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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 »
775 ( 22)
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) »


The innocence of a son is surpassed only by the father's will to save it. 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 piano piece that Paul Newman and Tom Hanks play at the opening funeral was actually performed by the two actors (after much practice). See more »


(at around 10 mins) When Mr. Rooney speaks to the crowd at the wake, he initially stands on a chair. In the next shot, he stands beside the chair, which is sideways to the crowd. In the next shot, the chair is facing the crowd. 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 »


References The Lone Ranger (1938) See more »


Whose Honey Are You?
Music by J. Fred Coots (as Fred J. Coots)
Lyrics by Haven Gillespie
Performed by Ruth Etting
Courtesy of Take Two Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

`Road to Perdition' is a rocky road of revenge and reconciliation, punctuated by some gorgeous Conrad Hall cinematography.
9 July 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

`Road to Perdition' is a rocky road of revenge and reconciliation, punctuated by some gorgeous Conrad Hall cinematography. Tom Hanks is a 1930's mob hit man whose 12 year-old son sees him commit a murder. The rest of Director Sam Mendes' (`American Beauty') film is the boy's coming to terms with that knowledge. Paul Newman plays a `godfather,' a father to his errant son and like a father to Hanks.

Laced throughout are 3 father-son relationships, which seem to move toward the violent ends reserved for mobsters. Hanks' son is ambivalent about his dad, whom he seems to adore yet hold accountable for his crimes. Newman's son is like Sonny Corleone, too loose to be in charge and no heir apparent; Hanks owes his lifestyle to Newman-all these relationships are subsumed by the business needs of the larger organization.

This is noir with a dark palette, costuming in clothes metaphorically heavy, and sounding often as stylized and minimal as the murders Hanks commits. `Road to Perdition' lacks the grandeur of Coppola's `Godfather' epic, but it succeeds in evoking an old-testament judicial system where eye meets eye and tooth savages tooth. The revenge motif is too dominant to let the film rest on the promising father-son motif.

Hanks' son learns about morality and decides about following in his father's footsteps. Hanks gives another controlled performance, and Paul Newman lets us know there is room for one more powerful screen godfather.

46 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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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