IMDb > Johnny Handsome (1989)
Johnny Handsome
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Johnny Handsome (1989) More at IMDbPro »

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Johnny Handsome -- Born with a horribly disfigured face, and unable to become part of "normal"society, John Sedley turns to a life of crime. But his two fellow gang members trick him and Johnny is sent to prison. There he meets a plastic surgeon who takes sympathy on him and surgically transforms him into a new man. Now unrecognizable to those who once new him, the once ugly duckling plots a vicious revenge.
Johnny Handsome -- Clip: I'm not so sure you can count on me


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Down 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
John Godey (novel)
Ken Friedman (screenplay)
View company contact information for Johnny Handsome on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 September 1989 (USA) See more »
Revenge has a new face See more »
Johnny Handsome is a deformed gangster who plans a successful robbery with a friend of his, Mikey Chalmette... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A Level-Headed Gaze at the Natural Progression of a Character See more (41 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Mickey Rourke ... John 'Johnny Handsome' Sedley / Johnny Mitchell

Ellen Barkin ... Sunny Boyd

Elizabeth McGovern ... Donna McCarty

Morgan Freeman ... Lt. A.Z. Drones

Forest Whitaker ... Dr. Steven Fisher

Lance Henriksen ... Rafe Garrett

Scott Wilson ... Mikey Chalmette

David Schramm ... Vic Dumask
Yvonne Bryceland ... Sister Luke

Peter Jason ... Mr. Bonet
J.W. Smith ... Larry

Jeffrey Meek ... Earl (as Jeff Meek)

Allan Graf ... Bob Lemoyne
Ed Zang ... Prestige Manager

John P. Fertitta ... Prestige Salesman (as John Fertitta)

Raynor Scheine ... Gun Dealer
Edward Walsh ... Judge
Jim Burk ... Prison Guard

Ken Medlock ... Shipyard Accountant
Gieg Duncombe ... Accounting Secretary (as Gie-G Duncombe)
Richard E. Butler ... Shipyard Security Guard (as Dick Butler)

Blake Clark ... Sheriff Monte
Eugenia Ives ... Nurse
Tulla Cove ... Dancer
Connie Lemoine ... Dancer
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Marina Anderson ... Nurse (uncredited)

A. David Burleigh ... Shipyard Worker #3 (uncredited)

Directed by
Walter Hill 
Writing credits
John Godey (novel "The Three Worlds of Johnny Handsome")

Ken Friedman (screenplay)

