Prizzi's Honor (1985) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
92 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Very Fine Dark Comedy
moviefreakgirl7 October 2006
This movie is often good and funny, but sometimes 's not focused enough. The story tries to cover a lot of themes, genres, and plot implications which doesn't always work. The best parts are the ones which deal with Charlie/Irene complicated relationship, in which you never know for sure if she's manipulating him from the beginning or not. One funny thing was the homage to Mafia movies, such as The Godfather. Some lines really hit their targets, too (Well, it's not many if you consider the size of the population, comes to mind).

The acting is very good, and the best thing of the movie. Jack Nicholson plays an incredibly dumb character, that gets wonderfully developed by the end. He has a great comic timing. Kathleen Turner is very good, she has a great chemistry with Jack, and can look innocent and the moment after a total bitch. Besides, she ha a great, calm, sure delivery. Anjelica Huston is very funny playing mean / jealous / spoiled / manipulative/sweet, though lack of screen time hurts. The supporting are all great, and the one who plays the Don is hilarious, with his sadistic way of saying his lines.

The direction is simple, but has some original shots, it works with this material. It's mostly steady camera. The music creates a contrast; it's quite cheery and happy, and that makes the movie funnier. It's a very dark comedy in my opinion, and sometimes a romance drama. It's worth watching, and original, but not a masterpiece. 7.5/10
28 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Love it...
TheLittleSongbird23 January 2011
I personally love Prizzi's Honor, it is one of my favourites. John Huston does a very good job directing, and while black comedy is not what I call his comfort zone, he does show talent for it. The film looks stylish with the cinematography and scenery great. The script is great fun with some delightful black comedy elements, and while the story has its bizarre moments it is compelling all the same. The film doesn't feel boring or dull either, and I always have fun watching it. The cast are wonderful, Jack Nicholson and Kathaleen Turner are very believable and Robert Loggia is great too but it is Anjelica Huston who steals the movie. Overall, I love Prizzi's Honor. 10/10 Bethany Cox
20 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Mr.&Mrs. Partanna
bkoganbing22 January 2009
When a whole lot of his contemporaries were dead or in retirement, John Huston was still making some very good movies and even winning Oscars for family members. Prizzi's Honor was kind of a coda to his career having directing his father Walter for Best Supporting Actor for The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre in 1948, in 1945 daughter Anjelica Huston wins for Best Supporting Actress in Prizzi's Honor. That's a feat that will really be hard for any director to duplicate.

The Prizzis are your Eighties version of the Corleones, a Mafia family headquartered in Brooklyn with far reaching interests including Las Vegas like the Corleones. Jack Nicholson is Charlie Partanna, not the most polished knife in the drawer, but one of the sharpest. Mafia families inbreed more than royalty or hillbillies and Charlie's expected to marry Maerose Prizzi who is played by Anjelica Huston, the ultimate Mafia princess. He's practically been raised to be her prince consort.

But one look at the beautiful and sophisticated Kathleen Turner and Nicholson's hormones are at light-speed overdrive. But Kathleen's got a secret or two as well. She was in on a scam that took $720.000.00 from the Prizzis in Las Vegas. And in a real bow to women's liberation, something indeed from a tradition bound organization like the Mafia, she's also a hit woman with a contract on Nicholson.

Some 20 years before those marrieds Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were trying to bed and kill each other simultaneously in Mr.&Mrs. Smith, Nicholson and Turner were going at it, tongue and gun. John Huston after 30 years finally repeated a black comedy, a much better black comedy than Beat The Devil.

Besides Anjelica's win, Prizzi's Honor was up for several more Oscars in 1985 including Best Picture, Best Actor for Jack Nicholson, Best Supporting Actor for William Hickey, Best Director for John Huston and others. Prizzi's Honor is the kind of film where the jokes sneak up on you, don't expect belly laughs, but minutes after something is said, the line will kick in.

And Prizzi's Honor was a great film to have to your credit in the twilight of your career for John Huston.
19 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Great performances for a stylistic exit
pogostiks6 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Many people refuse to believe that this is a comedy. They are wrong. Just watch Angelica Huston's screamingly funny moment as she brings in her father's dinner. She is walking towards him behind his back... calm, cool, suave - and suddenly transforms herself into the pitiful, broken, submissive daughter that her father is expecting her to be. She has the hunched martyr's pose down pat - and it is brilliantly funny.

