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Johnny Handsome (1989)

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After being double crossed and thrown in jail, a deformed gangster gets a new face and rehabilitation, but his desire for revenge looms.

Director:

Walter Hill

Writers:

John Godey (novel), Ken Friedman (screenplay)
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rourke ... John 'Johnny Handsome' Sedley / Johnny Mitchell
Ellen Barkin ... Sunny Boyd
Elizabeth McGovern ... Donna McCarty
Morgan Freeman ... Lt. A.Z. Drones
Forest Whitaker ... Dr. Steven Fisher
Lance Henriksen ... Rafe Garrett
Scott Wilson ... Mikey Chalmette
David Schramm ... Vic Dumask
Yvonne Bryceland Yvonne Bryceland ... Sister Luke
Peter Jason ... Mr. Bonet
J.W. Smith J.W. Smith ... Larry
Jeffrey Meek ... Earl (as Jeff Meek)
Allan Graf ... Bob Lemoyne
Ed Zang Ed Zang ... Prestige Manager
John P. Fertitta ... Prestige Salesman (as John Fertitta)
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Storyline

Johnny Handsome is a deformed gangster who plans a successful robbery with a friend of his, Mikey Chalmette, and another couple (Sunny Boid and Rafe Garrett). During the heist, Johnny and Mikey are double-crossed by Sunny and Rafe---Mikey is killed and Johnny sent to prison. While in prison, Johnny is invited to a rehabilitation program, where Dr. Steven Fischer rebuilds Johnny's face and helps Johnny get paroled. Johnny starts working in a shipyard, where he meets Donna McCarty and starts a romance. Lt. A.Z. Drones is a skeptical detective who follows the rehabilitation of Johnny. Johnny's new life is consumed by the desire of payback. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Revenge has a new face See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 September 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Johnny Handsome - Der schöne Johnny See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,437,642, 1 October 1989

Gross USA:

$7,237,794

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,237,794
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The make-up applied to Mickey Rourke's face took three hours each day to apply. See more »

Goofs

During the graveyard scene, Larry "pumps" the action on a double barreled shotgun. See more »

Quotes

[Last lines]
Lt. A.Z. Drones: Well, Johnny. That damn doctor didn't understand this part, did he?
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"I know who you are. What you are".
9 April 2011 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

Well renowned action director Walter Hill tackles a more moody, character driven crime drama in the shape of "Johnny Handsome" and it would have to be one of his under-the-radar productions. The story follows that of a deformed criminal John who stages a heist, however there's a double-cross which sees his best friend killed and him going to prison. There he is asked to take part in a rehabilitation program, where they clear him of his deformity while also getting him parole. Hoping now that he can start a new life, however John is still burning inside for vengeance.

Presenting an ideal cast, Hill really does cast a spell over his audience with solid (even if it does feel a bit underdone) story-telling backed up by credibly good performances from leading man Mickey Rourke (within the peak of his career) and equally so support by Morgan Freeman, Ellen Barkin Lance Henrikson, Elizabeth McGovern and Forest Whitaker. Everybody chips in, adding their own stamp to proceedings and establishing gripping character rapports or confrontations (e.g. between Freeman's detective and Whitaker's doctor).

Hill's cruise-like direction is crisp and tidy, engineering some intense passages and some well-oiled, edgy action set-pieces, although they are low-key (still violent) but this really does belong to its cast and the interestingly, smart story (that was adapted off John Godey's novel "The Three Worlds of Johnny Handsome"). The ambitious plot does have a lot going on and it might not all come together, but how it does play out stays constantly interesting and rather unpleasant in its details. Rourke's character Johnny is given a chance to start over and go straight, from this physical change brings much needed confidence but the hunger inside for revenge can't simply be cured or forgotten. Someone he cared for, who saw beyond his deformity deserved payback. Johnny would deliver it. So he carefully plans out the revenge, wanting to tease before actually ending it and things get even more suspenseful when the situation starts to go off the rails. Lance Henrikson and Ellen Barkin really do nail down their explosively sly parts of the two crooks who betrayed Johnny. The ever-reliable, Hill regular Ry Cooder adds a smoking touch to the music score.

One of those films I didn't know all that much of, but came away pleasantly surprised.


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