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Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

2:24 | Trailer
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.


Martin Scorsese


Joe Connelly (novel), Paul Schrader (screenplay)
4,132 ( 1,269)
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





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)


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


Any call can be murder. Any stop can be suicide. Any night can the the last. See more »


Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Cliff Curtis who played Cy Coates would go on to play Rabbit, a flight paramedic on the show Trauma See more »


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 »


[Frank and Marcus are delivering a baby in a rundown building]
Frank Pierce: Oh Jesus, we'd better go. Call for backup. It's coming.
Marcus: My God, Frank, what the hell is that?
Frank Pierce: It's three legs.
Marcus: That's too many.
See more »


Referenced in The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy (2000) See more »


Janie Jones
Written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones
Performed by The Clash
Courtesy of Epic Records and Sony Music Entertainment (EMI) Ltd.
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

User Reviews

Stylish, but lacking a certain something
23 December 2017 | by bowmanblueSee all my reviews

Sometimes you can watch a film and see that all the pieces are there and yet there's still something not quite right about it. 'Bringing Out the Dead' stars Nicholas Cage (while he was still highly-bankable at the Box Office) as a New York ambulance driver who's on the brink of burning out completely. He's seemingly lost the ability to sleep (properly) and turned to various substances to get himself through his - increasingly dangerous - nightshifts.

Now, back in 1999 when this film was released, Cage was pretty much at the top of his game and you could guarantee that he'd put in a good performance, especially under an equally great director. Here we have none other than Martin Scorsese at the helm who is more than capable at keeping hold of Cage's reigns and making sure he doesn't do that 'over the topness' he sometimes slips into. The premise is great and there's plenty of scope for the story and characters to evolve. The films sports an equally impressive supporting cast including Patricia Arquette, Ving Rhames and John Goodman. So, baring all that in mind, it's hard to see that anything could go wrong with it.

I certainly don't hate 'Bringing Out the Dead.' I just feel that with that much talent at its disposal it should be a lot better than it is. The actors and direction are amazing, but where it falls down is a general lack of focus as to where the story is going and what genre the film wants to be. It flips from everything from romantic comedy to gritty drama almost every other scene and even flirts with the possibility of a supernatural element (loosely). There's not an awful lot of motivation for the supporting cast and they just seem to do things to provide Cage with something bad/dramatic to react to. The films plays out like a string of sketches/mini episodes that are loosely strung together by the flimsy of narratives.

If you're a fan of Cage and/or Scorsese, this is a 'must watch.' However, some may get a little tired with waiting for something to happen.

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Release Date:

22 October 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bringing Out the Dead See more »


Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,193,052, 24 October 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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