Produced by
Mario Kassar .... executive producer
Ted Kurdyla .... associate producer
Charles Roven .... producer
Bruce Rubenstein .... assistant producer
Andrew G. Vajna .... executive producer (as Andrew Vajna)
Mae Woods .... associate producer
Original Music by
Ry Cooder 
Cinematography by
Matthew F. Leonetti 
Film Editing by
Donn Aron 
Carmel Davies 
Freeman A. Davies 
Casting by
Bonnie Timmermann 
Production Design by
Gene Rudolf 
Art Direction by
Christa Munro 
Troy Sizemore 
Set Decoration by
Ernie Bishop 
Airick Kredell 
Costume Design by
Dan Moore 
Makeup Department
Ken Diaz .... makeup artist
Zoltan Elek .... makeup artist (as Zoltan)
Michael Germain .... makeup artist
Gerald Quist .... makeup lab
Peter Tothpal .... key hair stylist
Donna Turner Culver .... hair stylist (as Donna Turner)
Michael Westmore .... special makeup effects artist
Production Management
Ted Kurdyla .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jim Dyer .... first assistant director
Allan Graf .... second unit director
Cathy A. Roszell .... second second assistant director (as Cathy Roszell)
Barry K. Thomas .... second assistant director
Nelson Cabrera .... second second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Donald R. Abblett .... stand-by painter (as Don Abblett)
Peter Clemens .... assistant art director
William D. Derham .... assistant property master (as Bill Derham)
James Dupuy .... stand-by carpenter
David Elliott .... construction foreman
Ron Ervin .... carpenter
Ray Thomas Esteridge .... assistant property master
Tommy Estridge .... assistant property master
Robert Evans .... paint foreman (as Bob Evans)
T. Kevin Fisher .... construction foreman (as Kevin Fisher)
Darryl Gregory .... set carpenter
Frank Hendrick .... set dresser
Allan Johnson .... stand-by carpenter
John Kaufman .... set dresser
Richard A. Mazzochi .... property master (as Richard Mazzochi)
David McKlveen .... carpenter
Thomas A. Morris Jr. .... construction coordinator
Chris Snyder .... construction foreman
Frank Viviano .... construction coordinator
Sound Department
James Ashwill .... foley mixer
George Berndt .... adr supervisor
Carolina Beroza .... assistant sound editor
Joe Dorn .... foley editor
Ann Ducommun .... assistant sound editor
Jessica Gallavan .... sound editor (as Jessica Galavan)
Walter A. Gest .... sound re-recordist
Richard Bryce Goodman .... sound mixer
Douglas Greenfield .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Gregg Landaker .... sound re-recording mixer
James M. McCann .... boom operator
Michael Minkler .... sound re-recording mixer
John Morris .... dialogue editor
Bob Newlan .... sound editor
Robert Nichols II .... sound recordist
Mark Pappas .... assistant sound editor
Charleen Richards .... adr mixer (as Charlene Richards)
Jerry Ross .... supervising sound editor
Michael R. Sloan .... post-production sound supervisor
Frank Smathers .... sound editor
Hamilton Sterling .... sound effects editor
Hugo Weng .... sound editor
Jay Wilkinson .... sound editor
Karen G. Wilson .... sound editor (as Karen Wilson)
Special Effects by
Wayne Edgar .... special effects
Joseph P. Mercurio .... special effects supervisor (as Joseph Mercurio)
Chuck E. Stewart .... special effects (as Chuck Stewart)
John Alden .... stunts
Gregory J. Barnett .... stunts (as Greg Barnett)
Carl Ciarfalio .... stunts
Tim A. Davison .... stunts (as Tim Davison)
Cheryl Wheeler Duncan .... stunts (as Sheryl Wheeler)
Joe Finnegan .... stunts
Lynn Fogg .... stunts
Andree Gibbs .... stunts (as Andreé Gibbs)
Allan Graf .... stunt coordinator
Bob Herron .... stunts
Tracy Keehn-Dashnaw .... stunts (as Tracy Lynn Keehn)
Henry Kingi .... stunts
Bill McIntosh .... stunts
Mel Scott-Thomas .... stunts (as Mel Scott Thomas)
John Sherrod .... stunts
Glenn Stanton .... stunt performer
Webster Whinery .... stunts
Gerard G. Williams .... stunts (as Gerard Williams)
Joe Williamson .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Mike Amorelli .... lighting technician
Bill Barcroft .... grip
Lloyd Barcroft .... best boy grip
Pat Blymyer .... gaffer
