Road to Perdition

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 278 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 278
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  1. AndrewE.
    Jul 21, 2002
    10
    I'm still torn between Road to Perdition and Minority Report as my current pick for best movie of the year, but they both are among my favorite movies ever. Great.
  2. SamB.
    Jul 12, 2002
    10
    I just recently saw American Beauty and I thought it was the finest film ever made. So, naturally, I decided to see this too. Being a Tom Hanks fan had something to do with it as well. Before I saw it, I thought, "How could this be better than American Beauty? It's not possible." So I didn't expect it to be. And I was right. It's not as good, but it is still incredible. It I just recently saw American Beauty and I thought it was the finest film ever made. So, naturally, I decided to see this too. Being a Tom Hanks fan had something to do with it as well. Before I saw it, I thought, "How could this be better than American Beauty? It's not possible." So I didn't expect it to be. And I was right. It's not as good, but it is still incredible. It is different than other mob films. It has a moral. And Tom Hanks is, as usual, terrific. Likewise with Newman. A definite keeper. Mendes does it again. Expand
  3. FrancisM.
    Feb 9, 2003
    10
    It's truly a great film.
  4. FK
    Nov 18, 2005
    10
    Oustanding.
  5. JesseS.
    Jul 14, 2002
    10
    While not as good as American Beauty, it is still a powerhouse of a film from beginning to end. I'm not sure if I would rate this the best movie of the year over Minority Report, but it's certainly one of the two best of the year so far.
  6. EricS.
    Aug 12, 2002
    10
    Critics who compare "Perdition" to "The Godfather" are doing so only on grounds of subject matter; in truth, "Perdition" is first and foremost a love story between father and son. Tom Hanks and Paul Newman are brilliant as always, but I confess I was most impressed with Jude Law, who proves he is the best up-and-coming actor working today. An excellent combination of pathos, emotion, Critics who compare "Perdition" to "The Godfather" are doing so only on grounds of subject matter; in truth, "Perdition" is first and foremost a love story between father and son. Tom Hanks and Paul Newman are brilliant as always, but I confess I was most impressed with Jude Law, who proves he is the best up-and-coming actor working today. An excellent combination of pathos, emotion, drama, irony, and truth. Highly recommendable. Expand
  7. RyanM.
    Aug 18, 2002
    10
    It's beautiful, just plain beautiful.
  8. MichaelM.
    Oct 23, 2004
    10
    [***PLOT REVELATIONS***] One of the best gangster films ever made; it has all the best qualities to a movie = great writing, direction and a cast that will blow you away! I cannot stress on how much of an outstanding movie this is. It is just so great! It is a great movie about organized crime, and the kill scenes are nicely directed. The story is about a very talented hitman called [***PLOT REVELATIONS***] One of the best gangster films ever made; it has all the best qualities to a movie = great writing, direction and a cast that will blow you away! I cannot stress on how much of an outstanding movie this is. It is just so great! It is a great movie about organized crime, and the kill scenes are nicely directed. The story is about a very talented hitman called 'The Angel of Death' (Tom Hanks) who was adopted by a mean old crime boss John Rooney (Paul Newman - In his Academy Award nominated performance) at a very young age. Since John treats Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks - a.k.a. The Angel of Death) as his favorite son, John's real son Connor Rooney (Daniel Craig) gets very jealous and tries to have some business man secretly (without his father's consent) kill Michael. Well, that doesn't go as well as planned, and Michael ends up killing the business man and some of his associates. But, Michael's family isn't so lucky, when Connor himself kills Michael's wife (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and youngest son, leaving Michael only with his oldest son, Michael Sullivan, Jr. Since John must kill Michael in order for him to protect Connor, Michael and his son hit the road to Chicago to hide out. In Chicago, John has everyone looking for Michael including Frank Nitti, Al Capeone and a warped hitman named Maguire (Jude Law) who poses as a reporter, takes pictures of his victims, and wears a 'Charlie Chaplin'/'Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange' hat. The movie really moves along quickly and isn't slow at all. The story is really interesting, but the movie only got 1 major Academy Award Nomination. It should have been nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor - Tom Hanks and Best Director - Sam Mendes, instead of just Paul Newman getting nominated. This film is all around excellence, but isn't as good as Mendes' first feature 'American Beauty'. 22 February 2003. Expand
