Miller's Crossing

October 1st, 1990


Miller's Crossing

No valid json found

Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties.

Release Year: 1990

Rating: 8.0/10 (57,896 voted)

Critic's Score: 66/100

Director: Joel Coen

Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, John Turturro

A highly styled 'genre' film which can perhaps be seen as a pastiche of all gangster movies. Tom Reagan is the laconic anti-hero of this amoral tale which is also, paradoxically, a look at morals within the criminal underworld of the 1930s. Two rival gangs vie for control of a city where the police are pawns, and the periodic busts of illicit drinking establishments are no more than a way for one gang to get back at the other. Black humour and shocking violence compete for screen time as we question whether or not Tom, right-hand man of the Irish mob leader, really has a heart.

Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

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 - Mayor Dale Levander
Thomas Toner - O'Doole
Steve Buscemi - Mink
Mario Todisco - Clarence "Drop" Johnson
Olek Krupa - Tad
Michael Jeter - Adolph
Lanny Flaherty - Terry

Taglines: Up is down, black is white, and nothing is what it seems.

Release Date: October 1990

Filming Locations: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross: $5,080,409 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The character Eddie Dane was originally written for Peter Stormare and was to be named The Swede. Stormare had to decline as he was appearing as Hamlet in the Broadway production. The part was then re-written and re-cast, and became The Dane.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: When the Dane goes to Verna's apartment, Verna pulls a gun out of her purse on the bed and points it at the Dane. He then slaps her hand with the gun, but the sound of the slap is clearly before the visual.

Bernie: Don't smart me! See I wanna watch you squirm; I wanna see you sweat a little, and when you smart me... it ruins it.

User Review

The Jewel of the Coen Crown

Rating: 10/10

One of the great undiscovered gems of recent movie history. In my opinion, Miller's crossing is easily the best of the Coen brothers' films, and one of the true classics of American cinema.

On the surface, the story of warring gangsters in 1920's America is one that has been told many times before. But never before has it been handled with such artistry and precision. The (rather violent) action scenes keep the movie going along at a brisk pace, and the camera work is every bit the equal of "Fargo".

I became a lifelong Gabriel Byrne fan as a result of this movie, despite his best efforts to disappoint me since. Byrne's Tom Reagan is a compellingly amoral character, who takes more unchallenged beatings than perhaps anyone in film history. Men beat him up. Women beat him up. Collection men, bookies, gangsters, and even his boss gives him a terrible thrashing, and he hardly lifts a finger in opposition (with one notably humorous exception).

Albert Finney is tremendous as Leo, the local crime boss. His "Danny Boy" scene should go down in film history as one of the greatest pieces ever filmed. Jon Polito is at once absurdly funny and threateningly psychotic as Johnny Caspar, Leo's rival in the turf war. J.E. Freeman, John Turturro, and Marcia Gay Harden all lend strong support in a cast that was assembled and performs to near perfection.

I will never understand why this film has not received more recognition and acclaim. As an example of the modern style of Film Noir, it has no equals ("The Usual Suspects" would rate a close second). Among gangster films, only "The Godfather" can compete, and "Miller's Crossing" features superior pacing and dialog, although it lacks "The Godfather's" epic proportions. Perhaps someday this film will receive, like "The Manchurian Candidate" and "Touch of Evil", the belated accolades it so richly deserves.


Comments are closed.