Andrew Carroll .... lighting technician
Bob Fillis .... electrical best boy
Robert Fiore .... lighting technician
Antonio V. Garrido .... dolly grip (as Tony Garrido)
Lloyd Gowdy .... lighting technician
Aaron Katz .... cable manager
David Katz .... video playback operator
John R. Leonetti .... camera operator (as John Leonetti)
John J. Linder .... key grip (as John Linder)
Johnny London Jr. .... grip (as John London Jr.)
Terry H. Neville .... lighting technician (as Terry Neville)
Ron Phillips .... still photographer
Alan Shultz .... grip
David G. Todd .... generator operator
Mark Toups .... grip
Stephen J. Ullman .... second assistant camera
Michael D. Weldon .... first assistant camera (as Mike Weldon)
Animation Department
Rhonda C. Gunner .... computer animation and displays (as Rhonda Gunner)
Richard E. Hollander .... computer animation and displays (as Richard Hollander)
Gregory L. McMurry .... computer animation and displays (as Gregory L. McMurray)
John C. Wash .... computer animation and displays (as John Wash)
Casting Department
Jeff Block .... casting assistant (as Jeffrey Block)
Richard Castleman .... extras casting: New Orleans
Catherine Jane Holzer .... extras casting (as Catherine Holzer-Ballowe)
Suzanne Ryan .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Colby P. Bart .... costumer (as Colby Bart)
Brian Callahan .... costume supervisor
Jo Forman .... costumer
Editorial Department
Noori Dehnahi .... post-production coordinator
Bob Noland .... color timer
Yôko Seto .... first assistant editor
Music Department
Barbara Harris .... vocal effects
Larry Hirsch .... music recordist
Jim Keltner .... musician: drums and percussion
Jim Weidman .... music editor
Transportation Department
Steve Boyd .... transportation coordinator
Troy Flynn .... transportation
Earl R. Hurst Sr. .... transportation captain
Maxwell R. Johnson II .... transportation captain
Other crew
Kim Balser .... assistant to executive producer
Xochi Blymyer .... production assistant
Jane Bulmer .... assistant to executive producer
Rick Chavez .... craft service
David Cooley .... production assistant
Carline Davis-Dyer .... script supervisor (as Cariline Davis-Dyer)
Toni Ellis .... on-set medical advisor
Eric Fitzgerald .... title designer
Lillian Glass .... dialogue consultant (as Dr. Lillian Glass)
Kathleen Herd .... production coordinator (as Kathleen Heard)
April A. Janow .... payroll accountant (as April Janow)
Jana Karas .... first aid
Mario Kassar .... presenter
Lloyd Leipzig .... publicity coordinator
Susan Levinson .... production coordinator
Ed McCarthy .... production assistant
David Ross McCarty .... location manager (as David McCarty)
Patricia McConnell .... extras coordinator
Rick Merken .... location scout
Lenny Moecklin .... craft service
Richard Murken .... assistant location manager
Tamara Kay Nerby .... production assistant (as Tamara Nerby)
Mary L. Rand .... assistant accountant (as Mary Rand)
Nigel Rick .... assistant: Mr. Hill
Sal Rovero .... assistant: Mr. Roven
Bruce Rubinstein .... assistant: Mr. Rourke
Mildred Schluter .... first aid (as Millie Schluter)
Magic Schwarz .... trainer: Mickey Rourke
Merry Shaman .... stand-in (uncredited)
Mary Shelton .... location scout
Michael T. Sherman .... liaison: Navy (as Captain Mike Sherman USN)
Mary-Margaret Smith .... assistant: Mr. Hill
David M. Thornton .... studio manager (as David Thornton)
Allen Tinkley .... location manager
Ruth Turman .... production assistant
Andrew G. Vajna .... presenter (as Andrew Vajna)
Marichu Walker .... accounting representative
Sarah Whistler .... location scout
Lori Youmans .... production assistant
Lonnie Ramati .... production business & legal affairs (uncredited)
Sidney J. Barthelemy .... special acknowledgment (as New Orleans Mayor Sidney J. Barthelemy)
Phil Bonwell .... special acknowledgment
Henry Kawamoto .... special acknowledgment (as Dr. Henry Kawamoto)
Gary Nobiensky .... special acknowledgment
Joel Schechter .... special acknowledgment (as Dr. Joel Schechter)
Yoshio Setoguchi .... special acknowledgment (as Dr. Yoshio Setoguchi)

