The Ninth Gate (1999) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • In New York, the money-driven dealer Dean Corso is a rare-books expert and partner of Bernie, who owns a bookstore. He is contacted by the renowned collector of books about the devil Boris Balkan, who has just acquired the rare The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows from the collector Andrew Telfer, to verify whether his book is authentic or a forgery. Balkan explains that the book was written by the writer Aristide Torchia, in 1666, with Lucifer and he was burned at the stake with his entire work. There are only three exemplars of The Nine Gates and in accordance with the legend, its nine engravings form a riddle to conjure the devil. The skeptical Corso accepts the assignment and has to fly to Sintra, Portugal, and Paris, France, to contact the owners Victor Fargas and Baroness Kessler and find the genuine exemplar for Balkan. Meanwhile, he asks Bernie to hide the rare book. Before traveling to Europe, the widow Liana Telfer wants to retrieve the book and has sex with Corso, but he does not accept her offer. When Corso returns to Bernie's bookstore, he finds his friend murdered in the same position of an engraving. Corso travels to Toledo, Spain, to meet the Ceniza twin brothers and learn more about The Nine Gates. During his journey in Europe, Corso is pursued by Liana and her bodyguard, who belong to the sect The Order of the Silver Serpents, and is protected by a mysterious Girl with supernatural powers. Meanwhile, the owners of the two other exemplars of The Nine Gates are murdered. Corso becomes obsessed with the book and discloses the truth about it.

  • Dean Corso, the unscrupulous New York City rare-book dealer with the questionable ethics, is hired by the millionaire magnate Boris Balkan, an avid book collector and a zealous occult scholar, to check the authenticity of his most prized possession: The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows. As the diligent book detective flies to Europe to compare Balkan's book with the only two remaining copies, right from the start, thick mystery shrouds his discoveries, while at the same time, a cryptic and rather secretive woman follows his every step. Eventually, at the end of this hunt for clues, the unfathomable secrets of the intricate mystical engravings in all three editions of the book will be unveiled to only he who has the key. However, who is worthy of the book's dark, yet glorious mysteries?

  • Dean Corso, a rare book dealer, is appointed by a renowned book collector, Balkan, to verify the authenticity of one of his books. According to sources, only three copies of that book exist, and in three different places. After losing his friend who has been killed for that book, he leaves on the mission. He wants to verify Balkan's book but finds something else! During his dramatic travels through Paris and Madrid, too many things beyond his expectations are revealed!

  • Rare book sleuth Dean Corso has been hired to find the other two existing copies of the seventeenth-century Book of the 'Nine Doors to the Kingdom of Shadows', reputed to hold the key to conjuring up Satan. He travels from Madrid to Paris in search of the book.

  • Dean Corso, a somewhat sleazy rare book dealer, is hired by a mysterious patron who has just come into possession of one of the only three copies of The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows (a 17th century occult text said to give its owner unimaginable power). The man hires Corso to track down the other two copies and compare them to his, but complications - both natural and supernatural - arise at every turn.

  • A rare book dealer, while seeking out the last two copies of a demon text, gets drawn into a conspiracy with supernatural overtones.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Dean Corso (Johnny Depp) is a rare books-dealer whose motivation is only for financial gain. He swindles a set of rare and priceless books from a naïve couple, narrowly beating out a rival dealer. A very rich book collector by the name of Boris Balkan (Frank Langella) hires Corso to validate his recently purchased copy of The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows by 17th century author Aristide Torchia. It is one of only three copies that exist in the world. The book contains nine engravings which, when correctly deciphered and the interpretations properly spoken, are supposed to summon the Devil. Balkan claims the book may be a forgery, and hires Corso to travel to Europe, assess the other two known copies, find out whether any are genuine and, if so, acquire them for Balkan.

    Balkan's copy originally belonged to Andrew Telfer, who committed suicide shortly after selling the book. Corso repeatedly encounters his wife, Liana Telfer (Lena Olin), who wants the book back and is willing to do anything to get it. Once he has the book in his possession, his apartment is ransacked and Bernie (James Russo), his friend and a book store owner, is murdered in the style of one of the engravings in The Nine Gates.

    Corso travels to Spain and talks to the Ceniza brothers (Jose Lopez Rodero) who inform him that some of the book's engravings are signed "LCF," which could possibly mean "Lucifer." Corso visits Victor Fargas (Jack Taylor) and compares Balkan's copy with his and notes several variations in the engravings. Corso returns the next day to find Vargas murdered and the engravings ripped out of his copy of The Nine Gates. Corso crosses paths with a mysterious woman (Emmanuelle Seigner) who rescues him from an attack by Telfer's bodyguard (Tony Amoni).

    In Paris, Corso tracks down the third surviving copy owned by Baroness Kessler (Barbara Jefford). He records additional differences in her copy before she is killed and pages from her book are removed. He realizes that the secret to the Nine Gates can be found in a combination of all three copies of the book. Telfer steals Balkan's copy from Corso and he follows her to a mansion where he witnesses her leading a Satanist ceremony. Balkan interrupts the ceremony suddenly, kills Telfer, takes the engravings and the book and drives off to prepare to open the Nine Gates himself. He fails to do so and is consumed by flames during the invocation. The mysterious girl has sex with Corso and points him in the direction of the final authentic engraving thereby allowing him to travel through the ninth portal at the film's conclusion.

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