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The Dead
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The Dead

1987
Drama
1h 23m
John Huston's last film is a labor of love at several levels: an adaptation of perhaps one of the greatest pieces of English-language literature by one of Huston's favorite authors, James Joyce (imdb)
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The Dead

1987
Drama
1h 23m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 59.78% from 371 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(370)
Compact view
Compact view
Rated 05 Jul 2009
97
94th
Haunting, poetic, elegaic, truly moving and utterly beautiful farewell from one of the greatest filmmakers this world will ever see.
Rated 05 Mar 2015
75
77th
Excellently acted and directed. The characters came alive for me in a way they failed to in Joyce's short story text, and I had a blast observing Freddy/Teddy, Mr. Brown et al. - feeling part of their company. And the final inner monologue is beautifully written. But what does putting these two disjointed segments together add up to exactly? (except for, of course, the questionable - and hardly original - sentiment about the glory of dying young)
Rated 01 Sep 2022
50
23rd
Watching "The Dead", one feels like a fly on the wall contentedly witnessing the goings-on at a 1900's dinner party with the anticipation that something's going to happen, yet not much ever does. The production value and cast make it easy on the eyes and ears, but the story's almost entirely bereft of spikes, two brief, unexploited political exchanges being among the sole exceptions. The finale's dramatic reveal and basic philosophical musings show some overdue and thus pointless signs of life.
Rated 15 Apr 2009
96
98th
I wondered at first where all this was leading, but gradually it crept under my skin. Thanks to the performances I just got involved with the characters. By the time everyone goes home, nothing special has "happened". But it's so real and alive that it doesn't matter. And then there's the final monologues. Both are utterly exquisite, beautifully written and perfectly spoken, opening avenues of thought and emotion about life and death. A marvelously subtle and understated film.
Rated 23 Feb 2010
88
78th
A quiet, restrained film with great acting and much resonance. Anjelica Huston gives one of her best performances. This film is worthy of Joyce's original story, and that is great praise indeed.
Rated 01 Jun 2008
79
57th
Frankly, the film is successful primarily because of Joyce's great story. Not that there's anything wrong with the film, the acting and direction are good, the film is well paced and the Irishness pervades everything in just the right proportions. Even so, I couldn't shake the feeling that this was simply a story told on film without a real life of it's own.
Rated 14 Apr 2009
86
87th
Its greatness is owed entirely to Joyce's original, but it is great nonetheless.
Rated 14 Aug 2009
85
89th
The Dead is an elegant, elegiac, beautifully written tale about the nature of love, loss, death and human nature directed with a wonderfully subtle touch by Huston.
Rated 12 Sep 2011
90
85th
huston once again does justice to a great piece of english-language literature
Rated 12 Jan 2013
85
90th
An actor's film par excellence that doesn't look like anything else Huston has made. Joyce's original dialogues, kept from his short story, are beautiful, sometimes moving, sometimes even funny. Huston stages his players with a great visual sense of depth that furthers the intimacy between the characters and the overall intens poetic feeling.
Rated 05 Nov 2016
78
88th
Quiet, intricate and sensitive, and a faithful adaptation of the story.
Rated 27 Jun 2012
78
79th
Impressive adaptation of Joyce's brilliant short story. Credit to the writers and actors for some of the most natural dialogue ever to be shown on screen. Huston, for the most part, manages to retain the atmosphere of the original and successfully get its message to the audience. That said, it doesn't come close to actually reading Joyce.
Rated 01 Mar 2008
80
68th
# 402
Rated 02 May 2022
95
95th
Perfectly rendered adaptation of a story close to my heart; amazingly, the film did not erase the world Joyce’s words initially created in my mind but rather enhanced it, even duplicated it to an eerie degree in certain scenes. Much of that owes to Joyce’s expert prose but Huston clearly internalized this story and the acting is superb, particularly by Angelica Huston in the hotel scene.
Rated 02 Feb 2022
81
83rd
I would have to lie to say this wasn’t testing my patience for about an hour, but the ending definitely made the journey worth it.