That said, the problem with Prizzi's Honor - which I enjoyed immensely by the way - is that too many things just don't gel. For one thing, Nicholson kills someone in California, and we discover (at the same time as Nicholson) that his (Nicholson's) major love interest, Kathleen Turner, is in fact married to the man he has just killed. And they continue their lives as if nothing has really happened. They continue their love affair and the body in the garage is completely forgotten. But wouldn't the police or someone have found out that he is dead? Wouldn't the police have wanted to speak to interrogate his wife? None of this happens. .. which, is, of course, nonsense.

Many people have complained that they can't believe in the characters - and I agree with them. But I am not complaining - just agreeing with their statement. I don't know if the director, John Huston, was totally up to making this film, as he was deathly sick and probably knew that it would be his last one. But I suspect that Huston decided to make Prizzi's Honor and go out in style - for that is really what this film is about - an exercise in style. Nicholson is the arch stereotype of the dumb hoodlum; Turner is the vamp of all time; the Godfather of the entire Prizzi clan couldn't be more brutal or ghoulish, especially when he is smiling - all done with a certain camp flair. And Huston's daughter Angelica plays the long-suffering "wronged woman" with proud, wicked vengefulness. These are all well-known types, yet here they come across as hysterically exaggerated stylized versions of what we have seen in other movies. Huston is too good a director to have done this by accident. He wanted to go out in style - and with Prizzi's Honor - he did so, most honorably.
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Shouldn't be just an "honorable" mention in film history
knucklebreather11 December 2009
The mafia-comedy hardly seems like a new idea in 2009, we've seen it done well ("The Sopranos"), done alright ("Married to the Mob" or "Analyze This") and done badly (any number of films, "The Godson" for example) and it practically seems quite an established film subject, even a cliché one at this point. However, to fully understand "Prizzi's Honor" if you've seen some of the latter day mafia-comedies that followed it, you have to understand that at one point it was a novel idea to make a movie where mafia dons and hit men were comedic fodder.

If you approach "Prizzi's Honor" expecting it to pick up where its successors left off, you're bound to be disappointed and will likely find it slow and its jokes stale. It's important to remember that this was the first major production to take the subject matter of "The Godfather" (high-level mafia families) and satirize it. It therefore must have seemed quite clever and groundbreaking in 1985 to lampoon the bizarre behaviors and concepts of honor that "The Godfather" and all its imitators had presented to us as reality. You really can't hold "Prizzi's Honor" accountable because so many others realized there was a satirical goldmine here and exploited it until the mafia-comedy film was as cliché as the mafia film, so when approaching this movie, I tried to remember nothing like this had really been done before.

Prizzi's Honor opens with a wedding scene, which is probably a nod to "The Godfather", but it is a very weak and plodding scene by any definition and especially in comparison to the masterpiece it emulates. From there it's mostly uphill though, as Nicholson's tremendous acting is just enough to suspend disbelief as his character, the son of a high ranking mafioso, has a wacky whirlwind romance with a dashing woman he meets at the wedding, only to discover she is mixed up in scamming his own mafia family and she's actually a hired killer just as he is, but that his love for her is so strong that her background doesn't matter. Dating the enemy becomes more and more of a tightrope walk and increasingly their genuine wedded bliss seems to be interrupted by their real world jobs, which would suggest they should see each other as a threat, and both of them typically deal with threats by homicide, leading to a quite funny problem that recurs throughout the film.

The film is very quirky, since it's basically making up a new style of film there's a lot of imagination and the plot itself doesn't fall into any clichés. However, it does exploit a basketful of mafia movie clichés, from the over-the-top Brooklyn drawl that Nicholson somehow pulls off to the corpse-like appearance of the decrepit yet ruthlessly brilliant Don Corrado Prizzi. As most of its successors have just combined mafia clichés with a basic plot, "Prizzi's Honor" seems quite fresh with its complex plot and wonderfully offbeat characters.

"Prizzi's Honor" seems to have fallen by the cinematic wayside, at least, it's not on too many short lists of great films, and its lackluster IMDb rating (6.8) rates it below or alongside many works it actually paved the way for. To some extent I think it suffers from the notion that very few good "serious" films emerged from America in the 80s aside from the stuff Woody Allen was doing. While to some extent this movie does seem to reflect some of the mid-80s film-making malaise, there is a lot of very clever work being done here, and this really is a movie worth remembering.
22 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A pleasure to see again
Patrik E5 February 2006
I loved this film when I saw it in 1985. To see it again after seeing film and series like the Godfather, The Soprans etc is a treat. It is a lovely film, elegant,well-played with a with lots of humor. Jack Nicholson pays the not very intelligent Charley Partanna with flair and a lot of humour. Kathleen Turner is beautiful as ever. The rest of cast is also very good. John Rudolph playing his charing but very dangerous father, Angelica Huston is magnificent as the deserted MaeRose who wants to revenge Cahrly but still loves him. The music is very much a part of this intelligent film. It is a joy to listen to how it comments or highlights what happens in the film.

