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Road to Perdition

Road to Perdition

4.5 27
Director: Sam Mendes

Cast: Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law


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The acclaimed graphic novel from crime writer Max Allan Collins becomes this big budget Dreamworks drama from director Sam Mendes and screenwriter David Self. Tom Hanks stars as Michael Sullivan, a morally conflicted Depression-era hit man committing murder in the name of his employer, John Rooney (Paul Newman). A kindly, aging Irish crime boss who raised Sullivan as


The acclaimed graphic novel from crime writer Max Allan Collins becomes this big budget Dreamworks drama from director Sam Mendes and screenwriter David Self. Tom Hanks stars as Michael Sullivan, a morally conflicted Depression-era hit man committing murder in the name of his employer, John Rooney (Paul Newman). A kindly, aging Irish crime boss who raised Sullivan as his surrogate son, Rooney is affiliated with Al Capone in Chicago and thus wields great power in the "Tri-Cities" of Moline, IL; Rock Island, IL; and Davenport, IA. Curious about his father's mysterious profession, Sullivan's son, Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin), stows away in his father's automobile one night and witnesses the execution of a man at the hands of Sullivan and Rooney's biological son, Connor (Daniel Craig). Although Michael keeps his promise to remain silent about what he's seen, the paranoid and unstable Connor tries to wipe out the entire Sullivan clan anyway, succeeding only in killing Sullivan's wife, Annie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and youngest son, Peter (Liam Aiken). Enraged at this and another surprise betrayal by the Rooneys, Sullivan embarks on a path of bloody retribution, Michael in tow. Although he intends to leave his boy with relatives in the rural town of Perdition once the coast is clear, he ends up exposing Michael to the goriest aspects of his talents, slaughtering former associates as he dodges contract assassin Maguire (Jude Law) and cripples the cash flow of the Rooney and Capone organizations through a series of bank robberies, attempting to force either mob family to offer up the sequestered Connor as a sacrifice. Inspired by the popular Japanese comic book series Lone Wolf and Cub and based loosely on an episode from the life and career of notorious real-life crime figures John and Connor Looney, Road to Perdition co-stars Stanley Tucci as legendary Chicago mobster Frank Nitti.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Unquestionably one of 2002’s best films, this Depression-era crime drama demonstrates yet again that erstwhile sitcom star Tom Hanks is one of Hollywood’s finest actors. It also vindicates the judgment of critics who maintain that Sam Mendes (American Beauty) is among the most talented directors working today. Based on a graphic novel written by detective-story scribe Max Allen Collins, Perdition begins in a small midwestern city where Michael Sullivan (Hanks) works as an enforcer for his adopted father, Irish gangster John Rooney (Paul Newman). When Sullivan’s son, Mike Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin), witnesses one of his father’s killings on Rooney’s behalf, the gangster decides that his ward and his family are liabilities that must be removed. Mendes, working from a script that considerably expands on the Collins story, tells several stories simultaneously; the plot principally revolves around Sullivan’s efforts to safeguard his son and get even with the man who betrayed him, but it also focuses on the boy’s efforts to bond with his emotionally distant father, and in a tertiary sense it’s about the internal conflicts of a lawbreaking man governed by his own peculiar code of honor while functioning in a hopelessly corrupt and amoral societal structure. Mendes eschews flashy visual effects and quick cutting in favor of elegantly composed shots and subtle camera moves. This directorial restraint is carried over to the performances, which are mostly understated (Hanks, for example, suggests far more than he shows, forcing viewers to use their imaginations). The one exception is Jude Law, whose turn as a hired assassin is delightfully eccentric and over-the-top. Road to Perdition could have been a florid, melodramatic shoot-’em-up, but Mendes's inspired direction and the solidly grounded performances of Hanks and Newman made it something very special. This is a film viewers will want to see many times.
All Movie Guide - Karl Williams
An elegant, mournful gangster picture that joins the ranks of Miller's Crossing (1990) and The Godfather (1972) as an example of the genre's best, this adaptation of a fact-based graphic novel is another showcase for the visual talents of director Sam Mendes, following up his Oscar-winning cinematic debut, American Beauty (1999). The film's power is due in no small part to a superb script from relatively new screenwriter David Self, who enlarges upon the source material's themes until they've reached Shakespearean proportions, while cleverly touching upon the tale's themes of fathers and sons, coming of age, violence, and damnation. Audiences may have a difficult time grappling with the emotional reserve, itchy trigger finger and ultimate fate of hit man Michael Sullivan, played by one of its favorite, most likable leading men, Tom Hanks, but the fact is that the character rings true to his circumstances and allows the star an opportunity to more freely employ the gruff, flinty toughness, the sharper edges of intelligence, and the irked, tired refusal to suffer fools gladly that are so often lurking just below the surface of his more popular roles (in many ways, Hanks' Sullivan seems to be the black sheep brother of Captain John Miller from 1998's Saving Private Ryan). Despite this, the film's one flaw is that it allows Sullivan so much screen time that not every viewer might realize that he's only a supporting player: the protagonist is not the father but the son, Michael Jr., well played by Tyler Hoechlin as a youth whose future prospects are cloudy at best but become more certain as events unfold. It's his point of view being shared, the ultimate fate of his soul that's at stake, and his character that's being emotionally tracked, but his denouement may feel anticlimactic compared to the father's spectacular, heart-breaking exit. It's a trifling flaw in an otherwise top-notch film that's certain to be reconsidered in later years as the century's first great gangster flick. The cast is terrific (Jude Law--in a role wholly invented for the film--and Paul Newman, in the underappreciated winter of his career, deliver awe-inspiring performances as well), but it's that corker of a script from Self, trenchant and devastating, breath-taking in its ability to ply the screen with elegant visuals followed up with sparkling dialogue and unexpected confrontations, that lights up the screen and the memory.
New York Times
It inspires a continuing and deeply satisfying awareness of the best movies as monumental 'picture shows.' Stephen Holden
San Francisco Chronicle
Directed by Sam Mendes, this movie might not be as flashy as his Oscar-winning American Beauty, but it's a smarter film, more mature and emotionally honest. Mick LaSalle
New York Observer
A rare and exemplary work of artistry and humanity that makes you think while it unfolds like the haunting pages of a novel you never want to end. Rex Reed