Rated 26 Oct 2021
85
59th
Viewed October 16, 2021. The qualities that sink some of John Huston’s other films — the staginess and tendency to go big, the emphasis on performance at the expense of coherent visual style — add depth and color to his elegiac final film, an adaptation of the Joyce short story that moves through its small scale character study with grace and dignity.
Rated 05 Oct 2021
60
35th
Almost an inverse of Dickens' Christmas Carol, this is a Christmas-time meditation on death and memories. It feels like two separate movies (the party and the hotel), but they are connected by those wispy recollections of earlier days (which made my mind wander back to my own more-a-chore-than-fun family gatherings). It's beautiful although it's better for people who like atmospheric stories, and it's likely to be a film you get more out of as you get older.
Rated 11 Sep 2021
85
79th
Beautifully rendered film depicting not only a certain time and place, but the complex wash of feelings we have in the midst of family and friends, dinners and dances. The dead are present in this film in so many ways, while the final reflection brings the love of our friends and/or family together with the reality of death.
Rated 23 Nov 2020
81
52nd
B+
Rated 12 Mar 2019
84
23rd
83.50
Rated 25 Aug 2018
9
93rd
Death and history ruminations quietly sprawling from a lucid literary adaptation, beautifully rendered by the director.
Rated 25 Sep 2015
83
85th
A lovely swan song for a legendary director. So warm and tender and filled with inspired directorial touches that keep it from being slow and boring where a lesser director might well have made it that. One of the great ensemble casts of all time, all making an impact despite the short running time.
Rated 11 Feb 2013
88
52nd
An embrocation full of Joyce's words, closely watched by Huston's camera. Compares well with Bergman's Fanny and Alexander made 5 years earlier. A heartfelt look at the love and bonds of Irish family and friendship. One of the characters, played by Dan O'Herlihy, bears a paternal resemblance to Huston himself, and Anjelica turns in a nice performance, and the all-Irish ensemble is truly grand.
Rated 22 Jun 2008
98
99th
Utterly, glowingly, painfully beautiful. Every word of praise you've read about this film anywhere is true. It's the greatest movie made from a great work of literature I can think of.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
6
55th
Disliked this quite intensely when I saw it in around 1994. Finally checked it out again and found it considerably stronger than I remembered, although hardly the great swan song for Huston which many have declared it. Beautiful work by Huston and the two Donals (McCann and Donnelly) and snatches of memorable anecdote, but it still feels a somewhat minor piece.
Rated 14 Jul 2012
90
91st
Few films that so perfectly fit the definition of a "swan song" as this, John Huston's last. Based on a story by James Joyce, it tells of a holiday gathering, a long-ago tragedy, and a personal revelation, and all with simplicity and warmth. The party scenes are a superb example of ensemble acting, but the final moments, first a duet, then a solo, are genuinely transcendent. Glorious performances by all, especially Anjelica Huston, Donal McCann, and Donal Donnelly; lovely score by Alex North.
Rated 14 Jan 2010
81
62nd
379
Rated 14 Aug 2007
85
85th
When it comes, Huston's confession to O'Herlihy has as much abrupt urgency as Joyce wrote it. I can think of no greater praise.
Rated 24 Apr 2012
82
86th
As delicate as it is confident.
Rated 02 Jul 2015
70
64th
Joyce's short story certainly comes to life in the hands of ever capable Huston.
Rated 30 Dec 2010
30
78th
"What redeems Huston's last gasp is the observational framing and agile editing with which the Morkan sisters' soiree is captured." - Joseph Jon Lanthier
Rated 03 Jan 2016
75
49th
02 Gener 2016 - M'agrada no saber quina és la qüestió central de la pel·lícula; que hi hagi diversos personatges en què se centra l'acció i semblin prendre protagonisme però només transitòriament. Diverses situacions i (per mi) no clarament relacionades; sol passar que cadascú està per la seva història. Missatge dur i commovedor.
Rated 19 Dec 2008
79
58th
416
Rated 30 Nov 2011
82
64th
#369
Rated 14 Aug 2007
60
63rd
Score based on distant memory.
Rated 25 Oct 2013
9
90th
Slowly creeps up on you and wins via knock out at the end, like many great short stories seem to do. The final monologue on smallness and insecurity was very moving. Not a bad watch if you're feeling distant and autumn is around the corner.

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