The Dead (1987)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The final film of legendary director John Huston was based on the closing story of James Joyce's Dubliners. Anjelica Huston is top-billed as Gretta Conroy, the niece by marriage of turn-of-century Irish spinsters Kate Morkan (Helena Carroll) and Julia Morkan (Cathleen Delany). At the home of these two curious ladies, Gretta is prodded into remembering her long-dead lover. She tearfully reveals to her husband (Donal McCann) that the deceased boy may well have died on her behalf. Her tale of woe … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Tony Huston
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 10, 2006
Vestron UK Ltd.


as Gabriel

as Aunt Kate

as Aunt Julia

as Aunt Julia Morkan

as Mary Jane

as Bartell D'Arcy

as Freddy Malins

as Mrs. Malins

as Molly Ivors

as Molly Ivors

as Mr. Grace

as Miss Furlong

as Miss O'Callaghan

as Miss Higgins

as Miss Higgins

as Miss Daly

as Miss Power

as Mr. Bergin

as Mr. Kerrigan

as Mr. Duffy

as Young Lady

as Young Gentleman

as Nightporter

as Nightporter
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Dead

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Critic Reviews for The Dead

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (7)

There's also a rather awesome and unpretentious directness as well as calmness about the way that Huston contemplates his own rapidly approaching death.

Full Review… | February 5, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A well-crafted miniature, this dramatization of the Joyce story directly addresses the theme of how the 'shades' from 'that other world' can still live in those who still walk the earth.

Full Review… | February 5, 2008
Top Critic

A beguiling chamber piece.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

That Huston should have dared search for the story's cinema life is astonishing. That he should have found it with such seeming ease is the mark of a master.

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

Huston was an old man when he died, but he had not withered dismally with age because he still had the courage and the imagination to attempt to make an impossible film of the greatest story that he had ever read.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The movie was Huston's last and it's a great culminating work. As such, it couldn't be more perfect.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Dead

Irish bourgeois gather for the Feast of the Epiphany in this adaptation of James Joyce's story.
When I read Joyce's story in Dubliners, I thought that it was unfilmable. The conflict exists in the passage of time, the inability to really know another, and the inevitability of death -- all themes that can be conveyed but with the subtlety inherent in Joyce's writing. And when I finished John Huston's adaptation of the story, my opinions haven't changed. What emerges in Huston's work is a work of too much subtlety, and I doubt that I would understand the story's point had I not read Joyce's original work. In fact, I think the film is a good "visual Cliff's Notes" of the story.
The performances by Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann are both quite strong. I've never seen Huston as vulnerable as she is in the final scene, and her performance gives the film the grace and emotional power it needs.
Overall, this is not a bad film; it's just a good attempt at the impossible.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

It carries a whole universe of emotions.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer


This is a boring watch. However, it is important to keep in mind that it's intentional. The story is supposed to be awkward, so to the audience, the film will assuredly come across as boring. Still, this was a brilliant adaptation of the famous James Joyce novel. Most of the characters were true to the book with only a few flaws here and there. The tone and setting was spot on, though. Overall, watcheable, but not necessarily the most enjoyable film I have seen.

Jameson Worley

Super Reviewer

The Dead Quotes

– Submitted by Pete H (3 years ago)

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