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tom Hanks Michael Sullivan
Paul Newman John Rooney
Jude Law Maguire
Jennifer Jason Leigh Annie Sullivan
Stanley Tucci Frank Nitti
Daniel Craig Connor Rooney
Tyler Hoechlin Michael Sullivan Jr.
Liam Aiken Peter Sullivan
Dylan Baker Alexander Rance
Ciarán Hinds Finn McGovern
Mina Badie Betty The Waitress
Lance Baker Crime Scene Policeman
Ian Barford Ronney's Henchmen
Dylan Barker Alexander Rance
Michael Brockman Rooney's Business Associates
Nicholas Cade Boy Michael Fights
Jack Callahan Rooney's Business Associates
Jobe Cerny Bankers
Kevin Chamberlin Frank The Bouncer
David Darlow Jack Kelly
Diane Dorsey Aunt Sarah
Stephen P. Dunn Finn McGovern's Henchmen
Maurie Gallagher Michael's Teacher
James Greene Farmer Bill
Harry Groener Mr. McDougal
Timothy Hendrickson Bankers
Marty Higginbotham Bankers
John Judd Rooney's Business Associates
Kathleen Keane Irish Musicians
Ed Kross Young Bank Manager
Keith Kupferer Nitti's Henchmen
Lawrence MacGowan Bankers
Rob Maxey Drugstore Owner
Brendan McKinney Irish Musicians
Monte Carlos Living Corpse
Jackie Moran Irish Musicians
Kurt Naebig Tenement Murderer
Heidi Jayne Netzley Prostitute
Kieran O'Hare Irish Musicians
Roderick Peeples Nitti's Henchmen
Lara Phillips Ruby The Waitress
Phil Ridarelli Hotel Manager
Peggy Roeder Farmer Virginia
Lee Roy Rogers Secretary
Michael Sassone Motel Manager
Jon Sattler Rooney's Business Associates
Duane Sharp Father Callaway
John Sierros Rooney's Business Associates
Craig Spidle Ronney's Henchmen
Doug Spinuzza Brothel Maid
John Sterchi Cop At Diner
Christian Stolte Rooney's Business Associates
Paul Turner Finn McGovern's Henchmen

Technical Credits
Sam Mendes Director,Producer
Jill Bilcock Editor
Joey Box Stunts
Joan Bradshaw Executive Producer
Frank Calzavara Stunts
Patrick Caulfield Costumes/Costume Designer
Tara B. Cook Associate Producer
William Dambra Special Effects
Darrell Davis Stunts
Orbert Davis Consultant/advisor
James Fierro Stunts
Laurel Frushour Costumes/Costume Designer
Gretchen Gain Costumes/Costume Designer
Dennis Gassner Production Designer
Nancy Haigh Set Decoration/Design
Matthew Hall Special Effects
Conrad L. Hall Cinematographer
Scott A. Hecker Sound Editor
K.C. Hodenfield Asst. Director
Mark Howard Choreography
Jennifer Jobst Costumes/Costume Designer
Richard L. Johnson Art Director
William S. Judkins Stunts
Gary L. Karas Special Effects
Rick LeFevour Stunts
Tom Lowell Stunts
Jim Mammoser Stunts
Robert Marrocco Stunts
Cherylanne Martin Associate Producer
Harrison McEldowney Choreography
Thomas Newman Score Composer
Walter Parkes Executive Producer
Heather Pollock Costumes/Costume Designer
John Pritchett Sound/Sound Designer
John J. Rigden Special Effects
Allen Robinson Stunts
Kerry Rossall Stunts
P. Scott Sakamoto Camera Operator
Kerry Sanders Set Decoration/Design
David Self Screenwriter
Richard Shuster Stunts
Ron Snyder Makeup
Kevin Sorensen Stunts
Dan Striepeke Makeup
David Tennenbaum Set Decoration/Design
Andrew R. Tennenbaum Set Decoration/Design
Fred Thorne Stunts
Frank Toro Special Effects
Rich Wilke Stunts
John M. Williams Consultant/advisor
Albert Wolsky Costumes/Costume Designer
Debra Zane Casting
Richard D. Zanuck Producer
Dean Zanuck Producer


