Bringing Out the Dead (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bringing Out the Dead (1999)



Critic Consensus: Stunning and compelling, Scorsese and Cage succeed at satisfying the audience.

Bringing Out the Dead Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Nicolas Cage plays EMS paramedic Frank Pierce. It is the early 1990's and New York has not yet undergone its renaissance of recent years. Surrounded by the injured and the dying, Frank is dwelling in an urban night-world, crumbling under the accumulated weight of too many years of saving and losing lives. The film follows Frank over the course of fifty-six hours in his life - two days and three nights on the job - as he reaches the very brink of spiritual collapse and redemption.more
Rating: R (for gritty violent content, drug use and language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Joseph Connelly, Paul Schrader
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 9, 2000
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


Mary Beth Hurt
as Nurse Constance
Cliff Curtis
as Cy Coates
Nestor Serrano
as Dr. Hazmat
Aida Turturro
as Nurse Crupp
Sonja Sohn
as Kanita
Arthur J. Nascarella
as Captain Barney
Julyana Soelistyo
as Sister Fetus
Graciela Lecube
as Neighbor No. 1
Marylouise Burke
as Neighbor No. 2
Mary Diveny
as Neighbor No. 3
Martin Scorsese
as Dispatcher
Tom Riis Farrell
as John Burke
Harper James Simon
as I.B. Bangin'
Charis Michelson
as I.B.'s Girlfriend
Lia Yang
as Dr. Milagros
Rosemary Gomez
as Pregnant Maria
Richard Spore
as Homeless Suicidal
Aleks Shaklin
as Arguing Russian
Leonid Citer
as Arguing Russian
Jesus A. Del Rosario...
as Man with Bloody Foot
Theo Kogan
as Prostitute
Fuschia Walker
as Prostitute
Matthew Maher
as Mr. Oh's Friend
Bronson Dudley
as Mr. Oh's Friend
Marilyn McDonald
as Mr. Oh's Friend
Ed Jupp Jr.
as Homeless Man in Wait...
J. Stanford Hoffman
as Homeless Man in Wait...
Rita Norona Schrager
as Concerned Hispanic A...
Don Berry
as Naked Man
Mtume Gant
as Street Punk
Charlene Hunter
as Miss Williams
Jesse Malin
as Club Doorman
Jon Abrahams
as Club Bystander
Antone Pagan
as Arrested Man
Melissa Marsala
as Bridge & Tunnel Girl
Betty Miller
as Weeping Woman
Sylva Kelegian
as Crackhead
Frank Ciornei
as Dr. Mishra
Catrina Ganey
as Nurse Odette
Jennifer Lane Newman
as Nurse Advisor
John Bal
as Policeman in Hospita...
Raymond Cassar
as Policeman in Hospita...
James Hanlon
as Fireman
Mark Girodano
as Police Sergeant
Michael Mulheren
as Cop in Elevator
David Zayas
as Cop in Elevator
Terry Serpico
as Cop No. 1
Brian Smyj
as Cop No. 2
Floyd Resnick
as Cop No. 3
Megan Leigh
as Surgeon
David Vasquez
as Screaming Man
Judy Reyes
as ICU Nurse
Joseph Reidy
as ICU Nurse
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Bringing Out the Dead

Critic Reviews for Bringing Out the Dead

All Critics (113) | Top Critics (27)

Its hard-to-pin-down tone is frighteningly original -- simultaneously world-weary and adolescent with an aura of perpetual anxiety, as if the characters and filmmakers were in pursuit of a catharsis everyone knows will never come.

Full Review… | September 17, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Of course, it's immaculately crafted and exhilaratingly paced, but in the end it's never as emotionally involving as it could and should be.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Scorsese doesn't trust the power of simplicity to rock us.

Full Review… | August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

The auteur has definitely left his distinctive mark, but too seldom and too narrowly.

Full Review… | March 19, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

I congratulate Martin Scorsese on this miraculous triumph over his personal demons, and pray for the swift recovery of his art.

Full Review… | August 21, 2009

A frankly disturbing experience since Cage is at his most manic, the images are brutal, the documentary-style background intense and the (inevitable) theme of redemption a long time emerging.

Full Review… | September 17, 2008

Audience Reviews for Bringing Out the Dead


Frank Pierce: I'd always had nightmares, but now the ghosts didn't wait for me to sleep. 

Bringing Out the Dead is a very interesting film that is another character study from Martin Scorsese, much like Raging Bull or Taxi Driver. Now, it isn't as good as either of those, but it's still Scorsese and all the signs of his presence are there. Much like Taxi Driver, he brings the city of New York into the story as another character, almost. The city is filthy, the hospitals jam packed. Many people can't even get treated because there's just too much for the doctors to handle. 

Frank is an ambulance driver in New York City. He hasn't been getting much sleep lately and we see three nights of him on the job. He's being haunted by those who have died on him, especially an 18 year old girl named Rose that he lost 6 months earlier. He's cracking, he's losing his mind, and he's an alcoholic. The first night we see him take in an older man who just had a heart attack. Frank soon forms a sort of bond with the mans daughter. 

Nicholas Cage is perfect in the role of Frank Pierce. This is the type of role that he was born to play and that he thrives in, as it plays right to his strengths. It allows him to be eccentric, but also lazy. It's much like his performance in Leaving Las Vegas. The rest of the cast is well picked too. John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Tom Sizemore, and even Patricia Arquette(who I am not a fan of) are great in their respected roles.

In the end, this is always going to be a forgotten Scorsese film. It doesn't quite live up to his standard, but it's still an extremely well made and tense film. So what it's labeled "lesser-Scorsese." Whenever Scorsese is in the directors chair, you can be certain it's going to be a film worth watching, and Bringing Out the Dead is no exception. Don't expect another Taxi Driver or Raging Bull. Just expect some more solid filmmaking from one of the greats.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Second viewing, ten years after the first, and believe it or not I find this movie worse than I did the first time - and, sadly, I actually like the premise: a paramedic who's starting to feel the ghosts of his calling catch up to him and who's breaking down as a result. I see why Cage seemed like the right choice - he's played the worn-down type since Leaving Las Vegas - but he's so unbearably flat that I can't cheer for him. He's a passenger in his own life, and few to none of the problems in the film get resolved, which can work sometimes, but here it's just clunky. There's a half hour in the middle that's almost compelling, but the hump at the beginning, the mad veering off in all directions and the abrupt ending overwhelm the good stuff. The best part for me was John Goodman, but he quits the job about 30 minutes in and we never see him again. I will credit Scorsese for the gritty night-time style; I see how he was trying to go back to Taxi Driver. But layering over this film was rambunctious Rolling Stones and Clash tracks didn't do the action any favours, it just jarred the viewer, over and over, with little to no gain from it. Everyone lays an egg at some point in their career, I guess. This one's Scorsese's. It comes off like a half-baked episode of ER.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


A modern Taxi Driver. Bringing Out the Dead it's more a great masterpiece by Scorsese, which, unfortunately, doesn't had the attention that deserve. Nicolas Cage also present an outstanding acting on the screen.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Bringing Out the Dead Quotes

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– Submitted by Kia M (3 years ago)

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