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A Most Violent Year (2014)

 -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  30 January 2015 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 9,693 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 90 user | 230 critic | 44 from

In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city's history.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Forente
Bill O'Leary
Louis Servidio
John Procaccino ...
Arthur Lewis
Arnold Klein
Lorraine Lefkowitz
John Dominczyk


A crime drama set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically one of the most violent years in the city's history, and centered on the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built. Written by Production

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The result is never in question, just the path you take to get there.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

30 January 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jc3  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$188,000 (USA) (2 January 2015)


$5,545,256 (USA) (27 February 2015)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The name of protagonist Abel Morales is a play on the words "Able" and "Morals", the central themes of this film. See more »


In the chase scene that goes onto the subway platform, as Morales jumps onto the subway, you can hear the "doors closing" warning chime in the background, but the subway cars that are in the scene never had the audible warnings. The only indication of the doors closing on the older cars was the conductor announcing, "watch the closing doors". See more »


Anna Morales: This is one probably you're gonna regret.
Lawrence: Excuse me?
Anna Morales: My husband's an honorable man. We are not who you think we are.
Lawrence: I think I knew your father.
Anna Morales: Good for you.
Anna Morales: My husband is not my father. Not even close. So if I were you, I would start treating us with a little more respect or I guarantee he will make it his mission in life to ruin you.
[Lawrence turns his head and grins sarcastically]
Anna Morales: This was very disrespectful.
See more »


Featured in Film 2015: Episode #44.2 (2015) See more »


Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
Written by Marvin Gaye and James Nyx
Performed by Marvin Gaye
Courtesy of Motown Records
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

Sympathy for the Devil
28 January 2015 | by (Weymouth, UK) – See all my reviews

J. C. Chandor's, A Most Violent Year, is the second of two films released in the past week, the first being Ex Machina, that include Star Wars -bound Oscar Isaac, who is slowly becoming one of my favourite actors. I first noticed Isaac when watching Inside Llewyn Davis, yet after looking at his back catalogue, it's surprising to see the wide range of films he has been a part of, such as Drive and two Ridley Scott efforts; Robin Hood and Body of Lies respectively, all of which are pretty fab, particularly, Drive. Similarly, Jessica Chastain also seems to be in films that particularly appeal to me, such as Zero Dark Thirty, and most recently, Interstellar, yet the third cog in this particular wheel, director J, C. Chandor, hasn't won me over, yet, with his last effort, All Is Lost, not enthralling me in the slightest. Still, two out of three ain't bad.

The film is set during the latter stages of 1981 New York, a time in which, statistically, crime rates reached an all time high, particularly those consisting of a rather violent ilk, and tells the story of Abel Morales, who attempts to expand his business by purchasing a new, and valuable, piece of land. In the background however, his oil trucks are repeatedly being stolen and sold on, whilst the DA, played by Selma's, David Oyelwo, is running an investigation into potential illegal activity within his empire. Within my review for Ex Machina, I stated Isaac's performance was, "top notch," and the same can be said for his performance in this film, with his portrayal of a character, who, although the title suggests otherwise, attempts to stay within the boundaries of the law despite all of the ongoing threats to him and his business, being simply brilliant.

Adding to this brilliance, is Jessica Chastain, who plays the role of Anna Morales superbly, and who, in contrast to her husband, is no stranger to violence thanks to her father's gangster background. The chemistry between the two leads is explosive, and helps develop the way in which each character changes throughout the course of the movie, particularly Abel, who transforms from an almost reluctant hero into a no-nonsense hard-man. These strong performances help keep the film going, particularly when it is at its' weakest, with the rather shallow plot taking a while to kick in, and just slightly stretching its' two-hour run-time.

Overall, A Most Violent Year, is J. C. Chandor's best film to date, helped particularly by two terrific performances from Isaac and Chastain. Although its' rather simple plot is stretched into the film's run-time, the film is an entertaining and gripping crime drama that can stand strong next to other films in the same genre.

Overall Score: 8/10

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Never trusting imdb ratings again Cyta77
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This might be an Oscar favourite this year... ericvvv
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