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Prizzi's Honor (1985)

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A professional hitman and hitwoman fall in love.



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 25 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Lombard ...
Rosario Filargi 'Finlay'
George Santopietro ...
Lt. Hanley
Peaches Altamont (as C.C.H. Pounder)
Ann Selepegno ...
Amalia Prizzi
Phil Vittimizzare
Sully Boyar ...
Casco Vascone


Charley Partanna is a hit-man who works for the Prizzis, one of the richest crime syndicate families in the country. Unbeknownst to Charley,the Prizzis just hired Irene Walker, a free-lance killer, to eliminate someone who double-crossed them. When Irene and Charley fall in love their jobs become complicated. Their jobs become impossible when each is given a contract that neither can go through with. Written by Tiff Banks

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hired killers by day. Devoted lovers by night. Until they found their next assignment was each other.


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 June 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El honor de los Prizzi  »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Not only was this a family affair, with John Huston casting his daughter, Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson, but it was a reunion of sorts as well. Huston used old friends and co-workers: his former secretary, Ann Selepegno played the Don's wife; his first script girl on The Maltese Falcon (1941), Meta Rebner, was script supervisor, and Rudi Fehr, who was the editor on Key Largo (1948) came out of retirement. See more »


When Charley and Irene are in her convertible, the shadow from the camera rig becomes visible on the road. See more »


Irene Walker: I can't get over it. What kinda creep wouldn't catch a baby? If it was real it coulda been crippled for life.
Charley Partanna: He wasn't paid to bodyguard the baby.
See more »


Referenced in Galaxy High School: Pizza's Honor (1986) See more »


Overture to 'La Gazza ladra'
Composed by Gioachino Rossini
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User Reviews

5 July 2009 | by See all my reviews

The humor in Prizzi's Honor comes from the everyday humanity of its characters juxtaposed with the fact that the family business entails killing people, so, like in the funeral business, death is discussed (and dealt out) matter-of-factly. The screenplay sparkles throughout, character- driven and organic despite the many plot twists, with a masterful consistency of style. Its point of view is completely amoral, which maybe makes certain 21st century viewers uncomfortable.

Anjelica Huston is a force of nature in the film -- by turns defiant, vulnerable, manipulative, sexual, heartbroken, and innocently delighted. Every moment she's on screen she delivers absolute raw conviction.

The film suffers slightly from the need to condense a novel's worth of material into 2 hours, and maybe certain plot points and motivations could have been a little more developed. For example, Kathleen Turner is strong and believable, but it would have been great to see a little deeper into the darkness and contradictions of her character.

The cast of supporting characters seems to embody facets of John Huston's persona and his dry, macabre sense of humor. William Hickey's performance as the Don is a spectacle unto itself. "Have another cooooookie" LOL. John Randolph (the Jeffrey Tambor of the '80s), Lee Richardson, and Robert Loggia are all flawless.

Fascinating to see Jack Nicholson play completely against type, as a simple-minded and earnest character. He pulls it off brilliantly, although it's a bit puzzling that the Don would entrust him with running the business -- again, probably something that fell through the cracks when adapting the novel.

How weird that none of the online reviews or comments mention the time period. They obviously had a lot of fun with it -- at first it seems to be the 1920s, as Anjelica Huston mentions that as a decorator she does "Art Deco" (a term that I believe was coined well after the actual period in which it was in vogue); then Kathleen Turner tells Jack Nicholson her car is an Excalibur, which is an '80's car made to look like something from the olden days. Later they're driving a Ford van from the '60s. Anjelica at one point goes to meet an informant in full-on Alexis Carrington drag, but most of the sets and costumes are '40s film noir inspired.

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