truth about the incident.


Chicago, Illinois; October 17, 1984

It is late morning in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood where a sting operation is beginning to take place. Sergeant Eddie Cusack (Chuck Norris), and his crack team of Chicago Police detectives are stationed in several positions near the sting location, including Lieutenant Kobas (Joseph F. Kosala) who is stationed on the rooftops along Sheridan Road, Detectives Brennan (Ron Dean) and Music (Gene Barge) serving as lookouts, and the alcoholic Detective Cragie (Ralph Foody), and rookie detective Nick Kopalas (Joseph Guzaldo) stationed in Graceland Cemetery, with the undercover informant preparing to meet the buyer at the CTA's Sheridan Road 'L' stop. Cusack, and his partner, Dorato (Dennis Farina) use a garbage truck to patrol the Alley beneath the Red Line (Chicago Transit Authority) watching as the buyer and the informant arrive at the location where the sting is to take place.

The carefully orchestrated sting was a basic meet and greet exchange which had been set up by cocaine supplier Victor Comacho (Ron Henriquez). Victor is the younger brother of Luis Comacho (Henry Silva), who is the leader of the vicious drug gang known as the Comachos. Everything goes horribly wrong when a rival gang led by mafia drug lord Tony Luna (Mike Genovese) infiltrates the sting as a crew of painters and mercilessly gun down the attendees to the exchange. After collecting the money and cocaine being exchanged, and all sides taking hits, the aftermath is pretty grim; Cusack's informant is dead, Dorato is wounded in the foot, and during the response to the sting, Kopalas is eyewitness as Cragie accidentally guns down a teenager, and, in an attempt to cover his misdeed, plants his backup weapon on the victim.

After Kopalas is partnered with Cusack, and Cragie put on a desk until a Department Hearing, Commander Kates (Bert Remsen) expresses his disgust with the outcome of the sting, whilst Eddie notes that the Comachos are not going to take the hit on their gang lightly. Commander Kates agrees. He releases Eddie with only one warning: "Find who burned the Comachos before they do."

After learning that one of his gang members was shot by police, and Victor Comacho survived the raid, Tony Luna prepares to leave town to avoid the conflict. He calls on his brother, Lou Gamiani (Lou Damiani) to have someone guard his family, and his daughter, Diana (Molly Hagan). Gamiani expresses his nephew's rash decision, and points out that he is putting the entire outfit at risk.

Apart from receiving idle threats from the Comachos, breaking in a new partner, and the introduction of the new Prowler police three axle robot, Eddie is slightly shunned by other officers for his refusal to sign a petition to have Cragie pardoned, and he bluntly expresses the truth to Brennan: "If Cragie doesn't get off the streets, he's gonna kill somebody else, or get somebody killed."

After tailing Gamiani to the Lincoln Park Zoo, the detectives witness a tense exchange of words between him and Diana, and Cusack begins piecing the puzzle together to discover who Diana's father is. As Cusack and Kopalas stake out the Luna residence on the southwest side, the Comacho funeral procession comes through the neighborhood. Afterwards, they pay a visit to Tony Luna's uncle, Felix Scalese (Nathan Davis), and try to get him to stop the imminent conflict that is fast approaching. Later that day, they respond to a DOA call in Lincoln Park, where Brennan and Music identify the victim, who had been given a Colombian Necktie, as Tony Luna's bag man. Brennan notes another call to Tony Luna's restaurant, where the officers found the mutilated owner hanging from a meat hook in the kitchen; and a used car lot run by Tony Luna, that had just been firebombed and the owner burned alive. A vicious gang war has just begun.

The next morning, the Comachos, posing as food vendors, brutally gun down every member of the Luna household. Eddie, knowing they will go after Diana and use her as bait to bring Luna out of hiding, tries to get to her. Gamiani retrieves her from her job, and is stabbed to death on the steps of the Chicago Cultural Center. Cusack and Kopalas arrive on the scene. Cusack takes off in hot pursuit after Diana, who is being chased by several Comacho gang members who proceed to surround her in a nearby alley. Cusack catches up with them, surprising them at gunpoint. One of them takes Diana hostage with a knife, and Cusack quickly disarms the three remaining suspects and takes off after them. He follows them to the Randolph/Wells (CTA) elevated station and boards an Evanston Express. A standoff ensues, leading to a fight inside, and on the rooftop of the eight car train. As the train begins crossing the Wells Street Bridge, the gang member then jumps into the Chicago River, where he is run over by a speedboat.

