City of Hope (1991)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Set in the fictional New Jersey metropolis of Hudson, three intricately interwoven tales involving real estate, robbery, and racial tension comprise a complex study of crime, corruption, and political machinery.
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Samuel Goldwyn Company

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Joe Morton
as Wynn
Gloria Foster
as Jeanette
Kevin Tighe
as O'Brien
Josh Mostel
as Mad Anthony
Jojo Smollett
as Desmond
Charlie Yanko
as Stavros
Scott Tiler
as Vinnie
Frankie Faison
as Levonne
Tom Wright
as Malik
David Strathairn
as Asteroid
Maggie Renzi
as Connie
S.J. Lang
as Bauer
Bob North
as District Attorney
Randle Mell
as Simms
Joe Grifasi
as Pauly
Louis Zorich
as Mayor Baci
Gina Gershon
as Laurie
Miriam Colon
as Mrs. Ramirez
Daryl Edwards
as Franklin
Jaime Tirelli
as Fuentes
Serafin Jovet
as Ramirez
Bernard Canepari
as Stroczyk
Blair Shannon
as Security Guard
Tony Davis
as Kyle
Jon De Vries
as Dean Milford
Ginny Yang
as Suzanne
Lawrence Tierney
as Kerrigan
Maeve Kinkead
as Christine
Dale Carman
as Roger
Ray Aranha
as Errol
John Farris
as Kevin
Jon Farris
as Kevin
Darryl Edwards
as Franklin
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Critic Reviews for City of Hope

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (3)

Sayles' strategy is unique and sneaky without being self-serving... An epic-scale examination of how the bad guy never knows he's the bad guy.

Full Review… | June 21, 2012

Though flawed, Sayles' most ambitious film to date confronts modern America as it is beset with explosive racial and class tensions, escalating crime, political corruption, and police brutality.

Full Review… | June 1, 2006

A rare Sayles misstep that lets the message overrule the material.

April 28, 2005
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

A powerful and profound film about what is wrong with our cities and what it will take to save them.

Full Review… | July 12, 2003
Spirituality and Practice

A closed circle of aspiration and compromise, simple hopes impossibly complicated by the stark realities of life in a kind of wartime.

Full Review… | July 6, 2002
Film Freak Central

I found the romance between Spano and Williams to be very believable and moving.

Full Review… | August 12, 2001
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for City of Hope

Between a 7/10 and 8/10, Sayles' strategy is unique and sneaky without being self-serving... An epic-scale examination of how the bad guy never knows he's the bad guy.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

This is a good movie. A film that tackles racial problems, politics, corruption, protests, and urban life. "City Of Hope" is the American microcosm where all these diffrent stories and where most of the characters bump into one another. Sort of like taking all these ingridents and adding it into the stirring pot. Filmmaker John Sayles has taken this interconnected story that would remind one of the works of Robert Altman, Paul Thomas Anderson or Paul Haggis. Cinematographer Robert Richardson photographs with his trademark of using a bright key light shinning vividly on the cast and uses reds, yellows and other sources of lights to enhance the story. It's funny to also see Richardson in a small cameo scene as one of the convicts sitting silently at a police precinct. John Sayles also plays a part in the picture as Carl. A corrupted mechanic who wants piece of the action. Sayles's performace is chillingly frieghtning and brilliant adding another layer in the city of hope. A city pulses with racial problems, political corruption, and small-time crime in this ambitious microcosm of urban life, written and directed by John Sayles. Nick Rinaldi (Vincent Spano), a lost soul usually high on drink and drugs, has spent his life in one New Jersey city, getting free rides from his connected father (Tony LoBianco) and hearing the locals talk of his brother's death in Vietnam. Searching for more control, Nick quits the cushy contractor's job provided by his Dad, feeling that major events are about to happen to him. That feeling proves accurate -- by film's end his life will change, as will the lives of many others. Nick is only the center of the movie's sprawling collection of people and plotlines; Sayles takes full advantage of this expansive landscape, as he often begins shooting one conversation, only to pull back and eavesdrop on another, in one smooth, intriguing shot. By listening in, we slowly learn about the citizens and their dilemmas, as the city's woes bubble to a narrative climax. Many of Sayles' regular players are on-screen (the movie features 52 roles), including Joe Morton as a frustrated councilman and David Strathairn as a disturbed street person.

Brian R
Brian R

Super Reviewer


Sayles best work by far. Simply an amazing film, a must for fans of the Wire. The fact this isn't available on DVD is proof of a cruel uncaring god.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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