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A Prayer for the Dying (1987)

Mickey Rourke , Bob Hoskins , Mike Hodges  |  R |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins, Alan Bates, Sammi Davis, Christopher Fulford
  • Directors: Mike Hodges
  • Writers: Edmund Ward, Jack Higgins, Martin Lynch
  • Producers: Bruce Rubenstein, Christabel Albery, Peter Snell, Samuel Goldwyn Jr.
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: February 4, 2003
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007EFIJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,679 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Prayer for the Dying" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Mickey Rourke (9 1/2 Weeks) gives "his finest performance to date" (L.A. Weekly) in this hair-trigger action-thriller co-starring Bob Hoskins (Enemy at the Gates), Alan Bates (The Sum of All Fears) and Liam Neeson (Star Wars: Episode I). A gritty tale of retribution and redemption, A Prayer for the Dying has "a brisk style and an edgy rhythm" (The New York Times) that will keep your heart racing in suspense until the final frame! Tormented IRA revolutionary Martin Fallon (Rourke) wants out of the endless cycle of violence and bloodshed. Unfortunately, the price for his freedom is to perform one last murder for a ruthless mobster (Bates). As the vicious world he's trying to escape closes in on him, Fallon's only hope for salvation may be the man he's been ordered to kill.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten and overlooked dramatic gem. January 30, 2004
I picked up "A Prayer for the Dying" on a whime one day. I have always liked Mickey Rourke and I think he is one of the most underrated actors int he business. I never heard of this film before and bought it and not knowing how good it would be. Upon viewing the film I couldn't help thinking how much better this movie could have been. Mickey Rourke gives an absolutly moving performance as a hit man wanting to give up his evil ways. I know that that has been used as a plot for a hundred movies, but this is easily one of the better of those films. Some people Bob Hoskins as miscast int he role of the Priest, but I found him to also give a good performance. Overall I was very moved by the film. I only wish it went a little more in depth with Bob Hoskins character. It gives hints that he and Mickey Rourke's character are much alike, but doesn't go into real depth. I have also heard that Mickey Rourke was upset with the final result of the film. Though it could have been much better, it still comes off as a very good dramatic piece of cinema. This film is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but could have been better. September 4, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
A Prayer for the Dying was one of my favorite books of all time. So I was a little concerned about watching a movie adaptation of it. I mean, many movies ever stand up well to the book? This one doesn't. However, on it's own it's an entertaining and interesting flick. Overall the plot follows the book well, taking an ex-IRA executioner from fugitive to murderer to hero. What this movie lacks is character development. With the exception of Fallon (Micky Rourke) all the people are shallow and one dimensional. The priest, Father de Costa (play ok by Bob Hoskins) never really seems the force he was in the book. You never know what drives him to try and save Fallon from this life of violence, when in the book it's de Costa's own past that mirrors Fallon. Alan Bates as the villan Meehan never really seems to get into the part. Where Meehan is dark, sinister, and VERY complex in the book here he's just there, with a little violence thrown in.
One of the best sub-plots of this movie, though, wasn't even in the book. Liam Neeson plays an IRA hit man on Fallon's trail. He is also Fallons best friend and the conflict between the two emotions are played up wonderfully, leading to a violent end. It adds a great suspense to the whole thing.
One other exceptional thing about this movie is the score. Bill Conti (of Rocky fame) really captures the mood throughout. Great music!
Overall, I liked this movie. Again, I would have like to see more character development of de Costa and Meehan, but still it's a great plot.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give us DVD version! April 13, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
As usual, Mickey Rourke trying to escape from himself and everybody else, but will he succeed?.. However, I remember it as quite touching film. With IRA assassin, priest and a blind girl, you have helpless GOOD and an ultimate EVIL. I would recommend this film for those who haven't seen it. Me myself, still waiting for DVD version...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasingly Plausible June 19, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Deeply atmospheric, yet unpretentious, this is one of those all too rare films in which the characters are truly believable.
Set in mid eighties London amidst the paranoia of the troubles in Northern Ireland; a traumatised former terrorist attempts to escape his violent lifestyle, hindered by a blackmailing local gangster.
The entire cast are superb and it is the acting which makes this film so captivating. There are numerous awkward silences and the characters' voices falter occasionally, in precisely the same way as they do when real people speak to one another. Do we all conduct our lives reading from a script? Of course we don't and this film excels by allowing it's characters to be subtly but realistically imperfect.
What a shame this lesson has since been overlooked by the majority of Directors worldwide (Watch and learn, guys!). Meanwhile this will remain as the best film I have ever seen.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Loved this movie, and thoroughly enjoyed Mickey Rourke's wonderful performance. It was my only chance to hear him speak with a very convincing Irish accent, and see him with reddish hair. Excellent plot, action, very nice cinematography and soundtrack. A real gem.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity November 5, 2011
A Prayer For The Dying is one of those film that could of been a great film. It had great filmmaker Mike Hodges from classic masterpiece Get Carter and the underrated cult thriller The Terminal Man. A great cast Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins and Alan Bates. What could of got wrong?

