Dead Man (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dead Man (1995)

Dead Man (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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.

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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' Pickett
Iggy Pop
as Salvatore `Sally' Jenko
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 Marshal
Mark Bringelson
as Lee, Younger Marshal
Michelle Thrush
as Nobody's Girlfriend
Mike Dawson
as Old Man with Wanted Posters
Gibby Haines
as Man in the Alley
John C. Pattison
as Trading Post Man No. 1
George Duckworth
as Man at End of Street
Richard Boes
as Man with Wrench
Mickey McGee
as Bartender (Uncredited)
Mike Dowson
as Old Man with Wanted Posters
Gibby Haynes
as Man with Gun in Alley
John Pattison
as Trading Post Man No. 1
Todd Pfeiffer
as Trading Post Man No. 2
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
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Critic Reviews for Dead Man

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (6)

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

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 1.5/4
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.

January 9, 2012 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

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

January 5, 2009 | Full Review…

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

December 30, 2006 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

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

October 27, 2006 | Rating: 4/5

Quite exquisite. Beautiful, really.

September 26, 2006 | Rating: 91/100 | Full Review…

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
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.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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