  9. MikeS..
    Jul 14, 2002
    10
    Look everyone that doesn't give this a 9 or higher is smoking some serious crack. This is one of the best films ever. If you love Mob movies you will love this movie. It's right up their with the godfather and scarface. That's all I have to say, people that i see that gave this a 4 or lower or any low score, you people probably sit home and watch movies like the ya-ya Look everyone that doesn't give this a 9 or higher is smoking some serious crack. This is one of the best films ever. If you love Mob movies you will love this movie. It's right up their with the godfather and scarface. That's all I have to say, people that i see that gave this a 4 or lower or any low score, you people probably sit home and watch movies like the ya-ya sisterhood type movies. I'm finished here. Go see the movie and i'm talking to ones that have good taste. Expand
  10. MikeM.
    Feb 19, 2003
    10
    This film deserves all the accolades it recieves. There is not a weak performance in the film. Newman, Law and Hanks are terrific.
  11. DanE.
    Feb 27, 2003
    10
    Saw this movie when it was in theaters and enjoyed it immensely. I don't understand how it got a 74. IMHO, it's better than director Sam Mendes' previous movie, American Beauty.
  12. MarshallM.
    Oct 29, 2005
    10
    Amazing, it was nominated for 7 academy awards. but it was missing from the most important category, BEST PICTURE! it was strongly underrated, this is one of the best gangter films i've seen, great acting, perfect cinematography, a masterpeice!
  13. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    Once again, Sam Mendes manages to successfully craft a truly powerful drama with "Road To Perdition". The movie cohesively blends together very deep and moving themes that explore the repercussions of violence, the relationships between fathers and sons, and the path to vengeance. With incredible performances from Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, an awesome soundtrack by Thomas Newman, andOnce again, Sam Mendes manages to successfully craft a truly powerful drama with "Road To Perdition". The movie cohesively blends together very deep and moving themes that explore the repercussions of violence, the relationships between fathers and sons, and the path to vengeance. With incredible performances from Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, an awesome soundtrack by Thomas Newman, and stunning camerawork by Conrad L. Hall, "Road To Perdition" remains, in short, superlative. Expand
  14. Apr 13, 2013
    10
    At first, I had never heard of this movie until just last year. And after watching it for the first time ever, I got to say, this was magnificently triumphant in everyway possible. I just don't understand why I had never heard of this movie before. This movie truly is underrated. Anyway, this movie has some tremendous acting from Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, Paul Newman, etc. But I wasAt first, I had never heard of this movie until just last year. And after watching it for the first time ever, I got to say, this was magnificently triumphant in everyway possible. I just don't understand why I had never heard of this movie before. This movie truly is underrated. Anyway, this movie has some tremendous acting from Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, Paul Newman, etc. But I was really surprised to see Daniel Craig (James Bond). He was fantastic playing Connor Rooney. Plus, I never really say this about a movie, but it really has some tremendous cinematography. Conrad L. Hall really knows how to get the perfect shots. Also, the storyline is exciting and captivating. It really keeps you interesting. Finally I have to say that Thomas Newman's original score is breathtaking. I mean, he's done some amazing music for other movies such as "Shawshank Redemption", "Finding Nemo", "WALL-E" and even "Green Mile". He really knows how to set the tone of the story. Overall, it's a fantastic gangster movie that needs to be more well known. Expand
  15. Apr 19, 2015
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The year is 1931, and dapper immigrant mobsters are running an icy America with big guns and deadly honour codes. You know, the stuff of cinematic pearls since time immemorial, and the canvas on which Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner painted their graphic novel (posh comic book).