Cusack then places Diana in a safe house with his old friend Pirelli (Allen Hamilton), a retired Chicago Police officer who was the partner of Cusack's father. Afterwards, at the request of Kopalas, he pays him a visit at the local watering hole, where Kopalas reveals that Cragie planted the gun on the teenager at the sting, and does not know how to deal with the hearing the next day.

At the hearing, Kopalas decides to go along with Cragie for the sake of his being as a police officer, and Eddie is shunned by the other officers in his unit for his testimony, where it is revealed that the previous year, he had documented a transfer order to have Cragie transferred out of his unit. Hence, the "Code of Silence" is in effect against Cusack, with his only confidant being Detective Dorato. While trying to call and check on Pirelli and Diana, the operator notes that the number had been disconnected. Cusack races to the location to find officers already on the scene. Pirelli has been killed, and Diana missing.

He proceeds toward the Comacho hangout and puts out a radio call for backup, but due to the latter events at the hearing, other officers refuse to respond and dispatchers try in vain to find a backup for him. He enters the hangout to find Luis. He fights through the gang members until they get the jump on him. Battered and fatigued, Luis tells Cusack he wants Tony Luna, otherwise Diana dies...slowly.

Afterwards, Dorato shows up. He states that Tony Luna was lying low in Wisconsin, and returning to Union Station Chicago that night. Eddie waits outside the station, watching as Luna climbs into Scalese's limousine. Scalese expresses his disgust at his nephew for igniting the gang war. The driver notices Cusack following them, and a wild chase ensues through the bowels of Lower Wacker Drive. The chase ends when the limousine strikes a stalled car and overturns onto its roof, and Luna and Scalese are killed in the explosion. With only one way to retrieve Diana, Cusack borrows a police cruiser and returns to police headquarters. He retrieves the Prowler robot, and singlehandedly launches a full scale attack on the Comachos lair in East Chicago, Indiana.

Back at headquarters, most of the other detectives berate Cusack for his actions. Kopalas, disgusted by the cops' behavior and Cragie's comment, tells everyone off and confronts Cragie, stating that he will no longer lie for him. He reveals to the squad-room that Cragie planted the gun on the teen he killed, and in the ensuing shove match with Cragie, lifts Cragie's pantleg, revealing another pocket-sized pistol in an ankle holster. After pulling the gun out of the holster, Kopalas holds it up to Cragie, asking: "What's this for, partner, huh?! Your next f***-up?"

Back at the warehouse, now. Using the last of his ammo, Cusack takes down the remaining Comacho members. Luis picks up a pick hammer and prepares to murder Diana, but Cusack shoots him. Wounded, but not dead, Luis slowly enters the bathroom where Diana is bound. He raises the hammer, but Cusack takes the last shot, hitting Luis in the back and killing him.

Backup arrives, Cusack places Diana in the care of the CFD ambulance crew. Commander Kates asks will he come in the next day, and Cusack, finally having regained the respect from his fellow officers, agrees, and Dorato gives him squad ride back to the headquarters.



Screenwriters Michael Butler and Dennis Shryack originally wrote this in 1979 for Warner Bros. as Dirty Harry IV: Code of Silence.[2] When it wasn't made there, the script was briefly in the possession of Canadian producer Gene Slott, who was looking to make it in 1980.[3]


The film received mixed to positive reviews.[4][5][6][7] It's considered by fans and critics as Chuck Norris's best film to date.

Box office[edit]

The film was released by Orion Pictures in early May 1985. It debuted at number 1[8] with a weekend total of $5,512,461.[9] The film went on to gross a total of $20,345,361, making it the second most successful Chuck Norris vehicle at the time behind Missing in Action (1984).


  1. ^ "Action star Chuck Norris an intelligent Rambo". Toronto Star. 1986-02-11. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  2. ^ "Dirty Harry IV : Code of silence". July 12, 1979. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Slott has "Code Of Silence," a $7,000,000 thriller about a cop". Variety. June 18, 1980. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Chuck Norris Breaks The Stereotype In `Code Of Silence`". Chicago Tribune. 1985-05-03. Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  5. ^ "Code of Silence". Variety. 1984-12-31. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  6. ^ "Code of Silence". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  7. ^ Maslin, Janet (1985-05-03). "SCREEN: CHUCK NORRIS IS A CHICAGO POLICE INSPECTOR IN 'CODE OF SILENCE'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  8. ^ "CODE OF SILENCE' STILL NO. 1 AT MOVIE BOX OFFICE". Boston Globe. 1985-05-15. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  9. ^ "Code of Silence". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 

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