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Dead Presidents (1995)

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.

Directors:

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

Writers:

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

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

In this daring heist, the only color that counts is green 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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 October 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alta Jogada  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$24,200,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film features five actors from Menace II Society (1993), the first feature film by the Hughes brothers. They are: Larenz Tate, Clifton Powell, James Pickens Jr., Ryan Williams and Clifton Collins Jr. Like Menace II Society, Dead Presidents credits Collins Jr. as "Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez." See more »

Goofs

When Cutty stands over Anthony and holds a pistol to his head, the hammer isn't cocked. Cutty had just drawn the semi-automatic pistol from beneath his jacket and racked the slide on his way down the stairs to confront Anthony, so the pistol's hammer should have been cocked at this point. See more »

Quotes

[Cleon blasts a Viet Cong in the head, killing him]
Cleon: Now you're good, now Jesus loves you.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Half Baked (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Never Gonna Give You Up
Written by Kenny Gamble (as Kenneth Gamble), Leon Huff & Jerry Butler
Performed by Jerry Butler
Courtesy of Mercury 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.


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