It is a loving parody of the mafia genre. A must-see for any one who likes this genre and for film lovers everywhere.
36 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
The Family Above Everything, In a Masterpiece of Black Comedy
claudio_carvalho8 February 2005
In New York, the hit-man Charley Partanna (Jack Nicholson) is like a son for his godfather Don Corrado Prizzi (William Hickey), who is a powerful mobster. In a wedding of a member of their family, Charley meets Irene Walker (Kathleen Turner) and he falls in love with her. Irene introduces herself as a tax consultant, but indeed she is a killer hired by the Prizzis for a "contract" in New York. They get married, and later Chaley realizes that she betrayed the Prizzis and had stolen their money in a casino. Charley has to face and decide between his code of honor with the Prizzi's family and his love for Irene.

"Prizzi's Honor" is a masterpiece and certainly one of the best movies of the 80's. The story is engaging, having a very dark black humor and many plot points. Jack Nicholson, Angelica Huston in a Machiavelian role, Kathleen Turner (gorgeous, sexy and elegant) and William Hickey are amazing. The performance of the magnificent cast and the outstanding direction of John Huston are marvelous. I have seen this movie at least six times, and I do not get tired of watching it. Unfortunately "Prizzi's Honor" has not been released on DVD in Brazil. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): "A Honra do Poderoso Prizzi" ("The Honor of the Powerful Prizzi")
30 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Family, Honor, Pride and Loyality overtake Love, Lust, Passion and Pleasure!
blanbrn10 February 2008
Without a doubt in my opinion one of the best and most underrated films of all time has to be 1985's "Prizzi's Honor". The film to some may seem like a black hearted comedy and somewhat of a "Godfather" ripoff, yet for me I found enough drama, intrigue, and chemistry between the characters to go along with a well written script that made it an instant classic. The performance from Jack Nicholson is great and along with the veteran cast the support is the backbone of the film.

Directed by legendary John Huston in one of his last works, "Prizzi's Honor" is a wickedly sly and well crafted mob tale of romance, family conflict and defending pride and honor that comes with family. Set in Brooklyn, New York the Prizzi family the oldest and richest well known crime family starts off with the wedding of head Don Prizzi(William Hickey's) granddaughters wedding. As the relaxing theme and face shots of the characters gets the viewer attached early to the drama from start to finish. Enter Charley Partanna(played to perfection by Jack) the head hit-man of the Prizzi family who's tough and gritty and direct and to the point with a high temper. Yet upon Charley's meeting of an elegant and attractive sexy blond an out of town lady named Irene(Kathleen Turner)and after Charley visits Irene on the west coast at her California home, it doesn't take long before the two develop a hot and steamy passionate romance affair based on sex which both mistake it for blind love.

As the film develops the viewer quickly sees that the Irene Walker character has a dark and hidden past with a closet full of secrets, yet Charley soon accepts her hand in marriage once some things are ironed out. Now family conflict and displeasure arrives when the Prizzi's tell about the real identity of Irene and her real job and mission shocks Charley. This also hurts an ex flame of Charley's that being Prizzi granddaughter Maerose(Anjelica Huston)and Anjelica was wickedly fantastic in her performance her character is so intelligently cunning with advice.

The drama heightens as with all mob dramas when watching you have to figure out what's next and think about who's gonna double cross who next and the plot has many subplots that you must pay attention to. As one can see that both Irene and the Prizzi's are sly and greedy as they will look out for their own self interest and wealth. The support of the family members of the Prizzi's like Eduardo(Robert Loggia)Angelo Pop Partanna(John Randolph)Dominic(Lee Richardson)and last but not least legendary Don Corrado(William Hickey) finally wear on Charley making him choose between family and love, proving that blood is thicker than water and that honor and being loyal is most important with family.

