State of Grace (1990)

R | 134 mins | Melodrama | 14 September 1990

Director:

Phil Joanou

Writer:

Dennis McIntyre

Cinematographer:

Jordan Cronenweth

Editor:

Claire Simpson

Production Designers:

Patrizia Von Brandenstein, Doug Kraner

Production Company:

Cinehaus
Full page view
HISTORY

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, State of Grace was filmed “entirely on location in Manhattan, the Bronx and New Jersey.” In all, over sixty locations were used, mainly in the “Hell’s Kitchen” neighborhood of New York City’s West Side, home of an Irish-American criminal gang called “The Westies.” The 4 Aug 1989 Newsday reported that a scene between actors Sean Penn and Burgess Meredith was shot at a city-owned apartment building at 827 Tenth Avenue, a former Westies hangout raided by police. State of Grace was loosely based on a series of alliances in the 1970s between the Westies and the Italian-American Gambino crime family.
       According to the 19 Jul 1989 Var, principal photography began 15 Jun 1989. Actor Bill Pullman was originally set to play mobster “Frankie Flannery,” the 28 May 1989 LAT reported, and according to the 22 Feb 1989 Var, Dennis Hopper was supposed to direct. Neither was involved in the final film.
       In pre-production, the film’s working title was Westies. The 27 Jun 1990 Var noted that Orion Pictures wanted to change it to Hell’s Kitchen, but director Phil Joanou fought for State of Grace. Screenwriter Dennis McIntyre died on 1 Feb 1990 while the film was still in post-production, according to the 2 Feb 1990 NYT.
       The 10 Sep 1990 Var reported that State of Grace premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival in Canada on 30 Aug 1990. In the U.S., the picture opened well in limited release, but quickly “died” when it expanded ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, State of Grace was filmed “entirely on location in Manhattan, the Bronx and New Jersey.” In all, over sixty locations were used, mainly in the “Hell’s Kitchen” neighborhood of New York City’s West Side, home of an Irish-American criminal gang called “The Westies.” The 4 Aug 1989 Newsday reported that a scene between actors Sean Penn and Burgess Meredith was shot at a city-owned apartment building at 827 Tenth Avenue, a former Westies hangout raided by police. State of Grace was loosely based on a series of alliances in the 1970s between the Westies and the Italian-American Gambino crime family.
       According to the 19 Jul 1989 Var, principal photography began 15 Jun 1989. Actor Bill Pullman was originally set to play mobster “Frankie Flannery,” the 28 May 1989 LAT reported, and according to the 22 Feb 1989 Var, Dennis Hopper was supposed to direct. Neither was involved in the final film.
       In pre-production, the film’s working title was Westies. The 27 Jun 1990 Var noted that Orion Pictures wanted to change it to Hell’s Kitchen, but director Phil Joanou fought for State of Grace. Screenwriter Dennis McIntyre died on 1 Feb 1990 while the film was still in post-production, according to the 2 Feb 1990 NYT.
       The 10 Sep 1990 Var reported that State of Grace premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival in Canada on 30 Aug 1990. In the U.S., the picture opened well in limited release, but quickly “died” when it expanded from fourteen to 335 screens, the 29 Oct 1990 Var reported. During the film’s promotion, actress Robin Wright was visibly pregnant and Sean Penn, whom she met on the set, was the father, the 2 Sep 1990 Toronto Star announced. They married six years later.
       End credits contained the following acknowledgments: “News footage courtesy of NBC News Video Archives © 1989 National Broadcasting Company, Inc., all rights reserved.” Also, “Special thanks to: City of New York Mayor’s Office for Film, Theatre and Broadcasting; New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development; Special Operations Division – Movie-TV Unit N.Y.P.D.; Deputy Chief Joseph P. Venditto and the New York City Fire Department Explosives Unit; Lower East Side Coalition Housing Development; Circle Line, Inc.; Donald J. Trump and Trump City site; Stuart Kleinman; Jack McCarthy; Rocco Patierno and the Wayne Township Board of Education; the Prince Charles Pipe Band.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Oct 1990.
---
Daily Variety
30 Jun 1989
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 1990
p. 7, 16.
Los Angeles Times
28 May 1989
Calendar, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
14 Sep 1990
Calendar, p. 21.
New York Times
2 Feb 1990.
---
New York Times
14 Sep 1990
p. 8.
Newsday (Long Island, NY)
4 Aug 1989
p. 11.
Toronto Star
2 Sep 1990
Section D, p. 2.
Variety
22 Feb 1989
p. 96.
Variety
27 Jun 1990
p. 26.
Variety
19 Jul 1989
p. 16.
Variety
10 Sep 1990
p. 54.
Variety
29 Oct 1990
p. 1.
WSJ
13 Sep 1990.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion® Pictures Release
a Cinehaus Production of
a Phil Joanou film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Unit mgr
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
2d unit dir of photog
1st asst standby
Still photog
Steadicam® op
Steadicam® asst
Video op
Video op
Key rigging elec
Key grip
Key rigging grip
Dolly grip
Cam scenic
Addl photog, lighting & grip equip supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Supv art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Post prod supv
Assoc ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
Post prod facilities by
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
1st asst prop
2d asst prop
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Master scenic artist
Scenic shop man
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Draftsperson
Const coord
Const foreman
