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Road to Perdition (2002)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  12 July 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 188,361 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 1,001 user | 220 critic | 36 from

Bonds of loyalty are put to the test when a hitman's son witnesses what his father does for a living.



(graphic novel), (graphic novel), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 25 wins & 62 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rob Maxey ...
Craig Spidle ...
Rooney's Henchman
Ian Barford ...
Rooney's Henchman
Stephen P. Dunn ...
Finn McGovern's Henchman (as Stephen Dunn)
Paul Turner ...
Finn McGovern's Henchman
Kathleen Keane ...
Irish Musician
Brendan McKinney ...
Irish Musician
Jackie Moran ...
Irish Musician


1931. Mike Sullivan and Connor Rooney are two henchmen of elderly Chicago-based Irish-American mobster John Rooney, Connor's father. In many respects, John treats Mike more as his son, who he raised as his own after Mike was orphaned, than the volatile Connor, who nonetheless sees himself as the heir apparent to the family business. One evening, Mike's eldest son, twelve year old Michael Sullivan Jr., who has no idea what his father does for a living, witnesses Connor and his father gun down an associate and his men, the situation gone wrong initiated from an action by Connor. Caught witnessing the incident, Michael is sworn to secrecy about what he saw. Regardless, Connor, not wanting any loose ends, makes an attempt to kill Mike, his wife and their two sons. Mike and the surviving members of his family know that they need to go on the run as Connor, who has gone into hiding, will be protected through mob loyalty, especially by John, who cannot turn on his own flesh and blood. Still,... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Pray for Michael Sullivan See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 July 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Camino a la perdición  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$22,079,481 (USA) (12 July 2002)


$40,935,560 (Europe) (10 January 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits. See more »


(at around 30 mins) Parts of the American flag are visible in Michael Jr.'s school. From the spacing of the visible stars, the flag clearly has 50 stars, not the 48 it would have had in the 1930s. See more »


[first lines]
Michael Sullivan, Jr.: There are many stories about Michael Sullivan. Some say he was a decent man. Some say there was no good in him at all. But I once spent 6 weeks on the road with him, in the winter of 1931. This is our story.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to all at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, London See more »


Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »


Old Torn Petticoat
Performed by the "Irish Musicians" (John M. Williams, Kathleen Keane, Brendan McKinney,
Jackie Moran and Kieran O'Hare)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Rolls-Royce Movie
13 July 2002 | by (Albany, NY) – See all my reviews

I f you thought Sam Mendes' first film, the much heralded American BEAUTY was a movie with style to spare, wait until you see his highly anticipated second effort, the unrelentingly grim 30's gangster melodrama ROAD TO PERDITION. Some critics have hailed this new movie as a worthy successor to THE GODFATHER, a rash judgment made by several reviewers taken with Mr. Mendes' extraordinary technical prowess. If the mechanics of movie making are what make a picture great, then yes, ROAD TO PERDITION is a distant cousin to THE GODFATHER in terms of what it achieves in cinematography, editing, music scoring and sound. What it doesn't have is a resonance that all great stories and some very rare movies have that stay with the viewer long after the experience of reading or seeing it is over. As with American BEAUTY, there is a cold, distancing feel to this movie, despite some very tense scenes involving paternal love, loyalty and betrayal.

This story of a hit man (Tom Hanks) and his relationship to a surrogate father - figure who is also his boss, an elderly Irish mob leader (Paul Newman) , seems to have been culled from innumerable gangster movies of years past. The father /son motif that hangs over this picture is so heavy handed in its treatment that there is not much room for spontaneity ; the entire enterprise has been very carefully wrought , and nearly all the dialog is delivered with an air of great portent : this is obviously a gangster film , hence the requisite amount of violence and bloodshed , but the film is nearly devoid of any humor to speak of ; only in scenes involving a young boy driving a getaway car in a cunningly edited montage is there any sense of lightheartedness to leaven the pervasive sense of doom.

That being said , I have nothing but the highest praise for the stunning look of this film ; indeed , it is not an overstatement to say that this is one of the most beautifully photographed and designed movies I have ever seen. Veteran cameraman Conrad Hall will very likely win another Oscar for his work here . The production 's sets and costumes are just as exemplary ; in fact , the entire film is a technical marvel. Mr. Mendes continues to astonish with his vivid use of color, and he and Mr. Hall again make very dramatic use of red blood splattered against pale colored walls , all the more effective and disconcerting due to the preponderance of blacks, blues and grays that dominate the movie's color scheme.

If I have failed to duly note the acting , it is not because the actors do not purport themselves ably ; everyone in the film is top notch, with special mention going to the two malevolent bad guys : Daniel Craig is the classic "man you love to hate", the spoiled, impulsive son of Newman's gangster father ; and an almost unrecognizable Jude Law as an especially slimy miscreant who goes on pursuit of Hanks and his son and figures very importantly in the film's riveting second half. But acting in a movie this dazzling is bound to take a back seat to the photographic fireworks on display here. If a Rolls-Royce was a movie , I've no doubt it would look like ROAD TO PERDITION.

93 of 121 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Your problems with this film. Seriously. clearAlex
Why cast Tom Hanks for this role? gordml
Great movie, but that shootout scene..... dsh1998
Musical score... hugely underratead? slapnutz777
One one the most underrated movies..... liljayl23
why wasn't the photographer called off, since it all ended? AbdulRahman789
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