As in the films ending as the viewer can see the final scene between Charley and Irene proves that love hurts and it cuts like a knife! It may be amoral yet some relationships weren't meant to last. Overall "Prizzi's Honor" is a classy film that's one of my best to watch numerous times the performances and story just works so well with the characters chemistry. As the supporting performances from Loggia, Randolph, and Richardson are good backbone, and William Hickey's performance is old and crafty yet beautifully stunning and at ease. As for the females Anjelica was marvelous and sly and cunning, yet you feel sorry for her depressed Maerose character, and Kathleen Turner is fabulously sexy and super erotic as the sneaky and deceptive and stunning Irene Walker. Last but not least the legend and all time greatest actor Jack Nicholson puts the icing on the cake with one of his better and more underrated performances as tough and gritty mob hit-man Charley Partanna who's walk, talk, and dress along with actions made him seem so real and believable. John Huston really had a winner here proving that the most important thing is family honor them and respect them and that's all that matters. Remember family is the most important thing and it should be special.
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
"The Godfather" Gone Stark Raving Mad.
tfrizzell1 November 2003
"Prizzi's Honor" is one of those strange charmers that thrives on dark comedy and whacked situations. Mafia hit-man Jack Nicholson (Oscar-nominated) meets the super-erotic Kathleen Turner at a wedding and of course ends up dumping girlfriend Anjelica Huston (in a well-deserved Oscar-winning turn). The fact that Huston is the daughter of one of Nicholson's associates only makes the plot thicken. What Nicholson does not know is that Turner is really an assassin herself. Will he find out that his lover by night is really a hit-woman by day? And will he learn in time that the two have actually been hired to kill each other? Also along for the ride are scene-stealers Robert Loggia and William Hickey (who received an Oscar nod as the family's don). "Prizzi's Honor" was the final venture for legendary director John Huston (who was near death when he was Oscar-nominated for this). That little tidbit does not change the fact that "Prizzi's Honor" is really a strange experience that does not completely succeed. It is a movie that serves its purpose, but the ending does not justify the means used to get there. The Oscar-nominated screenplay makes itself out to be much more intelligent than it really is and ultimately Nicholson and Turner have to carry the production. Still a good movie, but over-rated and even a bit disappointing when all is said and done. 4 stars out of 5.
24 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Genius
sbrizzi5 July 2009
The humor in Prizzi's Honor comes from the everyday humanity of its characters juxtaposed with the fact that the family business entails killing people, so, like in the funeral business, death is discussed (and dealt out) matter-of-factly. The screenplay sparkles throughout, character- driven and organic despite the many plot twists, with a masterful consistency of style. Its point of view is completely amoral, which maybe makes certain 21st century viewers uncomfortable.

Anjelica Huston is a force of nature in the film -- by turns defiant, vulnerable, manipulative, sexual, heartbroken, and innocently delighted. Every moment she's on screen she delivers absolute raw conviction.

The film suffers slightly from the need to condense a novel's worth of material into 2 hours, and maybe certain plot points and motivations could have been a little more developed. For example, Kathleen Turner is strong and believable, but it would have been great to see a little deeper into the darkness and contradictions of her character.

The cast of supporting characters seems to embody facets of John Huston's persona and his dry, macabre sense of humor. William Hickey's performance as the Don is a spectacle unto itself. "Have another cooooookie" LOL. John Randolph (the Jeffrey Tambor of the '80s), Lee Richardson, and Robert Loggia are all flawless.

Fascinating to see Jack Nicholson play completely against type, as a simple-minded and earnest character. He pulls it off brilliantly, although it's a bit puzzling that the Don would entrust him with running the business -- again, probably something that fell through the cracks when adapting the novel.