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Road to Perdition 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen! It was great! Tom Hanks was amazing in this!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The acting of Tom Hanks as father who would do anything for his son risks his life against a head boss man(Paul Newman) that was a father to Tom Hanks but steps the line because the boss man's son is corrupt is quite a story twist and the feelings and actions that Paul Newman and Tom Hank made so believeable was amazon and genius the way they were able to play the roles. The twist with Jude law was just something else. A Third character would pop in while you are caught up with the main plot was just something else especially the character Jude Law plays is so good that weird, mysterious, and some what unnatural type of character. Over all the movie plot, the actors,and the directing are simply legendary. Beautiful done.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What happened to the Oscar.. loss of memory. Tom Hanks is great, the story is interesting. Dare I say it's the best mob film since the Godfather film a few years back. See it! That's an offer you should not refuse.
Guest More than 1 year ago
IT is a great tale of revenge. an excellent but sad movie. well worth it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wached it twice and loved it twice it rocks.I love the father son part of it really butiful,there is a ton of voilance but the good acting pays it off.But do not watch it if you don't like Tom Hanks and Paul Numan(who dosent?)So overall I love it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Jude Law. Who else can you ask for? This is possibly one of the better Tom Hanks movies. He was a superburb actor in this movie and Jude Law's crazyness adds suspense to it. Based in early time, i suggest you buy it.... i know i have. :)djoey
Guest More than 1 year ago
At least a few readers have watched Robert Blake grow from Red Ryder's kid sidekick to whatever he has grown to now , and a few more have seen Ron Howard grow from Opie Taylor to Ritchie Cunningham to Oscar-winning Director Ron Howard. Part of the fun in seeing Road to Perdition is predicting the direction of the career path of Tyler Hoechlin, who plays the role of Mike Sullivan, Jr. to Tom Hanks' Mike Sullivan, Sr. This lad is at least half the glue which holds the film together. The other half is Paul Newman's character. If Newman lives to 100+, there will always be a role which he can land and master. The magic of Road to Perdition is that is lives in a milieu of grim depression, but does not drag the viewer along with it. Gray wintry days in depression-rident Qual Cities, Ill. don't extinguish the light of this movie which somehow sends a message of hope and anticipation for the future. Some viewers have already seen the beacon of Hanks' potential as a serious actor, but for many, Road to Perdition marks the first hint that Hanks is anything but a one-dimensional performer. Several supporting actors and a few more bit-part players round out the cast which strengthen the impact of the film. The reader is urged to pay close attention to all the performers.There are some names here which you are going to be hearing again---and again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A must see for all movie lovers. Tom Hanks is amazing in this movie. A glorious triumph between right and wrong. TWO THUMBS UP!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great movie don't get me wrong but it the critics made it to like the godfather (not many movies are). Neverthe less Tom Hanks and Paul Newman turn in class A performances but the films best perfomances are made by Jude Law as the Hitman/photographer and by Tyler Hoechlin as Tom Hank's son. The Cinematography was superb, they did a magneficent job recreating depression era Chicago. This is a great movie, even though it is no Godfather it is still a great accomplishment and well worth your viewing
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of, if not, the best movie I have ever seen! It had everything anyone could want in a film, and is defenatly the best mafia film since the Godfather. If I didn't know any better, I would say it was better than The Godfather. I've been waiting for a release date on this film, and I have it on reserve. I loved this film and I know you will too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A brilliant and lasting crime drama set in Depression-Era America with such superb actors as Tom Hanks, Jude Law (who was very twisted in this flick), and the always dominating Paul Newman. Tom Hanks was the morally corrupted Michael Sullivan and enforcer for John Rooney, Irish mob boss to the Italian stars in Chicago. Newman was purposefully subdued in his role in this revenge drama where his son betrays everybody, the not-so-scrupulous Daniel Craig playing Connor Rooney. Sam Mendes' most mature film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow. What a film. This is for fans of The Godfather. Tom Hanks plays, yet again, another great role. The movie is very sad and pretty violent at times. Go see it; it's a movie to remember.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Movies shows every aspect of the depression- from the underground brothels/nightclub to going into chicago to the farm house going towards perdition. But what more can you have with Tom Hanks/Jude Law. Definately worthwhile to rent.
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