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Head const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
COSTUMES
Asst cost des
Asst cost des
Men's ward supv
Women's ward supv
MUSIC
Mus comp, orch, and cond by
Asst mud ed
General mus coord
Mus performed by
Mus rec at
SOUND
Sd mixer
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst ADR ed
Asst ADR ed
Apprentice sd ed
Foley artist
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Post prod sd by
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Titles consultant
Titles by
MAKEUP
Hair stylist
Makeup & makeup eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Loc mgr
Supv prod coord
Scr supv
Prod coord
Asst to the prods
Asst to Phil Joanou
Asst to Sean Penn
Prod accountant
Asst prod accountant
Accounting asst
Financial representative
Financial representative
Picture cars
Extras casting
Extras casting
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Loc asst
Dialect coach
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Tech adv
N.Y.P.D. Homicide Squad
Personal training services
Craft service
Parking & security, E & R
Parking & security
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
STAND INS
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stand-in
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
“White City,” written by Shane MacGowan, performed by The Pogues, published by Stiff Music Limited, courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
“Ways To Be Wicked,” performed by Lone Justice, courtesy of Geffen Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Trip Through Your Wires,” performed by U2, courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
+
SONGS
“White City,” written by Shane MacGowan, performed by The Pogues, published by Stiff Music Limited, courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
“Ways To Be Wicked,” performed by Lone Justice, courtesy of Geffen Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Trip Through Your Wires,” performed by U2, courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
“Drink Before The War,” written by Sinead O’Connor, performed by Sinead O’Connor, published by Dizzy Heights Music Publishing Ltd./Chrysalis Music (ASCAP), used by permission of Ensign Records Ltd./Chrysalis Records Ltd.
“Vete Mujer,” performed by Orquesta Immensidad, courtesy of Fania Records Sonido, Inc.
“Moondance,” performed by Van Morrison, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“I Gave My Wedding Dress Away,” written by Hy Heath and Fred Rose, performed by Eileen Reed and The Cadets, published by Milene Music, Inc., courtesy of Castle Communications plc.
“Street Fighting Man,” written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, performed by The Rolling Stones, published by ABKCO Music, Inc., by arrangement with ABKCO Records
“Sweet Child O’Mine,” written by Slash, W. Axl Rose, Steven Adler, Izzy Stradlin, and Duff McKagan, performed by Guns N’ Roses, published by Guns N’ Roses Music, courtesy of Geffen Records, by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“I Loved You Yesterday,” written by Lyle Lovett, performed by Lyle Lovett, published by Michael H. Goldsen, Inc./Lyle Lovett (ASCAP), courtesy of Curb Records/MCA Records
“Swan Lake,” written by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, performed by The 101 Strings Orchestra, by arrangement with Original Sound Entertainment.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Westies
Hell's Kitchen
Release Date:
14 September 1990
Premiere Information:
Montreal World Film Festival premiere: 30 August 1990
Los Angeles and New York opening: 14 September 1990
Production Date:
began 15 June 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
13 November 1990
Copyright Number:
PA488110
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral recording Dolby Stereo SR™ in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® cameras & lenses
Prints
Prints by DeLuxe®
Duration(in mins):
134
Length(in feet):
12,057
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
30296
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the Bronx borough of New York City, in the 1970s, undercover policeman Terry Noonan and Italian-American gangster DeMarco meet Nick Richardson and another undercover cop for what appears to be a late-night drug purchase. When Nick attempts a robbery, Terry Noonan draws his gun and shoots the two “dealers” with blanks, then hurries DeMarco away, so that he thinks the robbers are dead. DeMarco drives back to his Italian neighborhood, and Terry takes the subway to “Hell’s Kitchen,” an Irish neighborhood in Manhattan. At a bar, Terry sits down with Jackie Flannery, an old friend he has not seen in years. Jackie invites Terry to his rooftop apartment to drink and discuss old times. Jackie explains that the neighborhood has gentrified in the ten years Terry has been away, and nobody calls the neighborhood Hell’s Kitchen anymore. However, the Irish gang still runs things, and the last time a murder witness stepped forward, police found his head in a clothes dryer. When Terry complains that his latest drug transaction with DeMarco went awry and forced him to kill two dealers, Jackie blames him for trusting Italians. Jackie’s own brother, Frankie Flannery, has joined forces with Italian mobster Joe Borelli, and Jackie is unhappy with the arrangement. He jokingly displays two severed hands he keeps in the freezer, in case he needs to leave fingerprints on a weapon. When they return to the bar, Jackie’s sister, Kathleen “Kate” Flannery, comes in. Kate is surprised to see her old lover, Terry Noonan, after so many years, and they make vague plans to get together. However, Kate has forsaken the neighborhood and moved uptown, where she works at the Regent Hotel. ... +