How weird that none of the online reviews or comments mention the time period. They obviously had a lot of fun with it -- at first it seems to be the 1920s, as Anjelica Huston mentions that as a decorator she does "Art Deco" (a term that I believe was coined well after the actual period in which it was in vogue); then Kathleen Turner tells Jack Nicholson her car is an Excalibur, which is an '80's car made to look like something from the olden days. Later they're driving a Ford van from the '60s. Anjelica at one point goes to meet an informant in full-on Alexis Carrington drag, but most of the sets and costumes are '40s film noir inspired.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Not really sure what it wants to be
paul2001sw-122 November 2005
So many films glorify the mafia, even those like 'Goodfellas' which pull no punches still allow a residue of glamour to stick to their portrayal of the wise-guy life. So 'Prizzi's Honor', which ridicules its protagonists and shows them to be anything but wise, is a welcome sort of mafia film. Unfortunately, although it's reasonably entertaining, the film ultimately doesn't wholly succeed in any respect; too daft to work as black comedy, too slow to work as riotous farce, to humorously conceived to work as tragic drama. Jack Nicholson is good as the dumb hit man Charley, but the plot leaves us unsure whether we should laugh at him or cry with him, and in the end I felt inclined to do neither. Personally, I prefer Jim Jarmusch's 'Ghost Dog', another offbeat look at organised crime.
26 out of 48 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
An amoral tale of macabre humor, flawlessly rendered.
rbourgeois0128 February 2004
Prizzi's Honor enthralled me with masterful performances by Jack Nicholson as the enforcer for the Prizzi mob family; Kathleen Turner as the mysterious blonde he falls for and who turns out to be a professonal assassin; and Angelica Huston, as the daughter who struggles to regain the honor of a Prizzi and the love of her life. The paradoxical outcome of the Mafia's ethic of loyalty which leads to the killing of those we love, raised to the level of tragedy in The Godfather, here unfolds in a black tale of macabre humor, rendered with flawless timing of its unfolding twists and turns. The humor does not demean the genre of Mafia gangster films, but rather pays tribute to the legacy, replacing tragic irony with dark humor. A masterpiece without a false note or weak performance.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
"Holy #@#%, Boss, Somebody Done the Job on Zingo!"
rmax3048231 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not sure Richard Condon has ever written a serious word in his life. "The Manchurian Candidate" had its pathos but it was largely masked by Condon's prose style -- detached, ironic, and humorous. In another novel he describes a typical meal for his Alfred Hitchcok character and it takes up half of a full page. (So many "rashers of bacon," a joint of mutton, three apple pies, and so on.) John Huston has got the style pretty much down pat in this film, although if you're not prepared for it, the intentionality might slip by you and you wind up with a pale drama.

I guess by 1985, the year this film was released, the mob movie was ripe for a parody. Some seventeen years elapsed between "Frankenstein" and "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," and about thirteen years between "The Godfather" and "Prizzi's Honor." When a genre is so near exhaustion it doesn't have many places left to go.

No one in this movie seems authentically "Italian", as we've learned that authenticity from the mob movies, not even Robert Loggia. The most hilarious impersonation is given by William Hickey. He's a wizened, gaunt Don Corrado, a tiny frame, his voice a hoarse, goaty whine with more ups and unanticipated dips than a roller coaster ride. The other performances are good too. The dialog is out of a comic book. People "clip" one another or they "zotz" each other. Nine hundred thousand dollars is "nine hundred dollars." Everyone is evil but some are more evil than others, just as in "The Godfather." There is a happy ending for Jack Nicholson as Charlie Partanna, a hit man who winds up murdering his own wife. (Man, what happened to the code?) You probably won't respond to this very warmly if you are looking for another movie about the Mafia with lots of tragedy and gore. But if you're able to accept this as an adumbration of movies like "Analyze This" (a much more obvious and funnier movie) you'll get a kick out of it.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
"Do I ice her? Do I marry her? Which one of these?"
PredragReviews29 June 2016
This is a great movie. It has substance, it has style, it has humor, and it has some excellent acting. Nicholson is wonderful as Charley Partana, William Hickey is both funny and frightening as Don Corrado Prizzi, and Anjelica Huston does a great job as Maerose. The plot is full of depth and intrigue as Partana falls in love with Turner's character only to find out she's a hit-man like him. So, in Prizzi's Honor, Nicholson and John Huston are working together again, but this time Huston is the director, and Anjelica Huston is on screen this time, as the daughter of a powerful mob family. Anjelica really steals the whole film, and wins an Oscar for her performance. It helps, I guess, if your father is the director, if you are going to steal a film from the ostensible leads, but though John Huston may have been an accessory to the crime, it was really Anjelica's performance that got her that Oscar.

The performances are great all around. The old don (William Hickey) in this movie is incredible - creepy and decrepitly sinister, a very unique 'don' character in the catalogue of mafia movies. Charlie's father was great, and of course, Nicholson does a great job as Italian gangster Charley Pattana - his acting is distinct and fitting (i.e. he goes beyond himself as himself). Kathleen Turner as his love interest then wife, Irene, was likable as well. I wasn't always sure I bought the chemistry 100%, but the movie is bigger than just their relationship - which certainly wasn't bad by any accounts - just not 'sizzling', for all the love that was professed. Then again this is love between a hit-woman and a gangster, so I don't know what exactly one could hope for. There was a certain touchiness in the trust that develops between them, and of course there's a comic tone that lightens the whole thing in the first place - but never to the detriment of the story.

