29 user 45 critic

Pray for Death (1985)

After a peace loving Japanese immigrant and his family become victims of a crime syndicate, a master ninja emerges.


Gordon Hessler


James Booth




Cast overview, first billed only:
Shô Kosugi ... Akira Saito
James Booth ... Limehouse Willie
Donna Kei Benz Donna Kei Benz ... Aiko Saito (as Donna K. Benz)
Norman Burton ... Lt. Anderson
Kane Kosugi ... Takeshi Saito
Shane Kosugi Shane Kosugi ... Tomoya Saito
Matthew Faison Matthew Faison ... Sgt. Joe Daley
Parley Baer ... Sam Green
Robert Ito ... Kaga
Michael Constantine ... Mr. Newman
Alan Amiel Alan Amiel ... Vinnie Seline
Woody Watson ... Cohen
Charles Grueber Charles Grueber ... Sgt. Trumble (as Charles Gruber)
Nik Hagler Nik Hagler ... Pirelli
Chris Wycliff Chris Wycliff ... Joe Benson


Akira Saito, a Japanese businessman lives in Tokyo with his Japanese-American wife Aiko and their children, Takeshi and Tomoya. When the family has a chance to move to the United States so that Aiko can teach the children about their American heritage, they pack up and head for Houston, Texas and run a restaurant. This is where the trouble begins. A band of crooked cops store stolen goods in the back room of the restaurant and unknown to the Saitos family, a priceless necklace (the Van Atta necklace), is wanted by a local syndicate. When one of the dirty cops decide to take the necklace for himself, the syndicate goes after the previous owner of the restaurant, then after the Saitos'. When one of the boys is kidnapped by top thug Limehouse, Akira quietly rescues him. However, when Aiko and Tomoya are run down by Limehouse in an effort to get the necklace, Akira has had enough. For years, Akira has kept a dark secret. Akira finally decides to unleash his dark side. Written by kinnikuman12195

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They shattered his American dream. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The Van Atta necklace is a reference to producer Don Van Atta, who produced the film. See more »


Limehouse: I'm going to burn your kid like a roman candle.
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Alternate Versions

The DVD released by "Banzai" is very heavily cut, with numerous scenes sadistic/sexual violence removed. See more »


Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »


Back to the Shadows
Performed by Peggy Abernathy
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User Reviews

Prayer before dying...
7 August 2006 | by fmarkland32See all my reviews

Sho Kosugi stars as closet ninja who becomes Ninja once again when mobsters (Searching for a priceless necklace) kill his wife and try to kill his kids, Kosugi warns the mobsters, tries cooperating and even giving clues to get the mobsters off his back but of course it just never ceases to be and because this is a ninja movie, Kosugi tries to dispatch the mobsters one by one. Pray For Death is of course a ninja movie that was better than average for the genre, reading various comments which vary in opinion, I tend to lean with the crowd who likes the movie since I myself was never bored with the movie. It certainly had a few slow moments and an action sequence which wasn't very impressive at all (Kosugi sneaking in a boat party) but there are some good action sequences (Especially the climax) and the movie moves quick enough to not concern the audience about how unlikely it all is. Still its a ninja movie and rarely do they even approach respectability. Pray For Death at least works as a guilty pleasure.

* *1/2 out of 4-(Pretty good)

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

November 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pray for Death See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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