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
94 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Three taglines of John Godley's source "The Three Worlds of Johnny Handsome" book were: "A Novel of Suspense", "A High-Tension Suspense Stunner" and "He was an ex-con from nowhere - with a plan for a million dollar hit".See more »
Revealing mistakes: During the graveyard scene, Larry "pumps" the action on a double barreled shotgun.See more »
Vic Dumask:I don't know you, Mr. Mitchell. What can I do for you?
John 'Johnny Handsome' Sedley:A laundry service. Could be five million dollars worth.
Vic Dumask:That sounds illegal.
John 'Johnny Handsome' Sedley:[sotto voce] It is.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Action Man (2010) (V)See more »


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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
A Level-Headed Gaze at the Natural Progression of a Character, 23 May 2010
Author: jzappa from Cincinnati, OH, United States

Johnny Handsome emerges from the film noir envelope of the 1940s, out of movies with bleak streets and bitter laughter, with characters who dwell in sourpuss crash pads and regard bars as their personal salons. It is set in New Orleans, a city with a film noir essence, and it stars Mickey Rourke, who siphons himself into the role of a burnt-out down-and-outer who has as good as withdrawn himself. The only real friend he has is a father figure named Mikey, who brings Johnny in on a jewelry store job with a couple of really shady characters. They call him Johnny Handsome since his face has been miserably deformed since birth. He and John Merrick look closely related. Johnny has also trained himself to talk despite some sort of nasal or vocal obstruction by his disfigurement, resulting in a rhinal, phonetic mutter. As the movie opens he and Mikey have been double-crossed resulting in Mikey dead, Johnny the patsy, the haul in the hands of their despicable associates.

In jail, he's accorded a deal if he'll single out his co-conspirators. He declines, because it is of course gangland decree that you do not rat on your partners, and of course also because he intends to kill them when he gets back on the street. But then an intriguing thing happens to him: In jail, a caring surgeon recommends that plastic surgery could turn Johnny into a fairly attractive guy, and speech therapy could make him into an adequate contender for rehabilitation. Johnny is such a miserable and achingly sad character in such a bleak world that we are overjoyed by this ray of sunlight.

Johnny has nothing to lose, and subjects himself to the surgery which, faithful to the customs of movies like this, is no problem at all. Out on parole, he walks the straight and narrow. And he happens on a girl who loves him. However Johnny has an inner dilemma: Since the day he was born he's been walking around feeling repulsive, fearful, rejected, that he has a hard time grasping any real fortune. In fact, the choice is clear all along: He can go straight, mind his p's and q's and be content with this woman. Or he can resume with crime and see his vengeance through. As a man who's spent his entire life made to feel like a waste and a good-for-nothing, he has a choice between something that at this point he finds difficult, and something that comes very very easily. As per Rourke's usual, he adopts a challenging physical transformation that complements his emotional one.

Made during the late '80s, '90s stretch of typically unintelligent action pictures, with audiences less enterprising in a way than those of the 1940s and stars who like to maintain their hero worship or avoid any threat to their masculinity at the end, there is the expectation that Johnny will choose the path of improvement and hopefulness, not without some difficulty, naturally, but he is endowed with every emotional, practical and legal clean break to be able to do that. Nevertheless, the charm of this film, especially as an American action movie from 1989, is that it takes a level-headed gaze at the natural progression of its character. If you've been jeered into the shadows all your life, no matter how much light you suddenly get, where would you feel most at home? And what is happiness? Satisfaction, peace of mind. If you were him, what would really truly give you those things? This old film noir wine poured into a gritty, hazy new bottle is filmed with genuine flair. Matthew F. Leonetti, the cinematographer, smokes out the scrappiest alienation in the most sordid sections of New Orleans, and the Ry Cooder music is a merge with the blues and a weep. It is strange how Walter Hill's intensely dark and violent dramatic thriller is given little to no reference literature, hardly anyone has heard of it, is all in all a buried treasure. Not that many movies have the utter nostalgia, ruefulness and grit that this movie evokes throughout.

And the movie is definitely enhanced by tenacious supporting performances by a remarkably notable cast including Ellen Barkin, playing one rotten apple riding roughshod over any and everything that even comes close to boring her; Morgan Freeman in a rare role as a mean, cold man, a lone-wolf cop just waiting for Johnny to slip up; Lance Henriksen, on the other hand, breaking out of all those stoic roles to eat up the scenery as a formidably wicked character of almost comic-book proportions; and Forest Whitaker, that urgent ray of sunlight in Johnny's life, that one presence who is highly educated and highly compassionate and ennobled by his profession. And though he's largely identified with the action genres of post-classical American cinema, Hill directs with an almost maligning disinterest in Reagan-era Hollywood formality. This is a movie in the real practice of film noir, a movie where heroism is simply being able to survive, where an everyday person treats himself to the darker proclivities of his character, and destiny arrives.

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