Overall rating: 9 out of 10.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
You are lucky and rare if you are in on the joke!
Zorro-316 February 1999
There have been movies like "Caddyshack," where I was the only one in the whole theater not laughing, and movies like "Prizzi's Honor," and "Hotel New Hampshire" (q.v.), where I was the only one who was.

I was scratching my head, throughout the first few scenes, until they got to the scene where Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner had their first lunch date and Jack starts in with that, "I've gotta tell ya, I love youse, I love youse, I love youse, that's it, I love youse." She responds, "It's so wonderful to hear you say that, I think I'm in love with love with you too!" He shakes his head, and says "NO! 'In love' is transient, 'In love' is meaningless, I LOVE youse, that's it! I love youse."

I thought I would absolutely bust a GUT! Everybody else in the theater was still scratching their heads, but I KNEW I was the only one getting it and I didn't care if I was the only one laughing. At first they all stared at me, but eventually they all joined in.

JOHN HUSTON, I LOVE YOUSE!
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
original and better version of Mr & Mrs Smith
thomasmann-614-19429521 April 2014
Saw Prizzi's Honour last night This is the original of Mr & Mrs Smith and a lot better. Much more nuanced, complex and brilliantly acted by Jack Nicholson, Kathleen turner and Angelica Huston. It is a bit of a spoof on the godfather and so has lots of allusions and in jokes. Fun, not high art but still way better than the remake. The ending is adroit and exciting if somewhat predictable and the twists and turns of the plot are dizzying but plausible and internally consistent. Jack Nicholson's mouth filler is a mistake but Kathleen turner looks spectacular and angelica Huston does a good turn as a spurned woman with charisma and panache.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Honor, pride, and family. Remember never fall in love. A masterpiece of John Huston.
Brian-27229 December 2000
John Huston was able to adapt this Richard Condon novel well to the screen. Many felt Prizzi's Honor was a dark comedy, but I saw it different enough drama and suspense is present to make this organized crime drama a classic winner. If you've read some of my other comments I guess you know what a big Jack Nicholson fan I am. And once again Jack delivers a bold performance in fact one of his best ever. Nicholson once again proves his preparation to be impeccable everything from the wardrobe and the strong Brooklyn accent that Jack displays makes him seem so realistic as the tough and direct to the point Mafia hitman (Charley Partanna). Nicholson's tough and bold performance is helped along with the great supporting cast of Kathleen Turner, and John Huston's daughter Anjelica. In fact Anjelica caught the eye of the industry as she received an Academy award for Best Supporting Actress. I couldn't agree more Anjelica's offbeat performance made her very deserving. William Hickey gives maybe behind Nicholson the strongest performance of the film as (Don Corrado Prizzi) the oldest crime figure of the Prizzi family and when the camera is in front of William he is magical his words and expressions just steal the show. Not only does Prizzi's Honor offer crime and drama but romance steals a good portion of the movie. From the beginning of the film when Nicholson discovers a beautiful blond stranger (Kathleen Turner). Instant chemistry between them-not unnaturally, perhaps, because she is secretly a hired gun for the Mafia. A love affair develops into passionate sex, then when the former fiancee of Charley Maerose Prizzi (Anjelica Huston) begins to wry her way to seduce Charley the twists continue. As the film progresses it shows just how organized greed corrupts all. In the end I felt that John Huston's most important message was to never fall in love and I agree with that message and have adopted it in many ways. That message is presented so perfect in the final scene when Irene Walker (Kathleen Turner) and Charley Partanna (Jack Nicholson) are together for the final time. No matter how much love it dies even if individuals have similar backgrounds. Believe me love hurts. Remember stand and support honor, pride, and most of all family take those things over hot passionate love because love can really hurt in big ways and Prizzi's Honor proves it. I must say this is a great movie to add to your home video collection and cherish for years, I know I have and I was once again pleased with Jack Nicholson hey aren't we always.
10 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Two hours of tasteless ham courtesy of the Prizzi Meat Co.
travis_iii21 August 2007
Eight academy nominations? It's beyond belief. I can only think it was a very bad year - even by Hollywood standards. With Huston as director and Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner as leads I probably would have swallowed the bait and watched this anyway, but the Oscar nominations really sold it to me, and I feel distinctly cheated as a result.

