State of Grace (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

State of Grace1990

State of Grace (1990)



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

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
View All

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.

January 3, 2012 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

A handsomely produced, mostly riveting, but ultimately overlong and overindulgent gangster picture.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

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

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…
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.

January 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.

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

Audience Reviews for State of Grace

Stellar cast. I was captivated the whole film by the actors. Although I have liked other 'rat in the mob' movies better, like Donnie Brasco and Departed, but with Oldman, Reilly, and Harris I can't complain. I gotta say, the one thing keeping me from a higher rating is that I didn't care too much for the ending. As epic as the slow motion shootout was, it couldn't have felt more anti-climatic. Although, it was some nice squiby action.

Curtis Lilly
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

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 Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

Magnificent look at the Irish mob in New York known as the Westies. Gary Oldman's character work as the ruthless Jackie Flannery is brilliant. He makes Jackie vulnerable and likable, showing he is one of the most unsung actors of our time. Sean Penn and Ed Harris turn in outstanding performances as well in this riveting film set primarily in New York City's "Hell's Kitchen". Even though Oldman's performance alone makes this film a "must see", the film is pretty much a perfect piece of cinema in every way. Very likely the best film of the last twenty years.

Eric S
Eric S

Super Reviewer

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