    It's this emotional exploration of the gangster myth that Yank-fixated Brit Sam Mendes was drawn to after his blistering debut, 'American Beauty'. 'Perdition' translates as 'damnation', and with wry whimsy is also the name of the elusive Midwest town planned as sanctuary for enforcer Michael Sullivan's young son, desperate to find love in his cold-blooded father.

    This is a moody, pristine study of paternal woe, localised to an Illinois chapter of the mob run by Newman's ageing patriarch, a man tormented by a trigger-happy dolt of an heir, Connor (Craig, slimeballing with relish). His is the devilry that rips apart Sullivan's life, sending echoes up to Chicago, in the form of a slick Stanley Tucci as real-life Capone general, Frank Nitti. Gangsters are the ultimate dysfunctional family.

    Chastely violent and sombre, the movie is a blood-rush of visual magnificence (take a bow, cinematographer Conrad L. Hall). However, it's at times weighed down by its own gravity, and perhaps too eager to touch its forelock to Mendes' forebears, Scorsese and Coppola, not to mention John Ford's scope and Michael Powell's lushness.

    Comparisons with 'The Godfather', 'The Untouchables' and 'Miller's Crossing' will fly, but the true reference point here is 'Unforgiven'. Sullivan's journey into a hell of his own making is pure William Munney. It falls short of Eastwood's classic, but not by very much.

    Mendes conducts with a grace the material can't quite handle, and we do not hear clearly the earnest notes of the designated quest for salvation. Look, it's Hanks and Newman together! As crooks! Worry not, though, we've still got Jude Law as the real scumbag, a Weegee-styled hit man with stained molars and a porkpie hat, who shoots his victims with both gun and camera.

    Hanks - hunkered down in a heavy skin with a threadbare moustache and the rigid posture of moral deep-freeze - works hard not to force things. Neither hero nor anti-hero, for the audience it proves too taxing to shake the notion that this is Forrest Gump doing his best Clint Eastwood. Amoral? Ambiguous? Evil? Too big a leap.

    Newman, meanwhile, is electrifying. Coating Rooney in dead eyes and a soft smile, his conflation of the jovial grandfather with flints of absolute darkness is a performance that chimes with (and betters) Brandon's Don Corleone. His is the crowning speech, power's inevitable corruption writ heavy across his soul: 'This is the life we chose... And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see heaven'.

    When he and Sullivan finally cross swords, Mendes pulls out a moment of transcendent cinema: a speechless sequence washed in the film's signature downpour, lit to throw Tommy guns and fedoras into stark silhouettes - you watch agape as simple celluloid transforms into poetry. Mendes has the eye, if not yet the ear, to be amongst the greats he honours so much. The luxury is that this is only film two.

    Verdict
    This is supremely crafted, grown-up moviemaking that never escapes its pulp origins. The themes are well worn and the structure predictable, but these are gangster cliches as gift-wrapped by Fortnum & Mason, and the grandeur of the film slips down like fine caviar.
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  16. Apr 19, 2015
    10
    Following a messy murder, hit man Michael Sullivan is betrayed by the man he called father, formidable Irish hood John Rooney. Leaving behind a murdered family and with a killer on his tail, Sullivan goes on the run, hungry for revenge.

    Chastely violent and sombre, the movie is a blood-rush of visual magnificence (take a bow, cinematographer Conrad L. Hall). However, it's at times
    Following a messy murder, hit man Michael Sullivan is betrayed by the man he called father, formidable Irish hood John Rooney. Leaving behind a murdered family and with a killer on his tail, Sullivan goes on the run, hungry for revenge.

    Chastely violent and sombre, the movie is a blood-rush of visual magnificence (take a bow, cinematographer Conrad L. Hall). However, it's at times weighed down by its own gravity, and perhaps too eager to touch its forelock to Mendes' forebears, Scorsese and Coppola, not to mention John Ford's scope and Michael Powell's lushness.

    This is supremely crafted, grown-up moviemaking that never escapes its pulp origins. The themes are well worn and the structure predictable, but these are gangster cliches as gift-wrapped by Fortnum & Mason, and the grandeur of the film slips down like fine caviar.

