State of Grace (film)

State of Grace (film)

name = State of Grace

caption = Theatrical poster
director = Phil Joanou
producer = Ned Dowd
Randy Ostrow
Ron Rotholz
writer = Dennis McIntyre
starring = Sean Penn
Ed Harris
Gary Oldman
Robin Wright
John Turturro
music = Ennio Morricone
cinematography = Jordan Cronenweth
editing = Claire Simpson
distributor = Orion Pictures
released = September 14 1990
country = United States
runtime = 134 minutes
language = English
imdb_id = 0100685
amg_id = 1:46708

"State of Grace" (1990) is an American neo-noir [Silver, Alain and Elizabeth Ward, eds. "Film Noir: An Ecyclopedic Reference to the American Style," "Filmography of neo-noir," page 438, 3rd Edition. Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press. ISBN 0-87951-479-5.] crime film released in September 14, 1990. It was directed by Phil Joanou and written by Dennis McIntyre. The film was executive produced by Ned Dowd, Randy Ostrow, and Ron Rotholz and features an original music score by Ennio Morricone. [ [ "State of Grace"] at the Internet Movie Database.]

The motion picture, shot on location in New York City, tells of a small group of Irish-American gangsters operating in the section of New York City, west of Times Square, known as Hell's Kitchen. When their territory is threatened by gentrification, the boss, Frankie Flannery tries to arrange an alliance with the Italian Mafia, their long-time rivals. The film was inspired by the real mob gang known as "the Westies."


Jackie (Gary Oldman) and Frankie Flannery (Ed Harris) welcome Terry Noonan (Sean Penn) back to the neighborhood and into their organization after a long absence. Unbeknownst to the gang, however, during his time away Terry has become a police officer in Boston. He's been brought back to New York specifically to go undercover in his old neighborhood and bring down the Irish gangsters before they strike a deal with the Italian mafia.

Cast and ratings

* Sean Penn as Terry Noonan
* Ed Harris as Frankie Flannery
* Gary Oldman as Jackie Flannery
* Robin Wright as Kathleen Flannery
* John Turturro as Nick
* John C. Reilly as Stevie McGuire
* R.D. Call as Pat Nicholson, Frankie's Lt.
* Joe Viterelli as Borelli
* Burgess Meredith as Finn
* Marco St. John as Jimmy Cavello
* Mo Gaffney as Maureen
* Deirdre O'Connell as Irene
* Thomas G. Waites as Frankie's Man
* Brian Burke as Frankie's Man
* Michael Cumpsty as Frankie's Man
* Michael Cunningham as Frankie's Man

Critical reception

"State of Grace" was well received by most critics. [ [ "State of Grace"] at Rotten Tomatoes. Last accessed: December 4, 2007.] Janet Maslin, film critic for "The New York Times," wrote, "Mr. Joanou attempts to capture the sense of place that defines urban crime, and the ethnic and territorial distinctions that give it shape. He is successful much of the time here." Maslin was appreciative of the acting in the film, and wrote, "Jackie Flannery is played by the phenomenal Gary Oldman, who since "Sid and Nancy" has taken on a string of new accents and dramatic identities with stunning ease," and "Jackie's icy older brother, who is played by Ed Harris with an eeriness to match Mr. Oldman's." [ [ Maslin, Janet] . "The New York Times," film review, September 14, 1990.]

Film critic Vincent Leo lauded the work of actor Sean Penn, and wrote, "While Oldman gets the accolades for his energetic performance, it is really Penn's inner demons that provides the film with the right amount of conflict, always letting us be aware that fine lines are the difference between life and death, as well as right and wrong, out in the streets of New York. Is Penn doing the noble thing by taking down the criminals, or is he a rat bastard, disowning himself from the way of life and people who helped him along the way? It's the question that makes him sick to the pit of his stomach, and Penn shows it in his face with almost every scene." [ [ Leo, Vincent] . "Qwipster," film review.]

The "Chicago Sun-Times" film critic Roger Ebert, was also impressed, and wrote, "Gary Oldman's performance in the movie is the best thing about it...Oldman's character is more pure. He acts only on the basis of his instincts and prejudices, or out of vengeance and fear." [ [ Ebert, Roger] . The "Chicago Sun-Times," film review, September 14 1990. Last accessed: June 8 2008.]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 86% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on fourteen reviews." [ [ "State of Grace"] at Rotten Tomatoes. Last accessed: June 8, 2008.]


The producers used the following tagline when marketing the film::The Irish Mob in New York.

The film was released in a limited basis on September 14, 1990. The box office receipts the first week were $179,927 (14 screens). [ [ Box Office Mojo] box office data.]

According to "The Numbers" web site the film was in circulation a few weeks and appeared in 335 screens in its widest release. Receipts for the run were $1,911,542. [ [ The Numbers] box office data. Last accessed: December 5, 2007.]

Roger Ebert believes the difficulty "State of Grace" had at the box office was due to another film with the same theme being released the same year, namely, Martin Scorsese's" Goodfellas". [Ebert, Roger. Ibid.] Other gangster films released in Hollywood during the year include: "Miller's Crossing" and the "Godfather Part III."


The original music soundtrack was released on October 1, 1990 by MCA.

The CD has eighteen tracks, is 52:29 in length, and features the original score composed for the film scored by Ennio Morricone.

Other songs in film In the scene where Jackie introduces his girlfriend to Terry, the song "Trip Through Your Wires" by the band U2 can be heard playing in the background. This song and the song "Exit," both are cuts from "The Joshua Tree" (1987) album and are also played in the trailer for the film. Director Phil Joanou previously directed U2's live concert documentary "" (1988) and, later, their music video for the single "One" (1992). Guns N Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine" plays in a bar scene.


The word "fuck" and its derivatives are used approximately 210 times in the film, which averages out to 1.5 times every minute.

ee also

* The Westies: Irish-American organized crime gang in Hell's Kitchen, New York.



External links


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