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Road to Perdition (2002)

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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 »
797 ( 605)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 75 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

Plot Keywords:

1930s | on the run | blood | gun | revenge | See All (148) »


Every father is a hero to his son. 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)


$104,054,514 (USA) (25 October 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The scene where John Rooney (Paul Newman) and Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) are playing the piano together, was originally supposed to be an Irish dance sequence shared between the two of them. See more »


In that era, gentlemen removed their hats indoors, particularly in places like diners. Even not-so gentlemen. To not do so would have attracted attention. 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.
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Crazy Credits

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


References The Lone Ranger (1938) See more »


Everybody Loves My Baby
Music by Spencer Williams
Lyrics by Jack Palmer
Performed by Sharkey Bonano
Courtesy of Timeless Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A subtle masterwork of a great forthcoming director!
9 September 2002 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

This couldn't have been better. The strong restraints on Mike Sullivan's expressions couldn't have been portrayed in any other way. Tom Hanks delivers the best performance of his career. Young Tyler Hoechlin drives an emotional wheel; playing the basis character for the story. And veteran Paul Newman gives one of his best character performances in a long time.

This film is based on a bold graphic novel by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner. This is a father/son story which basically employs the two candidates solely unfit for the roles. Mike Sullivan had no father as a child, so John Rooney took him in. Although a generous man, Mr. Rooney involved himself in organized crime. Therefore, the debt of Sullivan was only to be paid off in involving himself in the business. Now, Sullivan has a wife and two children and is trying to keep his children safe, but at the same time pay back his boss. The events to follow, will test Sullivan's loyalty and embrace his family's fate.

With a great adaptation by David Self, the dialogue comes out seldomly, but yet very virtuous. The story unfolds in a beautiful 1930's setting (Brilliant Art Direction by Richard L. Johnson & Nancy Haigh) covered with a dark rainy (snow on the ground) exterior. Driving the story, is Thomas Newman's wonderful Irish score, settling in only when necessary.

But the most important technical element in the film is Conrad L. Hall's beautiful photography. This is some of the best cinematography I've seen; and I watch a lot of films. The scene when Mike and Michael are in the car, entering Chicago is quite impressive. The shot starts at the front of the car, revealing Mike(Hanks) through the windshield. It subsequently dollys around to the side of the car, to see Michael(Hoechlin) awakening and peering out his side window. As it continues, it trucks sideways and dollys back, completely around the car and reveals a gorgeous scenic 1930's Chicago.

With a great cast and crew, the principle man creates a brazenly amazing film. I'm talking about Sam Mendes, who made his feature film debut in 1999 with American Beauty. (won him various awards) Before American Beauty, Mendes worked as a play director for the British Theater, but decided that he wanted to move on saying that there was nothing new for him in theater. With only two films, Sam Mendes has marked himself in my book as one of the great directors (In a list of about twenty-five).

The film illuminates a brazen genre that has its hits and misses and expresses the true theme brilliantly. The photography, acting and story is phenominal. I'm still waiting for Scorcesee's Gangs of New York, but for now, I'm fully confident in saying that this is the "Best Film of the Year". Considering it's competition (Signs, Insomnia, Minority Report) thats a strong statement.

119 of 145 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Your problems with this film. Seriously. clearAlex
How did Michael Sullivan Sr. Know? januaryjoy_83
Why cast Tom Hanks for this role? gordml
Musical score... hugely underratead? slapnutz777
Great movie, but that shootout scene..... dsh1998
Great movie with some serious flaws r-smith-92
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