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Little Odessa (1994)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  19 May 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 5,395 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 29 critic

This film tells a bitter tale of a dysfunctional family. Joshua, a cold-blooded professional killer, returns to his Brighton Beach boyhood home for a "job." He knows it will be difficult to... See full summary »



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4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alla Shustervich
Irina Shapira
Boris Volkoff
Natalya Andreychenko ...
Mina Bern ...
Grandma Tsilya
Mohammed Ghaffari ...
Dmitry Preyers ...
David Ross ...
Ron Brice ...
Man with One Leg


This film tells a bitter tale of a dysfunctional family. Joshua, a cold-blooded professional killer, returns to his Brighton Beach boyhood home for a "job." He knows it will be difficult to return to the Russian-immigrant community of his youth--in his eyes, we see anticipation of the inevitable emotional pain and psychic turmoil that seeing his forsaken family and estranged companions will bring him. To do his job, and try to maintain some semblence of sanity, he has had to wall off his humanity from even himself. Seeing his kid brother, who adores him, talking with his dying mother, who still loves him, and yes, arguing with his abusive father, begins to wreak havoc with his personal defenses. As his steely demeanor begins to dissolve, we are shown the soul of a hit-man crumbling away, piece by piece. Finally, all that he now allows himself to admit that he loves is agonizingly torn away from him and he is left with the ultimate punishment for his transgressions. Written by Tad Dibbern <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Between good and evil and heaven and hell is... See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong shootings, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

19 May 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Contract Killer  »

Box Office


$2,300,000 (estimated)


$1,095,885 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The building used for Mr Schell's mistress was 9701 Shore Road, also used in Saturday Night Fever (1977). See more »


In the scenes where Mr. Schell is supposedly speaking Russian, his language is unintelligible beyond the simplest words. See more »


[first lines]
Joshua Shapira: It's done.
See more »


Features Vengeance Valley (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

A superior drama, and a stunning debut for director James Gray.
7 July 2000 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This is without a doubt the best debut by a filmmaker in the last decade. James Gray has directed with a sure hand, exerting amazing control over a wide variety of performers and flawlessly maintaining a haunting and menacing mood in his tale of crime and punishment among Russian immigrants in Brooklyn. Vanessa Redgrave is superb, as usual, and Maxmillian Schell has been kept from the unrestrained emotionalism to which he is prone (see JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG), so that he gives one of his very best performances in years. As for Edward Furlong and Tim Roth, both of whom can be very good or very bad, lets just say they haven't been this good before or since. Gray's command over such aspects of the film as pacing and visual style is impressive. The whole thing builds to a stunning climax.

17 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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