6.3/10
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25 user 19 critic

A Prayer for the Dying (1987)

Martin, an I.R.A. hitman, is seen by a Catholic priest while carrying out a hit. He grows a bond with the priest and his niece. But his past and his former employers put all their lives in danger.

Director:

Mike Hodges

Writers:

Jack Higgins (novel), Edmund Ward (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rourke ... Martin Fallon
Bob Hoskins ... Father Michael Da Costa
Alan Bates ... Jack Meehan
Sammi Davis ... Anna
Christopher Fulford ... Billy Meehan
Liam Neeson ... Liam Docherty
Leonard Termo ... Bonati
Camille Coduri ... Jenny Fox
Maurice O'Connell Maurice O'Connell ... Superintendant Miller
Alison Doody ... Siobhan Donovan
Karl Johnson ... Fitzgerald
Ian Bartholomew Ian Bartholomew ... Kristou
Peggy Aitchison Peggy Aitchison ... Mrs. Orton
Cliff Burnett Cliff Burnett ... Fred Varley
Anthony Head ... Rupert
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Storyline

Martin Fallon is an I.R.A. bomber who tries to blow up a troop truck, but instead kills a bus load of school children. He loses heart and quits the movement and goes to London trying to leave the U.K. and start a new life. The I.R.A. wants him back (he knows too much) and the local crime boss, Meehan, will only help him if he performs one last hit, on a rival crime boss. When Fallon does perform the hit, he is seen by a Catholic priest. He refuses to kill an innocent again, and must find a way to escape the police without killing the priest who can identify him. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The movement wants his heart. The mob wants his mind. Martin Fallon wants his freedom. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 September 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Auf den Schwingen des Todes See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$881,793, 13 September 1987

Gross USA:

$1,432,687

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,432,687
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Shaw had been offered this in the mid 1970s. See more »

Quotes

Martin Fallon: There's no reason for killing or dying anymore. What's more, there's no reason for living!
Anna: That's a terrible thing to say!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits begin to roll up from behind the amusement park rides on the horizon. See more »

Alternate Versions

There's an unknown director's cut for which Mike Hodges originally had John Scott to compose the music. However the producers decided that they didn't like it and hired Bill Conti to redo the music. Also, after watching Hodges' cut, Samuel Goldwyn recut the film for American audience who wanted an action movie. Both Hodges and Mickey Rourke publically disowned the theatrical cut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Boondock Saints (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Carnival Music
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not one of Mickey's finest films
21 November 2013 | by Ed-ShullivanSee all my reviews

Already a quarter century has passed since A Prayer for the Dying was first released, and I don't think age has been kind to either Mickey's character portrayal of an IRA bomber named Martin Fallon, nor to the films story line. I believe Mickey Rourke to be a fine actor whose body of work has been solid decade by decade. He is an actor that I look forward to seeing what he plans to do next. I just don't think this particular screen play was very realistic, so first rate actors such as Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins, Liam Neeson and Alison Doody who had thought they had ordered top grade steak were served ground beef instead for the screenplay.

The movie is about Martin Fallon a cold hearted IRA bomber who hangs up his TNT after accidentally blowing up a school bus of children which was intended for another IRA target. Of course Martin Fallon is forced to come out of retirement for just one last hit which he completes for another mobster appropriately at a cemetery. Unfortunately Martin fails to see the priest Father Michael Da Costa who witnesses his assassination. The priest is played by the very versatile actor Bob Hoskins.

Yes, there was a steady stream of IRA villains planning other hits, the London Bobby's were continually chasing after the elusive IRA bomber Martin Fallon, the Irish mob wanting their own way, and the film even had a blind damsel in distress named Anna played by Sammi Davis who Martin Fallon falls in love with.

Even with all this potential, and actors of the highest caliber, the film lacked any depth of true characters or continuous suspense. Instead, I felt the movie just plodded on through out and left me half way through the film expecting little more to come of it other than a disappointing ending which was the case.

I give the film a rare 5 out of 10 only on the strength of Mickey Rourke and Bob Hoskins, otherwise my rating would have been even lower.


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