Miller's Crossing (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

Miller's Crossing (1990)



Critic Consensus: Though possibly more notable for its distinctive style than an airtight story, this Coen brothers take on the classic gangster flick features sharp dialogue, impressive cinematography, and a typically quirky cast of characters.

Miller's Crossing Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Joel Coen's and Ethan Coen's third film is a dark, moody gangland epic. The typically complex Coen plot centers on the machinations of Leo, the tough Irish mob boss, and his partner-in-crime Tom (Gabriel Byrne). The Italian mob faction is still gaining its footing in the community, which does not please the violent Mafioso Johnny Caspar (Jon Polito). Johnny's got it in for Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro), a small-time hood horning in on the Italians' action, but Leo has sworn to protect Bernie from harm as a favor to his lover, Verna (Marcia Gay Harden), Bernie's sister--who's also having an affair with Tom. A problem drinker and gambler, Tom owes a huge sum of money to his bookie; after he and Leo come to blows over Verna, Tom is forced to align himself with Caspar. As an act of loyalty to his new boss, Tom must kill Bernie, but fakes the murder, only to watch in dismay as Bernie decides to blackmail Tom over his inability to carry out his assignment, an action that leads to a full-scale mob war.more
Rating: R
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 20, 2003
20th Century Fox


Gabriel Byrne
as Tom Reagan
John Turturro
as Bernie Bernbaum
Jon Polito
as Johnny Caspar
J.E. Freeman
as Eddie Dane
Mike Starr
as Frankie
George Fernandez
as Caspar's Cousin
Al Mancini
as Tic-Tac
Richard Woods
as Mayor Dale Levander
Thomas Toner
as O'Doole
Mario Todisco
as Clarence `Drop' John...
Louis Charles Mounic...
as Johnny Caspar Jr.
John McConnell
as Brian, a Cop
Danny Aiello III
as Delahanty, a Cop
Helen Jolly
as Screaming Lady
Hilda McLean
as Landlady
Kevin Dearie
as Street Urchin
Michael Badalucco
as Caspar's Driver
Charles Ferrara
as Caspar's Butler
Charles Gunning
as Hitman at Verna's
Dave Drinkx
as Hitman No. 2
Monte Starr
as Gunman in Leo's Hous...
Don Picard
as Gunmen in Leo's Hous...
David Darlow
as Lazarre's Messenger
Jack David Harris
as Man with Pipe Bomb
Jery Hewitt
as Son of Erin
Sam Raimi
as Snickering Gunman
John Schnauder Jr.
as Cop with Bullhorn
Esteban Fernandez
as Caspar's Cousin
Robert La Brosse
as Lazarre's Tough
Carl Rooney
as Lazarre's Toughs
Bill Raye
as Boxer
Jack Harris
as Man with Pipe Bomb
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Miller's Crossing

Critic Reviews for Miller's Crossing

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (11)

Substance is here in spades, along with the twisted, brilliantly controlled style on which filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen made a name.

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
Top Critic

It never fully convinces in terms of either period or plot.

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The Coens' take on Depression-era gangster flicks, looks gorgeous and showcases John Turturro's best acting ever.

August 14, 2007
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

It's arguably the US mainstream's first art movie since Days of Heaven; and quite wonderful.

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

Without much point at all.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

[The Coen brothers'] most complicated and dense movie.

Full Review… | December 22, 2013
Antagony & Ecstasy

Audience Reviews for Miller's Crossing


This is a brilliant and highly original gangster picture. It's a superb Coen Brothers film too. It's one of their absolute best, and I highly recommend it. The plot, like a majority of films from the Coens is very complex and twisty, but it makes for some very rewarding multiple viewings. In fact, there's so much detail and subtlety layered in this film that new stuff continues to creep out each time you watch it. It's the sort of film that you don't have to watch more than once to appreciate it, but you should, because you will appreciate it even more. Gabriel Byrne, JohnTurturro, John Polito, and Albert Finney all give superb performances. Carter Burwell's score, and Barry Sonnenfeld's camera work are brilliant. To sum it all up: this is a brilliant film, and a noirish gangster masterpiece.

As for the plot: well, I said it was complex, and, yeah, I'm not lying. Well, actually, the basic plot is simple: a guy caught up in a feud between warring gangster factions plays both sides against the other to help his the side he really wants to win come out on top. He just happens to go about it in a very convoluted and messy way, and that's what makes it complex. They even mention in the film how the character is prone to go about things in this manner.

It makes for some interesting viewing, and it's also a nice study of loyalty, ethics, and figuring out what people want, and why they do the things they do. A lot of the film is subtle, but there are some moments that go a bit over the top and off the rails (John Polito tends to scream most of his lines), and the recurring trope of howling fat men is here (aside from Polito). And the other howling fat guy is one of the few moments in this film that bugs me. It sticks out, goes on for too long, and doesn't really have much purpose other than, I guess, to add some levity, which isn't really needed. There's a couple other moments like that, but they don't get to me like this one does.

All in all, I really love this movie. It's a stylish gangster pic that both pays homage to the genre, and kinda flips it on its side a bit. But, given how it's from Joel and Ethan Coen, that should be expected.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

A classic Coen brothers film. Director, Joel Coen and his brother Producer, Ethan Coen crafted a stylish, brutal and disturbingly beautiful gangster epic that has shady characters, dark humor, crackling dialogue, brilliant performances and electric twist and turns. It;s a total triumph. A blisteringly entertaining and powerful movie. An electrifying piece of work and leaves its mark. Gabriel Byrne gives a terrific and riveting performance. Albert Finney is brilliant. Marcia Gay Harden is terrific. John Turturro gives probably his best performance ever in this film

Al S

Super Reviewer

Miller's Crossing Quotes

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– Submitted by Saurabh M (3 years ago)

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