Heaven's Prisoners (1996)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  17 May 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 4,189 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 29 critic

A hardened New Orleans cop, Dave Robicheaux, finally tosses in the badge and settles into life on the bayou with his wife. But a bizarre plane crash draws him back into the fray when his family is viciously threatened.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bubba Rocque
Minos P. Dautrieve (as Vondie Curtis Hall)
Badja Djola ...
Samantha Lagpacan ...
Didi Giancano
Jerry Falgout
Eddie Keats
Carl A. McGee ...
Det. Magelli
Priest (as Chris Krisea)


Ex-detective Dave Robicheaux has made a new life for himself and his wife Annie running a bait shop in the outskirts of New Orleans. When they save a little girl, the sole survivor of a plane crash, their lives become forever changed. They take the orphan child into their home and prepare to raise her. However, a visit from DEA agent Dautrieve brings out the detective instincts in Robicheaux and he begins to ask about the rest of the passengers. This brings trouble to Robicheaux and he turns to drug lord Bubba Rocque, a childhood friend. But the friendship becomes estranged when an assault on the Robicheaux home leaves one victim...Annie. Written by P. Wong <pwong@nt.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


For an ex-cop obsessed with an unsolved murder, trusting the wrong woman could be a deadly choice.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language, and for some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 May 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mississippi Delta  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)


AUD 170,610 (Australia) (1 November 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alec Baldwin was hoping to return to the Dave Robicheaux character in a follow up to be called "Dixie City Jam", but this film's failure at the box-office led to the sequel being scrapped. See more »


When Dave goes to see Bubba at his house for the first time his shirt switches back and forth from soaking wet to dry. See more »


Jerry Falgout: Don't you remember me?
Dave Robicheaux: It's Jerry somethin'-or-other, right? You went up the road 'bout five years ago for bashin' in some tired, wizened, broken-down old man with a lead pipe, ain't that right, Jerry? How was Angola, brother?
Jerry Falgout: Can I buy you a drink, Lieutenant? As I recall, you used to get kinda thirsty 'bout this time of day.
Dave Robicheaux: Hey, you're gettin' in my face, partner.
Jerry Falgout: So?
Dave Robicheaux: So right about now I'm thinkin' your head'd make a real nice toilet brush.
See more »


Referenced in Showbiz Today: Episode dated 14 May 1996 (1996) See more »


Twenty Ton Weight
Performed by The Hoax
Written by The Hoax
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By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

Baldwin Could've Been Hard-Boiled But Ends Up Soggy
11 July 2005 | by (Whitehall, PA) – See all my reviews

I remember going to great lengths to fit a matinée showing of HEAVEN'S PRISONERS into a busy Saturday afternoon during its 1996 theatrical release. Considering the source material and the talent behind and in front of the camera, our little filmgoing party of detective-film fans and Alec Baldwin groupies (a.k.a. my mom, my stepfather, and me) found this contemporary film noir to be a big disappointment. Baldwin, who also served as co-producer, brought James Lee Burke's New Orleans ex-cop/recovering alcoholic hero Dave Robichoux from the printed page to the big screen. While Baldwin and the rest of the cast did well in fleshing out Burke's characters and have some tangy tough-guy/gal dialogue, they're hampered by two things: 1.) The film's slo-o-o-ow pacing. Maybe the Louisiana heat got to everyone, not just Baldwin. Of all the actors, Long Island native Baldwin sweats the most, so much that it began to remind me of the sweating-bullets gags with Albert Brooks in BROADCAST NEWS and Robert Hays in AIRPLANE! 2.) A plot that, as rendered in the film (whether it's the fault of the screenwriter or the editor, I can't be sure), never quite follows through on any of its elements. It's too bad, because these elements could've made for an exciting movie: drug dealing, illegal alien smuggling, rival crime bosses (one is played colorfully by Eric Roberts before he became a parody of himself, essentially playing a Southern-fried version of his character from director Phil Joanou's 1992 thriller FINAL ANALYSIS), an adorable little Salvadoran orphan girl (named "Alafair" by the Robichouxs, after Dave's mom. Late in my pregnancy at the time, I liked the name Alafair so much, I nearly changed my mind about naming my then-unborn daughter Siobhan!), and a bevy of beautiful, beguiling women, including earth mother Kelly Lynch, vampy Teri Hatcher in a full-frontal nude scene that was much ballyhooed at the time, and Mary Stuart Masterson, looking like a young Jessica Lange in what was then a change-of-pace role for her: a troubled stripper who loves Robichoux. Despite the sexy promises in the movie's ads, none of the ladies share anything with Baldwin but dialogue and some kisses and/or embraces. Maybe the climate was already so hot, the filmmakers didn't want to add any further steaminess for fear of poor Baldwin collapsing from heat prostration! As my mom put it at the time: "I thought the height of my day would be seeing sexy, dashing Alec Baldwin, but he came up sweaty, rumpled, tired, depressed, and moving as if he was in slow motion. If he'd made love as many times as he got beaten up, it would've been the sexiest picture of '96!" To be fair, there *are* a number of strong characterization and action scenes, but there's just too darn much talky, molasses-paced lag time between them -- and yet, oddly, some of the scenes end abruptly just as they're about to become intriguing! Perhaps Joanou, Baldwin & Co. could've dredged a tighter, more involving thriller out of this if they'd whittled the 140-minute running time down to 105 minutes or so. As HEAVEN'S PRISONERS is now...well, read James Lee Burke's books instead.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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