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Miller's Crossing (1990)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  5 October 1990 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 93,308 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 283 user | 123 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties.

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, (uncredited)
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Title: Miller's Crossing (1990)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Leo
...
Al Mancini ...
Richard Woods ...
Thomas Toner ...
...
Mario Todisco ...
Clarence "Drop" Johnson
...
Tad
...
Lanny Flaherty ...
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Storyline

A highly styled 'genre' film which can perhaps be seen as a pastiche of all gangster movies. Tom Reagan is the laconic anti-hero of this amoral tale which is also, paradoxically, a look at morals within the criminal underworld of the 1930s. Two rival gangs vie for control of a city where the police are pawns, and the periodic busts of illicit drinking establishments are no more than a way for one gang to get back at the other. Black humour and shocking violence compete for screen time as we question whether or not Tom, right-hand man of the Irish mob leader, really has a heart. Written by <morry@argonet.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You can dangle. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

5 October 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De paseo a la muerte  »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$5,080,409 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character Eddie Dane was originally written for Peter Stormare and was to be named The Swede. Stormare had to decline as he was appearing as Hamlet in the Broadway production. The part was then re-written and re-cast, and became The Dane. See more »

Goofs

When Tom throws the glass at the mirror in the woman's washroom, the cracks in the glass change between shots. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Dane: Where's Leo?
Hitman at Verna's: If I tell you, how do I know you won't kill me?
Eddie Dane: Because if you told me and I killed you and you were lying I wouldn't get to kill you *then*. Where's Leo?
Hitman at Verna's: He's moving around. He's getting his mob together tomorrow night. Whisky Nick's.
Eddie Dane: You sure?
Hitman at Verna's: Check it. It's gold.
Eddie Dane: You know what, yegg? I believe you.
[Shoots him]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in No Country for Old Men (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Danny Boy
Music by Rory Dall O'Cahan (uncredited)
Lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly (uncredited)
Sung by Frank Patterson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The Intellectual's Gangster Film
24 May 2003 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"I'm talkin' about friendship. I'm talkin' about character. I'm talkin' about--hell Leo, I ain't embarrassed to use the word--ethics." So Jon Polito, as crime-boss Johnny "Caspar," describes to his overlord, Albert Finney as "Leo," his point of view while seeking permission to kill a double-crossing underling (played by John Turturro) in the opening lines of __Miller's Crossing__. Had the script sought only to explore the power relationship between the two chief mobsters (one the rising Italian, the other the diminishing Irishman), this would have been a very good gangster film. It portrays an earlier era in the nation's history of organized crime (perhaps Chicago in the late '20s), and one can imagine Leo as the Irish predecessor of __The Godfather__'s Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando).

Just as __The Godfather__ was really about family relationships and the ethical complexities arising when familial loyalty collides with the business of violence, however, __Miller's Crossing__ is actually about, as Caspar tells us, friendship and character put under the enormous strain of that same business of violence. The film, therefore, centers on Leo's trusted adviser Tom (played flawlessly by the Irish actor Gabriel Byrne). Tom is not a gunsel, but the brain behind Leo's muscle. His decisions carry life and death consequences, however, and we watch him try to live with himself, to preserve his character, as he works out a code that will help him and his friends survive brutally violent upheavals. Critics of the film have cited its graphic cruelty and the seeming coldness of its characters, yet these are essential features in developing the film's theme.

Sentimentality might get any of the major characters killed, and one notes the pathos and dark humor that underline an ironic distance that each character, especially Tom, cultivates as a tool for survival.

Clues abound as we wonder what Tom will do next. Follow, for example, the men's hats over the course of the film. Who "keeps his lid on," so to speak, and who loses his? Note the number of times characters exclaim "Jesus!" or "Damn!" when saying the name "Tom." What has he sacrificed? Has he damned himself?

Spectacular action sequences, beautiful production values, top-notch camera work by Barry Sonnenfeld, a haunting musical score, and the best dialogue ever written by the Coen brothers make this a great gangster film. The fascinating and complex theme of friendship, character, and ethics make it one of the great films from any genre.


168 of 204 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Tarantino's films are great - but he should take notes on this film. scottishjimmy
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Tom's discussion with Bernie over the phone EyeInSky
The significance of the hat triviadude
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