Gabriel Conroy and wife Greta attend an early January 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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(screenplay), (story)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 14 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 an early January 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... 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:

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Language:

Release Date:

18 December 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Huston's The Dead  »

Box Office

Gross:

$4,370,078 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's opening credits dedication dedicates the movie "For Marcela". See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Gabriel Conroy: [voice over] One by one, we're all becoming shades. Better to pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. How long you locked away in your heart the image of your lover's eyes when he told you that he did not wish to live. I've never felt that way myself towards any woman, but I know that such a feeling must be love. Think of all those who ever were, back to the start of time. And me, transient as they, flickering out ...
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Connections

Referenced in Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010) 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

 
One man's opinion
6 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I have watched thousands of movies in my life and I believe this movie is the most "perfect" movie that has ever been made. By perfect I mean the storytelling, the plot, the acting, the staging, the camera work, etc. (This is a lay opinion; I have no background in film production.) A lot of movies have perfect scenes, such as the bartender filing a report with the police officer in the movie Fargo. (Indeed, that scene could play well as a short.) In The Dead every scene is done to perfection, making the entire movie perfect. Perhaps, John Huston sold his soul to the Devil to make such a movie. Hopefully, Daniel Webster has gotten him out of the contract!


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