7.7/10
124,349
347 user 152 critic

Miller's Crossing (1990)

Trailer
2:44 | Trailer
Tom Reagan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties.

Directors:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)

Writers:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Reviews
Popularity
2,404 ( 984)
4 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gabriel Byrne ... Tom Reagan
Marcia Gay Harden ... Verna
John Turturro ... Bernie Bernbaum
Jon Polito ... Johnny Caspar
J.E. Freeman ... Eddie Dane
Albert Finney ... Leo
Mike Starr ... Frankie
Al Mancini ... Tic-Tac
Richard Woods Richard Woods ... Mayor Dale Levander
Tom Toner ... O'Doole (as Thomas Toner)
Steve Buscemi ... Mink
Mario Todisco Mario Todisco ... Clarence "Drop" Johnson
Olek Krupa ... Tad
Michael Jeter ... Adolph
Lanny Flaherty ... Terry
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Storyline

Tom Reagan (played by Gabriel Byrne) is the right-hand man, and chief adviser, to a mob boss, Leo (Albert Finney). Trouble is brewing between Leo and another mob boss, Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito), over the activities of a bookie, Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro) and Leo and Tom are at odds on how to deal with it. Meanwhile, Tom is in a secret relationship with Leo's girlfriend, Verna (Marcia Gay Harden), who happens to be the sister of Bernie. In trying to resolve the issue, Tom is cast out from Leo's camp and ultimately finds himself stuck in the middle between several deadly, unforgiving parties. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Up is down, black is white, and nothing is what it seems. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld told the Coen brothers that the forest scenes should be shot during overcast days only. The brothers did not want to delay the filming based on the weather, but as luck would have it, on all but one of the scheduled days, it was overcast anyway. Sonnenfeld further muted the colors by using Fuji film instead of Kodak for the forest scenes. In one scene, when the Dane, Tom, Frankie and Tic-Tac are in the woods at Miller's Crossing, some sunlight can be seen faintly and out of focus in the background. See more »

Goofs

Tom's whiskey glass on Leo's desk disappears after he confesses to Leo. See more »

Quotes

Tom Reagan: I am awake.
Tad: Your eyes are shut.
Tom Reagan: Who you gonna believe?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits list production companies, the title, and the main cast. The crew is not listed until the ending credits, starting with a director credit. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Movies: The Nineties (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Goodnight, Sweetheart
Sung by Frank Patterson
Written by Rudy Vallee, Ray Noble, Jimmy Campbell (as James Campbell) and Reginald Connelly (as Reg Connelly)
Courtesy of EMI Feist Catalogue, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

 
The Intellectual's Gangster Film
24 May 2003 | by ams13See all my reviews

"I'm talkin' about friendship. I'm talkin' about character. I'm talkin' about--hell Leo, I ain't embarrassed to use the word--ethics." So Jon Polito, as crime-boss Johnny "Caspar," describes to his overlord, Albert Finney as "Leo," his point of view while seeking permission to kill a double-crossing underling (played by John Turturro) in the opening lines of __Miller's Crossing__. Had the script sought only to explore the power relationship between the two chief mobsters (one the rising Italian, the other the diminishing Irishman), this would have been a very good gangster film. It portrays an earlier era in the nation's history of organized crime (perhaps Chicago in the late '20s), and one can imagine Leo as the Irish predecessor of __The Godfather__'s Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando).

Just as __The Godfather__ was really about family relationships and the ethical complexities arising when familial loyalty collides with the business of violence, however, __Miller's Crossing__ is actually about, as Caspar tells us, friendship and character put under the enormous strain of that same business of violence. The film, therefore, centers on Leo's trusted adviser Tom (played flawlessly by the Irish actor Gabriel Byrne). Tom is not a gunsel, but the brain behind Leo's muscle. His decisions carry life and death consequences, however, and we watch him try to live with himself, to preserve his character, as he works out a code that will help him and his friends survive brutally violent upheavals. Critics of the film have cited its graphic cruelty and the seeming coldness of its characters, yet these are essential features in developing the film's theme.

Sentimentality might get any of the major characters killed, and one notes the pathos and dark humor that underline an ironic distance that each character, especially Tom, cultivates as a tool for survival.

Clues abound as we wonder what Tom will do next. Follow, for example, the men's hats over the course of the film. Who "keeps his lid on," so to speak, and who loses his? Note the number of times characters exclaim "Jesus!" or "Damn!" when saying the name "Tom." What has he sacrificed? Has he damned himself?

Spectacular action sequences, beautiful production values, top-notch camera work by Barry Sonnenfeld, a haunting musical score, and the best dialogue ever written by the Coen brothers make this a great gangster film. The fascinating and complex theme of friendship, character, and ethics make it one of the great films from any genre.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Irish | Yiddish

Release Date:

5 October 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Miller's Crossing See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,202, 23 September 1990

Gross USA:

$5,080,409

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,080,409
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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