    One of the best soundtracks and films ever made!
    Expand
  17. Apr 21, 2015
    10
    Following a messy murder, hit man Michael Sullivan is betrayed by the man he called father, formidable Irish hood John Rooney. Leaving behind a murdered family and with a killer on his tail, Sullivan goes on the run, hungry for revenge.

    EARLY in "Road to Perdition," a period gangster film that achieves the grandeur of a classic Hollywood western, John Rooney (Paul Newman), the crusty
    Following a messy murder, hit man Michael Sullivan is betrayed by the man he called father, formidable Irish hood John Rooney. Leaving behind a murdered family and with a killer on his tail, Sullivan goes on the run, hungry for revenge.

    EARLY in "Road to Perdition," a period gangster film that achieves the grandeur of a classic Hollywood western, John Rooney (Paul Newman), the crusty old Irish mob boss in a town somewhere outside Chicago, growls a lament that echoes through the movie like a subterranean rumble: "Sons are put on the earth to trouble their fathers."

    n surveying the world through Michael Jr.'s eyes, the movie captures, like no film I've seen, the fear-tinged awe with which young boys regard their fathers and the degree to which that awe continues to reverberate into adult life. Viewed through his son's eyes, Sullivan, whose face is half-shadowed much of the time by the brim of his fedora, is a largely silent deity, the benign but fearsome source of all knowledge and wisdom. An unsmiling Mr. Hanks does a powerful job of conveying the conflicting emotions roiling beneath Sullivan's grimly purposeful exterior as he tries to save his son and himself from mob execution. It's all done with facial muscles.

    In the flashiest of many visually indelible moments, a cluster of gangsters silhouetted in a heavy rain are systemically mowed down on a Chicago street in a volley of machine-gun flashes that seem to erupt out of nowhere from an unseen assassin. But no shots or voices are heard. The eerie silence is filled by the solemn swell of Mr. Newman's score. It is one of many scenes of violence in which the camera maintains a discreet aesthetic distance from the carnage.

    Road to Perdition is a true tour de force! A remarkable film!
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  18. Apr 25, 2015
    10
    Over the course of his illustrious career, which is well into its third decade, Hanks has played a cross-dresser, a man infatuated by a mermaid, the manager of a women's baseball team, a child in an oversized body, an idiot savant, an AIDS patient, and a man stranded on a desert island. However, during more than four-dozen TV shows and movies, he has yet to challenge himself with the mostOver the course of his illustrious career, which is well into its third decade, Hanks has played a cross-dresser, a man infatuated by a mermaid, the manager of a women's baseball team, a child in an oversized body, an idiot savant, an AIDS patient, and a man stranded on a desert island. However, during more than four-dozen TV shows and movies, he has yet to challenge himself with the most difficult role for a well-liked actor - that of a bad-to-the-bone villain. He comes close in Road to Perdition, but doesn't quite reach that destination. For, although Michael Sullivan is a murderer for hire, he also has a conscience and a soul, loves his family, and kills not because he likes it but because it's his job. In short, Sullivan is portrayed sympathetically. The script's positive spin and Hanks' instant likeability ensure that Sullivan will be viewed not as a bad guy, but as a flawed man. There's some darkness there, to be sure, but not the pitch black of pure evil.

    The film, director Sam Mendes' eagerly anticipated follow-up to American Beauty, is based on the "graphic novel" (a term that is applied to a very long comic book printed on high-quality paper and sold in bookstores) by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner. As with many adaptations from this medium, Road to Perdition stuns with its atmosphere and visuals, but arguably underachieves in some aspects of its characterization and plotting.

    Road to Perdition allows you to feel, smell, and breathe the air of 1930s Chicago. To some extent, Conrad L. Hall is as big a star as any of the actors, since there are occasions when the setting overwhelms the characters. At its heart, Road to Perdition is a little drama about fathers, sons, and the covenants they make and break. Rooney betrays Sullivan to save Connor, even though, to the very end, he loves Sullivan best. Sullivan risks everything, including his life and reputation, to protect Michael. A telling conversation between Rooney and Sullivan italicizes this point. "And there is only one guarantee--none of us will see Heaven," says Rooney. "Michael might," replies Sullivan. Rooney then notes that it's Sullivan's primary duty to make sure that happens.

