6.8/10
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Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

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Haunted by the patients he failed to save, an extremely burned-out Manhattan ambulance paramedic fights to maintain his sanity over three fraught and turbulent nights.

Director:

Martin Scorsese

Writers:

Joe Connelly (novel), Paul Schrader (screenplay)
2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Frank Pierce
Patricia Arquette ... Mary Burke
John Goodman ... Larry
Ving Rhames ... Marcus
Tom Sizemore ... Tom Wolls
Marc Anthony ... Noel
Mary Beth Hurt ... Nurse Constance
Cliff Curtis ... Cy Coates
Nestor Serrano ... Dr. Hazmat
Aida Turturro ... Nurse Crupp
Sonja Sohn ... Kanita
Cynthia Roman Cynthia Roman ... Rose
Afemo Omilami ... Griss
Cullen O. Johnson Cullen O. Johnson ... Mr. Burke (as Cullen Oliver Johnson)
Arthur J. Nascarella ... Captain Barney (as Arthur Nascarella)
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Storyline

An Easter story. Frank is a Manhattan medic, working graveyard in a two-man ambulance team. He's burned out, exhausted, seeing ghosts, especially a young woman he failed to save six months' before, and no longer able to save people: he brings in the dead. We follow him for three nights, each with a different partner: Larry, who thinks about dinner, Marcus, who looks to Jesus, and Tom, who wallops people when work is slow. Frank befriends the daughter of a heart victim he brings in; she's Mary, an ex-junkie, angry at her father but now hoping he'll live. Frank tries to get fired, tries to quit, and keeps coming back, to work and to Mary, in need of his own rebirth. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Saving a Life is the ultimate rush See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for gritty violent content, drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 October 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vidas al límite See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,193,052, 24 October 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$16,640,210, 9 January 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martin Scorsese has admitted that he didn't enjoy shooting the film at all. Most of it was filmed at night in mid-December so conditions were continually harsh. See more »

Goofs

When Mr. Burke codes after he's brought into the E.R., the doctor orders for him to be defibrillated at 400 joules, then 500. While older defibrillators could deliver a 400 joule shock, modern defibrillators only give a maximum shock of 360 joules. Either way, Advanced Cardiac Life Support protocols at the time (before 2005) called for a starting energy of 200 joules, then 300 and 360 for subsequent shocks. See more »

Quotes

Marcus: Ever notice people who see shit are always crazy?
See more »

Connections

References The Lion King (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Threat
Written by Elmer Bernstein
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surreal, strange, special and very, very good
12 February 2006 | by MrVibratingSee all my reviews

This surreal portrayal of a stressed-out depressed, alcoholic and generally weird paramedic is a movie you cannot watch just like that. I recommend watching it late at night, but not too tired, since you have to be quite alert to catch everything that's going on.

The basic plot is about an ambulance driver(Nicolas Cage can act!) who hasn't saved anyone for months and begins to doubt he can save anyone anymore. He drinks booze and coffee and the result is a great mess. This is not a "beginning to the end" kind of movie. When the movie ends, nothing is really solved.

The acting is pretty much flawless. Nicolas Cage does his best performance to date, and his paramedic buddies and the people he encounters are all very well portrayed. John Goodman is a fat, sweaty but somewhat likable paramedic, Tom Sizemore(!) is a psychotic ambulance driver who has his very own view of the job, Ving Rhames is a delivered Christian who takes the job as an opportunity to save souls, Mark Anthony is an interesting street weirdo, and Patricia Arquette is a weary woman who loses her father.

The imagery is very good too. New York whizzes past, full of lights and darkness. It's gritty, it's moody and it's surreal.

If you can stand a little unorthodox cinema then you'll like Bringing Out the Dead. But be sure to be in the mood, or the experience will be very different.

Oh, and I salute all the paramedics and other health care heroes out there. If your job is anywhere near this movies, you're the greatest.


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