6.8/10
56,132
383 user 166 critic

Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

Haunted by the patients he failed to save, an extremely burned-out Manhattan ambulance paramedic fights to maintain his sanity over three fraught and turbulent nights.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)

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2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Nurse Constance
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Nurse Crupp
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Kanita
Cynthia Roman ...
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Cullen O. Johnson ...
Mr. Burke (as Cullen Oliver Johnson)
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Captain Barney (as Arthur Nascarella)
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Storyline

An Easter story. Frank is a Manhattan medic, working graveyard in a two-man ambulance team. He's burned out, exhausted, seeing ghosts, especially a young woman he failed to save six months' before, and no longer able to save people: he brings in the dead. We follow him for three nights, each with a different partner: Larry, who thinks about dinner, Marcus, who looks to Jesus, and Tom, who wallops people when work is slow. Frank befriends the daughter of a heart victim he brings in; she's Mary, an ex-junkie, angry at her father but now hoping he'll live. Frank tries to get fired, tries to quit, and keeps coming back, to work and to Mary, in need of his own rebirth. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From the Director of Taxi Driver See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for gritty violent content, drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vidas al límite  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,193,052, 24 October 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$16,640,210, 9 January 2000
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nicolas Cage and Patricia Arquette were husband and wife at the time of filming. They would divorce two years later. See more »

Goofs

In Mary's apartment, the shadow of the boom mic is visible on the wall. See more »

Quotes

Frank Pierce: Oh, I see. With all the poor people of this city who wanted only to live and were viciously murdered, you have the nerve to sit here, wanting to die, and not go through with it? You make me sick!
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Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: To Catch a Yeti (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Hasta Ayer
Written by Manny Delgado
Performed by Marc Anthony
Courtesy of RMM Records
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User Reviews

 
probably one of Scorsese's best
13 August 2003 | by See all my reviews

This film is grossly underappreciated. This represents director Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader at their best. They gave us classics like TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL, and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, but they've outdone themselves here. Yeah, it's a masterpiece, but one that's not easily accessible.

Nicholas Cage plays Frank an ambulance driver who hasn't saved anyone in months, a man who is feeling guilty and about to break under the weight of the suffering and sorrow he sees in New York City. Scorsese, always working with religious sensibilities, turns this film into a three day descent into the underworld, with Frank being raised to life on the third day, just like Jesus was.

No story to speak of, but then that's the point--the lives of ambulance drivers are largely plotless. It's got the same strengths as other Scorsese classics--visually stunning, uncompromising in its portrayal of the darker side of human nature, and a dead-on portrayal of people at their most desperate. Add to that an almost dreamlike quality that makes the streets of New York look like some metropolitan hell. The thing that sets this film apart, however, is a genuine compassion for its characters. Scorsese's an excellent filmmaker, but he could sometimes be accused of portraying his characters a little coldly. This film is all heart, all the way through. This is the Scorsese of TAXI DRIVER and MEAN STREETS, the Scorsese who takes chances on projects that really mean something, the Scorsese that was missing in GANGS OF NEW YORK.


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