Bringing Out the Dead


Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34

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Critic Reviews

  1. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Blazes up constantly with a stunning, off-kilter brilliance, an incandescent force that sometimes explodes the space between us and the screen.
  2. 100
    To look at Bringing Out the Dead --to look, indeed, at almost any Scorsese film--is to be reminded that film can touch us urgently and deeply.
  3. Potentially oppressive subject matter is redeemed by impeccable moral integrity and stunning artistry.
  4. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Full of bravura moments and high-wire performances.
  5. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    Certainly one of his (Scorsese's) most profound works.
  6. Rolling Stone
    Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Cage, who gives a blazing, imposive performance, uses his haunted eyes to reveal the emotional scars that Frank can't heal.
  7. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    In a role as tailor-made for him as the story is for its writer and director, Nicolas Cage anchors the movie with one of his best performances.
  8. New York Daily News
    Reviewed by: Jack Mathews
    It's a slice of life, with all the trimmings, and one of the strongest films of the year.
  9. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    Achieves a poetic, quasi-religious tone.
  10. 80
    A text that provokes thought more than directs it, which should fascinate new and repeat viewers for a long time.
  11. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Like its title -- blunt, thruthful, uncompromising. It is hard on an audience, even harrowing. But that's exactly what Martin Scorsese was put on earth to do.
  12. An intense, volatile film full of sorrow and wild, mordant humor.
  13. 78
    This is Martin Scorsese, and in the end, it's his town, and his show.
  14. Philadelphia Inquirer
    Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Develops microclimates of mood without fully developing the same shadings of character.
  15. Equally fascinated by the afflictions of life and the usually squandered opportunities these afford for courage and self-sacrifice.
  16. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Filled with so much heartbreaking beauty, Bringing Out the Dead might be best described as an artist's sketchbook, a series of tableaux and ideas that provide a telling glimpse of a director whose work is always evolving.
  17. New York Post
    Reviewed by: Jonathan Foreman
    Downbeat and at times strangely slow-moving despite all its beautifully shot high-speed ambulance rides.
  18. An ecstatic sensory experience so overloaded it hardly matters that the narrative has been placed on a back burner.
  19. Mr. Showbiz
    Reviewed by: Richard T. Jameson
    There's talent to burn in this movie. But the flame is cold.
  20. TNT RoughCut
    Reviewed by: Christopher Brandon
    Fans of the greatest working film director will be pleased.
  21. 70
    The mood is less angst-ridden than hypercaffeinated, as Scorsese keeps cranking the velocity-bloodbath in the reggae inferno, exploding skyline pietà, climactic white light of redemption.
  22. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Although it tries continually to focus on the heart, it ultimately fails to ignite it.
  23. Has a certain morbid fascination, but it has no real bite, and finally seems so contrived and pointless it borders on being out-and-out exploitation.
  24. 67
    Works more in your head than on the screen.
  25. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    While heartfelt and beautifully crafted, Bringing Out the Dead is too freighted with its protagonist's failed savior complex and is surprisingly lacking in primal impact.
  26. Despite moments of gritty greatness that rival Scorsese's best, the movie is severely hampered by please-everyone syndrome, especially in the editing and choice of music.
  27. 60
    (Cage's) performance feels embalmed in the accumulated shtick of an actor trapped in excess.
  28. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    We don't really care about this everyman's moral dilemna and spiritual crisis because -- for all the poetic insights he offers in his philosophical voice-over -- he never transcends the details to become an engrossing character.
  29. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    Doesn't seem to have anything to say.
  30. 50
    Curiously and disappointingly lethargic.
  31. Dances on the edge of flat-lining just like the DOAs that are Frank's stock-in-trade.
  32. Miami Herald
    Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    A relentless descent into a psychedelic hell, a rambunctious feel-bad epic.
  33. 50
    Doesn't pack the punch of Schrader and Scorsese's career-best collaborations ("Raging Bull," "Taxi Driver").
  34. Falls far short of its grim potential.
User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 106 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. JimmyP.
    Mar 18, 2007
    I thought that this might be maybe one of if not Scorsese's most overlooked film. I thought it had a powerful message, gripping I thought that this might be maybe one of if not Scorsese's most overlooked film. I thought it had a powerful message, gripping direction, and standout performances, from Nicolas Cage, and Ving Rhames. Lookout for Scorsese's voice on the dispatch, and also Queen Latifah's. Full Review »
  2. Barryw.
    Dec 1, 2005
    This movie is excellent.the acting is superb,and the story deep and full of humor,love,and spritual lessons.i loved the movie.
  3. May 20, 2016
    One of the few if not the only movie I can watch over and over again. Truly a favorite of mine. Totally recommended.

    Watch it online for
    One of the few if not the only movie I can watch over and over again. Truly a favorite of mine. Totally recommended.

    Watch it online for free:
    Full Review »