State of Grace


State of Grace

Critics Consensus

State of Grace brings an impressive ensemble cast to bear on its epic gangster saga, elevating a largely familiar story with outstanding performances.



Total Count: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,911
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State of Grace Photos

Movie Info

This directorial effort from Phil Joanou stars Sean Penn as an Irish-American undercover cop working the Hell's Kitchen beat. Penn is ostensibly on a sentimental journey to his old neighborhood. Actually he's been assigned to infiltrate a criminal gang led by Ed Harris, the brother of Sean's best friend Gary Oldman. Penn suffers the requisite honor vs. duty anguish when he renews his childhood romance with Harris' sister Robin Wright. State of Grace would have had more clout had it been more clear as to time and place: it's supposedly set in the 1990s, but the attitudes and behavior are pure 1970s.


Sean Penn
as Terry Noonan
Ed Harris
as Frankie Flannery
Gary Oldman
as Jackie Flannery
Robin Wright
as Kathleen Flannery
R.D. Call
as Nicholson
Tom Sullivan
as Police Detective
Sandra Beall
as Stevie's Date
Mo Gaffney
as Maureen
John Ottavino
as Raferty's Son
Jack Wallace
as Matty's Bartender
Paul-Felix Montez
as Pool Hall Manager
Tommy Ray Sullivan
as Police Detective
Ben Fine
as Hotel Doorman
Thomas G. Waites
as Frankie's Man
Brian Burke
as Frankie's Man
Michael Cumpsty
as Frankie's Man
Michael Cunningham
as Frankie's Man
Lou Eppolito
as Borelli's Man
Daniel O'Shea
as Frankie's Man
Thomas F. Duffy
as Frankie's Man
Vincent Guastaferro
as Borelli's Man
Johnny Williams
as Borelli's Man
John Roselius
as Borelli's Man
Louis Eppolito
as Borelli's Man
Tim Gallin
as Bar Customer
Timothy D. Klein
as Bar Customer
Frank Girardeau
as Bartender
Saasha Costello
as Frankie's Child
Frank Coletta
as Bartender
Catherine Mary Stewart
as Frankie's Child
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News & Interviews for State of Grace

Critic Reviews for State of Grace

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (7)

  • Every indulgence, including a two hour and 14 minute running time, is on display.

    Jan 3, 2012 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • A handsomely produced, mostly riveting, but ultimately overlong and overindulgent gangster picture.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • A hugely impressive piece of work for a young director previously known for his documentary U2 Rattle and Hum.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Mr. Oldman gives an electrifying performance that both establishes a tragic, terrifying character and explains why that character's world is such a perilous place.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5
  • Penn's affecting performance, a strong and silent struggle with his warring emotions, is hard pressed to offset Oldman's shrill shenanigans.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • What's best about "State of Grace" is what's unique to it - the twisted vision of the Oldman character, who lives in a world of evil and betrayal and has somehow thought himself around to the notion that he is doing the right thing.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for State of Grace

  • Feb 27, 2011
    Great cast, great acting, action-packed. There were some shocking parts, and the ending wasn't great, but the movie was pretty good overall.
    Erin C Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2010
    Irish Mob movies are not so common, but always seem to be great when they're made. This is one of the best, certainly topping The Depearted in my opinion. It deals with a similar scenario, but it's a lot more human and better looking. The cast is flawless, Sean Penn and Gary Oldman are just a few of the people who give some of their best performances. The story, for its time, was extremely original and done in such an effective way. It's a shame that no one holds this in the same regard as Goodfellas because it's honestly just as good. You care about these characters and believe they could exist in the real world. The Hell's Kitchen atmosphere is really effective, you can practically see the scummy darkness around you. Phil Joanou might not have many hits, but this is good enough to earn him some respect in my book.
    Conner R Super Reviewer
  • Feb 06, 2010
    One of the most enthralling gangster films of the early '90s, a memorable crime drama of betrayal, redemption and guilt, marvelously realized and skillfully directed by Phil Joanou. Sean Penn delivers a superlative multi-layered performance as Terry Noonan, a undercover cop brought down from Boston to infiltrate one of the top crime organizations in the City of New York, he returns to his old neighborhood in New York's Hell's Kitchen to locale his childhood best friend Jackie Flannery, brilliantly played by Gary Oldman in a powerhouse performance an enforcer for his ruthless older brother Frankie, played superbly by Ed Harris who is sheer cunning evil and the boss of the Irish mob in Hell's Kitchen. Noonan hopes that Jackie can get him into Frankie's gang, but things become more complicated when his old feeling for Kathleen, beautifully played by Robin Wright the Flannery's estranged sister come into play. Impressive supporting performances John Turturro, Jonn C. Reilly, R.D. Call, Joe Vitereli, and the late great character actor Burgess Meredith in a brilliant heartfelt cameo as an old man in debt and living in fear, but it is Oldman who steals the film with one of his finest performances, his ability to show completely psychopathic behavior complete with sudden outbursts of brutal violence. coupled with feeling of love and loyally is very powerful and compelling. Great use of New York City locations, and exquisite cinematography by Jordan Cronenworth, Ennio Morricone brilliant score is perfectly haunting. The finale climatic slow-motion shootout between Penn and Ed Harris's mob during the St. Patrick's Day Parade is a real stunner. Gritty, violent and unforgettable. Highly Recommended.
    Danny R Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2010
    Gary Oldman is the greatest actor and if you need any evidence of this, then look no further. State of Grace in some aspects is your typical crime drama, but the actor's take the somewhat overused cliches used a lot in these types of movies, and make this a very enjoyable movie.
    Jason R Super Reviewer

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