Dead Man (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dead Man (1995)

Dead Man



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Jim Jarmusch takes his quirky, uniquely modern sensibilities back in time, with this western black comedy about a city slicker turned gunfighter, on the run with an enigmatic Indian buddy in the Northwest wilderness.more
Rating: R
Genre: Western, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Jim Jarmusch
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 3, 2001


Johnny Depp
as William Blake
Lance Henriksen
as Cole Wilson
Michael Wincott
as Conway Twill
Mili Avital
as Thel Russell
Crispin Glover
as The Fireman
Eugene Byrd
as Johnyy `The Kid' Pic...
Iggy Pop
as Salvatore `Sally' Je...
Robert Mitchum
as John Dickinson
Gabriel Byrne
as Charlie Dickinson
John Hurt
as John Scholfield
Alfred Molina
as Missionary
Jimmie Ray Weeks
as Marvin, Older Marsh...
Mark Bringelson
as Lee, Younger Marsha...
Michelle Thrush
as Nobody's Girlfriend
Mike Dawson
as Old Man with Wanted ...
Gibby Haines
as Man in the Alley
John C. Pattison
as Trading Post Man No....
George Duckworth
as Man at End of Street
Richard Boes
as Man with Wrench
Mickey McGee
as Bartender (Uncredite...
Mike Dowson
as Old Man with Wanted ...
John Pattison
as Trading Post Man No....
Todd Pfeiffer
as Trading Post Man No....
Leonard Bowechop
as Mahah Villager
Cecil Cheeka
as Mahah Villager
Michael McCarty
as Mahah Villager
Johnny Pfeiffer
as Man at Trading Post
Thomas Bettles
as Young Nobody No. 1
Daniel Chas Stacy
as Young Nobody No. 2
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Dead Man

Critic Reviews for Dead Man

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (14)

Coy to a fault, the movie collapses under its own weight with 90 minutes to go, despite Robby MĂuller's impressive black-and-white photography, which puts the film on a higher artistic plane than other equally unbearable movies.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

It seems to be Blake's name as much as anything that propels the character deep into a strange frontier where Blakean ideals of innocence and integrity have been obliterated by ignorance and cruelty.

Full Review… | January 9, 2012
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

a low-key classic of strangely poetic beauty - a western for sleepwalkers and dreamers.

Full Review… | January 5, 2009
Eye for Film

I was held by Depp's transformation from white-man non-entity to the Jarmusch version of the affectless Man With No Name.

Full Review… | December 30, 2006

Jarmusch's lyrical update on the western genre is a real joy.

October 27, 2006

Quite exquisite. Beautiful, really.

Full Review… | September 26, 2006
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Dead Man


Mild-mannered accountant Bill Blake heads West, shoots a man because he's in the wrong place at the wrong time, and flees to the wilderness where he's befriended by an Indian named Nobody who believes he is the poet William Blake. Strange, mystical Western that never exactly turns surreal but always feels like a dream; the once-in-a-lifetime cast of Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Robert Mitchum, Gabriel Byrne, John Hurt, Lance Henrikson, Crispin Glover, Billy Bob Thornton and Iggy Pop is reason enough to watch it.

Greg S

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

It's very difficult to pin down what this film is always doing right and what it is doing strange. Described by the very director as being an acid Western, this has also been referred to as a neo-neo-realistic Western and a plethora of other intellectual terms. Jarmusch certainly is vibrant and cool in places, mixing the deep riffs of Neil Young on electric guitar in the background with black and white tracking shots of the surrounding forest. His use of visuals, light, and cinematography really resonant after you watch it, and yet coil your stomach at the same time. What works especially well is the lack of overacting and the simplistic and yet precise directing, which leaves you with long, powerful scenes of men in the black wilderness, fighting each other, looking for meaning, and finding themselves out of their element. What is strange, and perplexes even the most seasoned of critics, is what exactly Jarmusch is trying to get through with this surrealist venture, or if there is any meaning at all. His characters spout the verses of poet William Blake, the name of the main character, who is under a mistaken identity, travelling with a Native American companion, and goes through with the ruse from there. Apparently Jarmusch stayed true to the Native American culture as well, and is one of the only white directors to take on that ethnicity and found depth and fortitude in complex storytelling. Personally, I found Blake's inner turmoil over his life's many changes and pitfalls, and then going through with the ruse to the point of exaltation and crime, to be of the same content as coming of age stories, but with a much broader approach. Though the film looks generally indie, it cost an astonishing 9 million dollars, in order to stay historically accurate. The backgrounds, costumes, and most of the historical detailing were very impressive, and were easily noticed. Jarmusch also gets use of a large cast of esteemed actors, including Johnny Depp, Robert Mitchum (in his final role), Billy Bob Thornton, and Gary Farmer, and utilizes them to their full potential, even in small scenes that would usually call for understatement. (When Iggy Pop is onscreen, you have to take notice.) Overall a mixed bag between the pretention of vagueness, the monotony of slow scenes, and the depth of meaning, however interpreted by the audience.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Dead Man Quotes

Nobody: Stupid fucking white man.
Nobody: Every night and every morn, some to misery are born. Every morn and every night, some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight; some are born to endless night.
– Submitted by Mahesh W (4 years ago)
John Dickinson: The only job you're likely to have is pushin' up daises.
– Submitted by timothy r (4 years ago)
Nobody: Stupid fucking white man.
– Submitted by timothy r (4 years ago)

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