Dead Man (1995) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dead Man1995

Dead Man (1995)



Critic Consensus: While decidedly not for all tastes, Dead Man marks an alluring change of pace for writer-director Jim Jarmusch that demonstrates an assured command of challenging material.

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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
George Duckworth
as Man at End of Street
John C. Pattison
as Trading Post Man No. 1
Richard Boes
as Man with Wrench
Mike Dowson
as Old Man with Wanted Posters
Mickey McGee
as Bartender (Uncredited)
John Pattison
as Trading Post Man No. 1
Gibby Haynes
as Man with Gun in Alley
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 (52) | Top Critics (14)

Both Blake's journey and composer Neil Young's spare, electric guitar score seem endlessly circular; and people are always asking Blake for tobacco.

November 8, 2018 | Full Review…

The landscape outside and the passengers inside become wilder and woollier with every weary mile.

November 8, 2018 | Full Review…

The film's pleasures are simply too elusive and mild to make up for a lack of narrative propulsion.

November 8, 2018 | Full Review…

[It's a] bizarre, funny, almost mystical take on the Western

November 8, 2018 | Full Review…

[The] metaphysical context benefits enormously from the haunting musical themes that Neil Young wrote, underlining the film's psychedelic/apocalyptic edge, and from the stunning black-and-white camera work of Robby Muller.

November 8, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Even if it accomplishes little else, Dead Man will almost certainly inspire thought and discussion.

November 8, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | 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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