In the Bronx borough of New York City, in the 1970s, undercover policeman Terry Noonan and Italian-American gangster DeMarco meet Nick Richardson and another undercover cop for what appears to be a late-night drug purchase. When Nick attempts a robbery, Terry Noonan draws his gun and shoots the two “dealers” with blanks, then hurries DeMarco away, so that he thinks the robbers are dead. DeMarco drives back to his Italian neighborhood, and Terry takes the subway to “Hell’s Kitchen,” an Irish neighborhood in Manhattan. At a bar, Terry sits down with Jackie Flannery, an old friend he has not seen in years. Jackie invites Terry to his rooftop apartment to drink and discuss old times. Jackie explains that the neighborhood has gentrified in the ten years Terry has been away, and nobody calls the neighborhood Hell’s Kitchen anymore. However, the Irish gang still runs things, and the last time a murder witness stepped forward, police found his head in a clothes dryer. When Terry complains that his latest drug transaction with DeMarco went awry and forced him to kill two dealers, Jackie blames him for trusting Italians. Jackie’s own brother, Frankie Flannery, has joined forces with Italian mobster Joe Borelli, and Jackie is unhappy with the arrangement. He jokingly displays two severed hands he keeps in the freezer, in case he needs to leave fingerprints on a weapon. When they return to the bar, Jackie’s sister, Kathleen “Kate” Flannery, comes in. Kate is surprised to see her old lover, Terry Noonan, after so many years, and they make vague plans to get together. However, Kate has forsaken the neighborhood and moved uptown, where she works at the Regent Hotel. Later, Terry and Jackie find another old friend, Stevie Maguire, being hassled by two of Italian mobster Jimmy Cavello’s enforcers over an $8,000 gambling debt. Jackie and Terry beat up the two and give Stevie his money back, so that he can go to the racetrack. When Terry Noonan asks about a job with Frankie Flannery’s gang, Jackie takes him to New Jersey, where his brother lives with his wife and kids. Frankie has already heard about the two drug dealers Terry “dropped” in the Bronx, so he is interested in using Terry on some jobs. However, after Terry Noonan leaves, Frankie orders his right-hand man, Pat Nicholson, to check out Terry’s story. Terry accompanies Jackie on an arson job, but as he witnesses Jackie’s manic disregard for safety, Terry realizes his boyhood friend is unstable. Later, Terry goes uptown to Kate Flannery’s workplace and tries to rekindle their former relationship, but she wants to escape the criminality of her family and neighborhood. Meanwhile, Pat Nicholson finds DeMarco in a bar, puts a gun in his face, and takes him for a walk. At 2 a.m., Jackie Flannery awakens Terry for a “job” with Frankie, Pat Nicholson, and Stevie Maguire. They carry cases of liquor into a bar and demand that the owner, Raferty, pay for the shipment. When Raferty resists, Pat Nicholson beats him up and Jackie smashes bottles behind the bar. Stevie Maguire intervenes on Raferty’s behalf, but Pat Nicholson hits him, and Terry in turn hits Nicholson. Outside, Frankie Flannery berates his gang because their dissension shows weakness, and warns Terry never to “go against” him again. From now on, they have to impress their new Italian partner, Joe Borelli. Afterward, Terry goes to Kate’s apartment and awakens her for a heart-to-heart talk. The next day, Joe Borelli summons Frankie Flannery to his restaurant. He informs Frankie that Stevie Maguire’s $8,000 debt to Jimmy Cavello shows disrespect, but he does not want to send his enforcers into Frankie’s neighborhood to solve the problem. Frankie promises to take care of it. That night, Pat Nicholson pulls Stevie out of a bar and, in the alley, Frankie cuts his throat. Terry Noonan is sleeping with Kate when Jackie Flannery telephones to tell him that Stevie is dead. Terry, Jackie, and Kate watch police haul Stevie’s body out of the East River. Although Jackie is determined to find out who killed Stevie, Kate becomes angry because Jackie’s friends are always getting hurt for not paying debts, yet he never does anything about it. She berates Terry for returning to Hell’s Kitchen. When Terry accompanies Jackie to the borough of Queens for the funeral of a neighborhood policeman, he recognizes Nick Richardson, the man he “killed” in the Bronx, as one of the pallbearers. Afterward, at a bar frequented by police, Terry Noonan tells Nick that if DeMarco saw him walking around, it would expose their undercover operation. Nick informs Terry that DeMarco was murdered. Later, Terry meets Nick on an empty subway car, and Nick speculates that Frankie Flannery killed Stevie Maguire to impress Borelli, and killed DeMarco so that the Bronx shootings of the two dealers could not be traced back to Terry and, by implication, Frankie’s