6 user 10 critic

Self Defense (1983)

During a police strike in Nova Scotia's capital city, a gang of hoodlums end up unintentionally causing the owner of a gay bar to be killed. This escalates into a string of murders with a lone survivor trying to not be next.


Paul Donovan (screenplay)


Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Nardini Tom Nardini ... Horatio
Brenda Bazinet ... Barbara
Daryl Haney Daryl Haney ... Chester (as Darel Haeny)
Terry-David Després Terry-David Després ... Daniel (as Terry-David Despres)
Jack Blum ... Patrick
Keith Knight ... Steve
Doug Lennox ... Cabe
Jeff Pustil Jeff Pustil ... Goose
Fred Wadden Fred Wadden ... Ian
Gary Dempster Gary Dempster ... Lloyd
Dennis O'Connor ... Clark
Richard Collins Richard Collins ... Rosie (as Rick Collins)
Dug Rotstein Dug Rotstein ... Bartender
Ted Germaine Ted Germaine ... Andre
Barbara Jones Barbara Jones ... Clubmember
Learn more

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A bunch of selfrighteous bullies want to set som "new rules" in town while the police in Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada) are on strike. They try to scare all the gays and lesbians in a bar, but by accident the owner of the establishment is killed, and the leader of the bullies then decides to execute all witnesses. One guy, though, escapes and takes refuge in an isolated block of flats. The young tenants in the house refuse to hand over the survivor, and the bullies then decide to get rid of all the residents in the house. This turns out to be not so easy, because the young people in the house barricade their apartments, set up traps and arm themselves in order to fight back, and this inevitably leads to more bloodshed and killings. Written by Ole Ryhl Olsson <oleryhlolsson@forum.dk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Your last defense is ... Self Defense See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


It contains the only existing news footage of the actual 1981 Halifax Police strike. See more »

User Reviews

Gay-bashing goons vs guerilla good-guys.
28 January 2007 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

A gritty little early-80s exploitation film from Canada, Siege captures the look and feel of similar movies of the day (Assault on Precinct 13, The Warriors, Death Wish 3), but ultimately fails to capitalise on its interesting premise.

The movie opens with news reports of a police strike in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A gang of right-wing extremists take advantage of the lack of law enforcement by launching an attack on the members of a down-town gay bar, which results in the massacre of all but one of the bar's clientèle. The sole survivor, Daniel, escapes but is pursued by the gang, until he manages to find refuge with some friendly people in a tenement block. What follows is a night of terror, as the killers attempt to break into the building and finish their job.

This low budget action thriller starts off promisingly with the brutal slayings in the bar, but, due to a handful of ridiculous plot turns and some pretty poor acting, it quickly loses any credibility it might have had. And when it is revealed that one of the good guys is a survivalist who not only has his apartment linked to his neighbours' by a handy secret passage, but also has access to a range of weaponry, the film takes a step too far into the realms of unbelievability and is unable to claw its way back.

Despite a couple of nifty scenes in which the ingenious heroes set traps for the bad guys, and one or two gruesome deaths (an arrow through the neck is the gory highlight; the silly home-made rocket launcher the most ludicrous), Siege only manages to be an average entry in the urban survivalist sub-genre.

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Release Date:

April 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Siege See more »

Filming Locations:

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


Box Office


CAD300,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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