    Road to Perdition romanticizes gangland Chicago, but no more so than other films set in the same period. And, like almost every movie about the mob, this one deals with themes of family, loyalty, and betrayal - albeit without the intensity of some of the great ones (The Godfather, Goodfellas). As was the case in American Beauty, Mendes illustrates how accomplished actors will respond to an assured director. Serious movie-goers embarking upon this journey will find that Road to Perdition leads to a satisfying destination.
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  19. SteveM.
    Jul 15, 2002
    9
    A very good movie. Hanks, Newman and Law all turn in great performances. The (unknown to me anyway) child actors do a fine job as well, which is rarely the case with young actors such as these. I will admit, the bank robbery of all the dirty money was, perhaps, a little "thin" on the believability scale, but that is only a slight criticism in the wake of a very good movie. Mendes is could A very good movie. Hanks, Newman and Law all turn in great performances. The (unknown to me anyway) child actors do a fine job as well, which is rarely the case with young actors such as these. I will admit, the bank robbery of all the dirty money was, perhaps, a little "thin" on the believability scale, but that is only a slight criticism in the wake of a very good movie. Mendes is could quit now, and already he has accomplished more than 90% of the directors out there. Kudos. Expand
  20. NolanB.
    Aug 4, 2002
    9
    It's no godfather, but it is a touching movie, one of the best in years.
  21. ShaunT.
    Apr 14, 2003
    9
    This rain-drenched movie is not only a spectacularly entertaining adventure, but also a deep story of a father and son, working in unison for a common cause. The cinematography is amazing and the story is the same. Hanks serves up another Oscar-worthy performance in a surprisingly downbeat role. This film is creative and dramatic and lags on no levels. The acting is fabulous and the This rain-drenched movie is not only a spectacularly entertaining adventure, but also a deep story of a father and son, working in unison for a common cause. The cinematography is amazing and the story is the same. Hanks serves up another Oscar-worthy performance in a surprisingly downbeat role. This film is creative and dramatic and lags on no levels. The acting is fabulous and the dreary atmosphere only excentuates the character's yearning for revenge and the longing he now feels as a result of his profession. This is powerful film making and is, by far, one of the best films of 2002. Expand
  22. JeanC.
    Aug 11, 2006
    9
    A brilliant film, actors are very good. A very simple movie, but very stylised also. It's realy a great film.
  23. JohnJ.
    Oct 21, 2002
    9
    Just missed being perfect.
  24. MichaelS.
    Oct 9, 2002
    9
    Great performances (give the oscar to Paul Newman NOW!) and beautiful cinematogrophy! But, it's not really a Capone-film and it goes more to the drama way. But the soundtrack en the director brings everything in it's wright order! Sam Mendes' suprising movie is excellent!
  25. MarcD.
    Jul 10, 2002
    9
    An excellent film. The use of contrasting levels of sound throughout the film really heightens the drama in the shoot-em-up sequences. Hanks hasn't been this good since "Philadelphia," and Newman's role is understated and well-executed. Sam Mendes is clearly a solid 2 for 2 after this one. I have a feeling when he hangs 'em up, he'll be right up there with the greats. An excellent film. The use of contrasting levels of sound throughout the film really heightens the drama in the shoot-em-up sequences. Hanks hasn't been this good since "Philadelphia," and Newman's role is understated and well-executed. Sam Mendes is clearly a solid 2 for 2 after this one. I have a feeling when he hangs 'em up, he'll be right up there with the greats. Oh, and I appreciated his use of the Uroboros. Expand
  26. JerryH.
    Jul 11, 2002
    9
    This is high quality stuff. I think Mendes shows his hand a bit to much with the opening shot (wouldn't it have been nice to just use sound there) and the movie feels a touch slow pacing wise, but overall the words are strong, the acting is strong, and the cinematography and sound are spectacular. This is a director using all that film has to offer to compose a quality picture with This is high quality stuff. I think Mendes shows his hand a bit to much with the opening shot (wouldn't it have been nice to just use sound there) and the movie feels a touch slow pacing wise, but overall the words are strong, the acting is strong, and the cinematography and sound are spectacular. This is a director using all that film has to offer to compose a quality picture with humanity and a touch of grace. Well done by everyone. Expand