gang. Terry tells Nick he wants “out” of the operation, because the guilt of betraying his boyhood friends is making him drink too much. He ran away to Boston, Massachusetts, and became a cop to escape his past, but now the neighborhood has pulled him back. Nick reminds Terry that they must stop Frankie Flannery before his new business relationship with Joe Borelli gets many people killed. At a Hell’s Kitchen bar, Frankie warns his brother Jackie that under the new rules, they cannot kill anybody without Borelli’s permission, even though Borelli’s men killed Stevie Maguire. Jackie, frustrated and enraged, beats up an innocent customer and smashes bottles. Frankie tells Terry Noonan to keep an eye on Jackie, but then orders Pat Nicholson to keep an eye on Terry. Late that night, Kate and Terry find a drunken Jackie Flannery mourning Stevie’s death at a neighborhood church. When Terry and Kate return to her apartment and begin making love, he confesses that he is “a Judas cop.” The next day, Frankie Flannery sends Terry Noonan to collect a debt from Finn, an old man who lives in poverty. Finn recognizes Terry as “Eddy Noonan’s boy” and scorns him for working for the Flannery family. He warns Terry that the Flannerys will eventually turn against him, and hints that he witnessed Pat Nicholson taking Stevie Maguire out of Matty’s Bar on the night he was killed. Later, when Terry goes to Matty’s Bar, Nicholson follows and telephones Frankie Flannery, who wonders if Terry is asking around about Stevie Maguire. Inside the bar, Terry forces Matty to confess that Nicholson pulled Stevie out of the place on the night he was killed. After Terry leaves, Nicholson shoots Matty. Frankie Flannery visits his sister Kate at the Regent Hotel and informs her that she is mistaken if she thinks Terry Noonan is any better than her brothers, because he killed two drug dealers in the Bronx a couple weeks earlier. Later, when Kate goes to Terry’s apartment to ask about the shooting, he explains that it was a set-up. Fearing Terry will destroy her brothers, Kate orders him to stay away from her and storms out. Jackie Flannery sits in a bar as Jimmy Cavello and two of his men arrive and invite Jackie Flannery to have a drink. Jackie shoots all three and walks out. When Borelli telephones Frankie Flannery to demand a meeting concerning his out-of-control kid brother, Frankie fears retaliation. He arranges for Terry, Jackie, and others to arm themselves and wait at an address in Little Italy. Accompanied by Pat Nicholson, Frankie meets Borelli at the Fanella Cafe. The Italian mobster insists that if Frankie cannot kill his brother, it will be done for him. Frankie tries to use the telephone, but Borelli tells him to do it later. Nearby, Jackie gets antsy when Frankie does not telephone. He leads his men to the café, and as they approach, Borelli and his men step outside. However, before Jackie can open fire, Frankie puts his arms around Joe Borelli, forcing Jackie to retreat. Later, Frankie tells Jackie that Joe Borelli is happy he shot Jimmy Cavello, because Cavello killed Stevie Maguire without permission. In fact, Borelli has hired them to knock off a couple troublemakers in Battery Park. Jackie later tells Terry Noonan he has a job at eleven that night, but will meet Terry afterward at the club. When Terry mentions he heard that Frankie put the hit on Stevie, Jackie explodes, pulls a gun on him, and orders him out. Terry telephones Nick and tells him to be at Battery Park at eleven. Jackie later apologizes and asks Terry to accompany him to the job, but he drives to Pier 84 instead of Battery Park, revealing at the last moment that the location has been changed. As Terry hides and makes a call from a telephone booth, Frankie Flannery arrives and shoots his brother with a silencer-equipped gun. As Frankie pulls away, Terry finds Jackie dead. He tells Nick Richardson he is quitting his undercover job. At Jackie’s funeral, Terry tries to soothe Kate, but she laments that she did not warn her brother that Terry is a cop. Terry informs Frankie Flannery that he was on Pier 84 when Jackie was killed, and as he leaves the mortuary, he gives Frankie his Boston police badge and identification. Frankie issues a hit on Terry Noonan. At Kate’s apartment, Terry explains that he wanted to spare her family when he took the undercover assignment, but events worked against him. Unmoved, Kate leaves for a dinner date. Terry sleeps in Grand Central Station, while Frankie Flannery’s gang hunts for him. The next day, during the city’s big St. Patrick’s Day parade, Terry walks among the Irish marchers, unaware that Kate Flannery is nearby, watching the parade. He goes to Frankie’s bar and kills Pat Nicholson, Frankie Flannery, and three other men in a shootout that leaves him wounded. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.