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The Dead (1987)

 -  Drama  -  17 December 1987 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,632 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 44 critic

Gabriel Conroy and wife Greta attend a Christmas dinner with friends at the home of his spinster aunts, an evening which results in an epiphany for both of them.

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Title: The Dead (1987)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Helena Carroll ...
Cathleen Delany ...
Ingrid Craigie ...
Rachael Dowling ...
Marie Kean ...
Frank Patterson ...
Maria McDermottroe ...
Sean McClory ...
Mr. Grace
...
Miss Furlong (as Katherine O'Toole)
Maria Hayden ...
Miss O'Callaghan
Bairbre Dowling ...
Miss Higgins
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Storyline

John Huston's last film is a labor of love at several levels: an adaptation of perhaps one of the greatest pieces of English-language literature by one of Huston's favorite authors, James Joyce; a love letter to the land of his ancestors and the country where his children grew up; and the chance to work with his screenwriter son Tony and his actress daughter Anjelica. The film is delicate and unhurried, detailing a Christmas dinner at the house of two spinster musician sisters and their niece in turn-of-the-century Ireland, attended by friends and family. Among the visiting attendees are the sisters' nephew Gabriel Conroy and his wife Gretta. The evening's reminiscences bring up melancholy memories for Gretta concerning her first, long-lost love when she was a girl in rural Galway. Her recounting of this tragic love to Gabriel brings him to an epiphany: he learns the difference between mere existence and living. The all-Irish cast and careful period detail give the piece richness and ... Written by Russ W. <russwlkr@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A vast, merry, and uncommon tale of love.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

17 December 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Huston's The Dead  »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,370,078 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character Mr. Grace does not appear in Joyce's original story. He is an invention of John and Tony Huston's, and was chiefly included so as to permit a reading of the eighth-century Irish poem Donal Og ("Young Donal"). Although it represents a departure from Joyce's text, the poem is nonetheless appropriate to the story's themes: like the song "The Lass of Aughrim" that follows it, "Donal Og" deals with the suffering that love can bring to young women...just as it has for Gretta. See more »

Quotes

Mary Jane: Are you an ornithologist as well?
Bartell D'Arcy: An amateur. I suppose being a singer makes me susceptible to other creatures that sing. Birds are the most beautiful singers of all. Just think of the widow warbler and the wren.
See more »

Connections

Featured in John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Arrayed for the Bridal
From the opera "I Puritani di Scozio" by Vincenzo Bellini
Sung by Cathleen Delaney
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User Reviews

 
A perfect short story brought to screen perfection
20 February 2001 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

This is my favourite movie of all time. And I always think of it as John Huston's requiem.

I must have seen it at least 20 times and never tire of it. The mood, the script, the singing, the dinner, it is like being invited into someone's home and observing the events and not able to participate even though you want to... It is a rare treasure, this movie and I cannot write enough praise for it.

It is cast incredibly well, with quite a few Abbey Theatre faces and also the wonderful tenor voice of Frank Patterson. Lady Gregory's poem recited in the movie is one of the most moving ever written. Anjelica's scene walking down the stairs as she listens to the song is one of the best performances every seen on film. I cry every time I see it..for all the right reasons.

We have all had love lost at an early age and weep for our young hopeful selves.

Donal McCann acted in far too few movies for my liking, he just loved stage work and stuck to it, and it is our loss that we do not have more of his performances on film as he does so much with this delicate role by expression and the portrayal of a deep love for his wife that will never be reciprocated and he conveys such inner sadness at knowing this.

If you want your movies action and plot packed avoid this, there really is no beginning, middle or end just a lens onto the characters at a dinner party in Dublin 80 years ago and all the little nuances and shadings of the personalities portrayed so beautifully.

Bravo to all who were involved in this production. 10 out of 10.


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