  27. NateM.
    Jul 13, 2002
    9
    This movie was near perfect. My complaints are in the failure to develop three characters: Jude Law, Hanks's wife, and Connor Rooney. These failures are forgiveable in that the movie is certainly among the best of the recent past and certainly will be a major Oscar contender. Just wished for another 30 minutes to figure out what was going through those 3 characters' heads.
  28. SusanS.
    Jul 20, 2002
    9
    A solid, beautiful movie about fathers and sons. I agree with the choice to show the son at the beginning--it took away the tension anyone would have about his fate, and allowed the focus to shift to the events and relationships on the way. No scene was wasted (although the robbing banks was a tad thin), and one of my few complaints is the short-changed development between John and A solid, beautiful movie about fathers and sons. I agree with the choice to show the son at the beginning--it took away the tension anyone would have about his fate, and allowed the focus to shift to the events and relationships on the way. No scene was wasted (although the robbing banks was a tad thin), and one of my few complaints is the short-changed development between John and Conner; I wish there had been some parallel between Michael and young Michael--some of that fear of the son growing up to be the father. I would complain of the lack of strong women, but the only thing I'll say is that I wish they had cast a lesser known actress for the wife, so that viewers are less dissapointed in the one-dimensional role. I do wish that the wife had had a deeper role, but of all the sacrifices to make, that was probably a reasonable one. The bits of narration at the beginning and end could've been revised and, at the end, perhaps left out entirely; especially at the end it felt redundant and slightly hokey--something I would expect from a lesser movie. The performances were all strong and subtle, and the cinematography lovely. The end was predictable, but it felt sadly inevitable rather than cheap--it came off as hopeful, but not innocent. Expand
  29. RobertH.
    Jul 12, 2002
    9
    Just came back from seeing the movie. It was suspenseful and absolutely brilliant. Tom Hanks and Paul Newman were simply great. The cinematography was breathtaking. Sam Mendes is starting to look like a superstar of a director. Kudos to all.
  30. MichaelF.
    Jul 12, 2002
    9
    It's a very very, almost excellent film. What keeps the film from being as good as it should've been is the fact that it wasn't long enough, like 30mins. too short. There's nothing I would've cut out but there needed to be more scenes that really gave the charaters more depth, more development. I also felt that, call me insane, none of the actors had a scene where It's a very very, almost excellent film. What keeps the film from being as good as it should've been is the fact that it wasn't long enough, like 30mins. too short. There's nothing I would've cut out but there needed to be more scenes that really gave the charaters more depth, more development. I also felt that, call me insane, none of the actors had a scene where they could really SHINE. If they added those last 30mins., then this would be probably the best mob movie, short of Godfathers Part 1 and II of course. It's totally different from most, if not, all past mob movies. If I had to compare it, I'd compare it to Miller's Crossing meets The Shawshank Redemption. Great musical score by the genious, Thomas Newman. Brilliantly filmed and well written. If only there was just more, I didn't want it to end. More Tucci, more Hanks, more Newman, more Hoechlin, more Baker, more Jennifer Jason Leigh, more everything. It's is not a slow movie by the way. Expand
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Results are classy entertainment with little to interest women viewers but very shrewdly and cleverly put together, and probably more rewarding in long-range terms if you invest in Fox or Dreamworks than if you actually see the movie.
  2. 100
    Overflowing with melancholy and tragedy, Road to Perdition is one of the most somber gangster pictures ever made.
  3. 50
    On screen, Road to Perdition becomes a lace-curtain shoot-'em-up about fathers and sons. The graphic novel is more kinetic and more powerful than the motion picture.