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Dead Presidents (1995)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  6 October 1995 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 14,461 users  
Reviews: 82 user | 28 critic

A Vietnam vet adjusts to life after the war while trying to support his family, but the chance of a better life may involve crime and bloodshed.


(as The Hughes Brothers) , (as The Hughes Brothers)


(story), (story), 3 more credits »
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2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alvaleta Guess ...
Mrs. Benson
Mr. Curtis
Cowboy (as Terrence Dashon Howard)
Ryan Williams ...
Young Revolutionary
Larry McCoy ...
Rodney Winfield ...
Mr. Warren


This action film, directed by the Hughes brothers, depicts a heist of old bills, retired from circulation and destined by the government to be "money to burn." However, more broadly, it addresses the issues of Black Americans' involvement in the Vietnam War and their subsequent disillusionment with progress in social issues and civil rights back home in the United States, during the 1960's. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They'll risk everything for the ultimate score. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic violence, language, a sex scene and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 October 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alta Jogada  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)


$24,200,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The word "fuck" and its variants are spoken 247 times. See more »


Cowboy and Anthony are shooting pool. Cowboy leans over the table to shoot and the 2-ball is clearly sitting in front of the side pocket. After Cowboy misses his shot, the view widens and the 2-ball is seen rolling to the middle of the table. See more »


Skip: My great great great granddaddy was a pimp and a slave. He would have his hoes out in the field picking his cotton for him, he didn't have to do a goddamn thing!
See more »


References Taxi Driver (1976) See more »


I Got The Feelin'
Written and Performed by James Brown
Courtesy of Polydor Records
By Arrangement With Polygram Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An abridged, urbanized version of "The Deer Hunter"
26 January 2003 | by (Iowa) – See all my reviews

The Hughes Brothers tried to play up the same angle with "Dead Presidents" as Micheal Cimino and Louis Garfinkle did with "The Deer Hunter" by portraying the social effects that the Vietnam war had on its young veterans. And for a while, it seemed as though they were quite successful. But in the end, it became apparent why "The Dead Presidents" fell short of the Academy recognition that "The Deer Hunter" won.

Set in the late 60s and early 70s, the plotline of "Dead Presidents" follows a promising and popular inner-city high school graduate, Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate), who decides to forego college and enter the Vietnam War as a member of the Marine Corps. Anthony survives a graphic and arduous three-plus-year stint in the jungle, but upon his homecoming, he realizes that the "real world" can be just as trying as war. His low-paying job provides little support for his new family and he becomes desperate to make ends meet. He enlists the help of some old friends and plans a daring armored car heist which, if successful, could serve to amend his past and brighten his future...

The first seventy-five minutes of this movie were really well done. Character traits and relationships were well-established and the mood was properly set as suspense built for the anticipated war scenes--a perfect "epic-caliber" introduction.

But instead of continuing with a detailed flow, the directing crew tried to cram about ninety minutes worth of material into the final forty-five minutes, and consequently did not leave themselves enough time to totally develop any strong climactic progression or aptly characterize any of the cast members into their sudden postwar "criminal complex." Thus, the "heist scene," which based on advertising was probably supposed to be one of the more memorable and authoritative parts of the film, seemed to be almost too "spur-of-the-moment" and lacked motivation and definition.

All in all, the film's running time, which was approximately 119 minutes, was simply far too short for the storyline. The postwar segment of the film (the last forty-five minutes) was indeed key in separating a decent movie like "Dead Presidents" from a epic masterpiece like "The Deer Hunter."

Besides the first seventy-five minutes, a couple of notably good performances given by Chris Tucker as Skip (Anthony's best friend) and Rose Jackson as Juanita (Anthony's girlfriend) do make "Dead Presidents" a movie worth seeing at least once. That said, I would warn not to create a preconception based on the title, tagline or any publicity images that you might have seen, because they apply only to a small portion of the action.

38 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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