I actually liked the film there were time I tried to dislike it. Yes it has got flaws like the music too melodramatic, I heard that the original composer John Scott got fired and that the producer hired Rocky composer Bill Conti. Also the edit is a messy. I know most critics didn't like rourke's Irish accent, in my honest opinion it wasn't that bad. At least tried unlike Sean Connery who played an irish policeman in the Untouchables and he still sounded Scottish and he won an Oscar for it.

I really like see the director's cut of A Prayer For The Dying as I really believe that the film was made for the best intentions but you can see the film was interfered by producer who are not filmmakers. I read in a book that Mike Hodges was talking to MGM the opportunity of releasing his cut. Sadly this never happened, maybe as Mickey Rourke has now got his comeback maybe. Watch this space.Get Carter
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A good movie, but not great, so only 3 stars.
Published 26 days ago by Leslie Dell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic movie by Mickey Rourke....but where is the Sound Tract................
Published 1 month ago by Ray W. Lacoste
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful Thriller!
This movie belongs to a special breed that runs on plot rather than special effects. No triple-ninja-back-flip-slow-motion-double-barralled-anihilation, but plenty of tension,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Bailey
4.0 out of 5 stars A Prayer For The Dying
Mickey Rourke is at his usual best in this one. He's a good guy for a change and his Irish accent is impeccable. He saves a girl's life by sacrificing his own. Read more
Published 11 months ago by sue owens
4.0 out of 5 stars a prayer for the dying
A nice role for Mickey Rourke, and done before his face was disfigured. Bob Hoskins and Allen Bates are in it as well. A good view of the "troubles" and the IRA. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Dolores M. Gelly
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than I expected
Excellent acting from Alan Bates, Bob Hoskins & Mickey Rourke. The story could have been better. However the direction was excellent especially in the the church scenes.
Published 17 months ago by Eve Galewitz
5.0 out of 5 stars a prayer for the dying
love mickey rourke and his performance as an IRA man was very intriguing but didn't like the part of blowing up the school bus to me that just didn't ring true
Published 17 months ago by Jeannie
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good film. Should have more views.
Jack Higgins/Harry Patterson is a known master of the action thriller genre. What sets him apart from other writers in the genre how he makes the characters more "alive". Read more
Published 18 months ago by muttonchops
5.0 out of 5 stars Redemption for a lost soul
Mickey Rourke plays Martin Fallon an IRA hitman who after a bombing that kills a van load of children has reached his fill and goes to England intent on getting a passport and... Read more
Published on July 27, 2012 by Arctos
4.0 out of 5 stars cool 80's movie
this is a decent movie if you can get over mickey rourke's horrible irish accent. it's more of a drama film then a "shoot em up" but it's got a good story line and well worth... Read more
Published on July 7, 2011 by ph
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