So it's a black comedy is it? Can anyone tell me where the humour is in Prizzi's Honor? It's certainly tasteless (the shooting in the head of a policeman's wife is but another supposedly comic interlude in this intended farce about mafia life) but with the exception of a joke about 'your favourite Mexican cigars' (which I imagine is an old joke for Americans who have been officially forbidden from buying anything Cuban for the last 50 years) I failed to spot anything of a comic nature - and I did try. There is a lot of Mafia cliché but cliché doesn't constitute humour in my book.

Is it a romantic comedy of sorts? Never. The characters and their relationships are so completely incredible and shallow that they are on a par with Ben Afleck and Jennifer Lopez in Gigli.

Is it a cleverly devised parody about the Mafia? Not in a million years. The plot is just pointlessly absurd rather than comically absurd, and it usually just has the feel of a really bad (and cheap) Mafia movie. It feels more like a homage than a parody.

With one-dimensional characters and little in the way of humour written for them, the actors are left doing dodgy accents and pulling faces. Well it isn't enough; even when the face is being pulled by that master of the comic facial expression, Jack Nicholson (repleat with puffed up top lip ... now is that meant to be a parody of Brando's padded jowls in The Godfather?... Oh! Who cares?... all I know is, it isn't funny).

Throw in some slow, plodding direction (this film drags on for 2 hours), some hopelessly daft and clichéd dialogue such as; "You remember the Camora? Well we're far bigger, we'll track you down wherever you go", and clichéd mannerisms and you'll be reaching for that fast forward button before you can say "capiche?". Prizzi's Honor is far from being Huston's "masterpiece" and is rather a very poor last work. It's definitely one work in the great director's canon that should be given a concrete overcoat and tossed into the Hudson River.
14 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Good old John Huston movie.
Chuck-14923 August 2000
John Huston made movies mainly during the 40's and the 50's. He is well known for some of his great movies like The Maltese Falcon (1941) and The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948), two movies who earned themselves a position on AFI's top 100 list and what many consider to be his best picture ever, 1951's The African Queen which was ranked 17th on AFI's top 100 list. His major collaborations with Humphrey Bogart also made him quite popular in the beginning of his career. Unfortunately, he died in 1987. However, he did not leave us without giving us an 80's classic à la John Huston. Prizzi's Honor was his final stand and what a stand it was.

The Mob is probably the topic that has been the most used in Cinema. Movies like Little Caesar (1930) and The Public Enemy (1931) are the young classics that gave us a taste of things to come for the more modern classics such as Goodfellas (1990) and the ultimate movie of all-time, The Godfather (1972) and its terrific sequel, The Godfather Part II (1974). As with every other common movie topic, Hollywood has produced many disappointing movies about the Mob such as Scarface (1983). However, it has produced the ultimate disgrace to the Mob movies with 1998's Mafia which tried to parody The Godfather, Scarface, and many others. This is something that I can not tolerate, to make a parody of such great movies. So looking at Prizzi's Honor, I thought this might be a movie that had a similar objective to Mafia with a few big stars in it. I was mistaken.

Charley Partanna (Jack Nicholson) is a wiseguy. At a wedding, he sees a beautiful tall blond woman (Kathleen Turner) with whom he immediately falls in love with. He finally meets this woman. Her name is Irene Walker. He soon finds out that she had made a hit for the Prizzi family, the family of which he is part, the day of the wedding. The two of them fall in love and make plans for marriage. But Irene goes back to California for a few days. During her trip, Charley also learns that a scam has been going on in one of the Casinos owned by the Prizzis and that the man who orchestrated this scam is a man named Marxie Heller. So Charley is sent by the family to get the money back from Marxie.

Charley goes to Heller's house and knocks off Heller. He waits for Heller's wife to return as she apparently had something to do with the scam. But surprise surprise for Charley as Heller's wife turns out to be Irene Walker. Charley spares her after she returns half of the stolen money and goes back to Brooklyn claiming he could only find that and he marries Irene. But complications are bound to arise and they do.

Huston's smart directing does not allow the viewer to call out a mistake in the movie an Richard Condon's script is intelligent as it releases all its small twists and turns in the correct order at the right moments. One of the key actors in the movie is Anjelica Huston's role as the rejected daughter of a second level boss for the Prizzi family. Without her, the movie would probably not end the way it does. Jealousy, greed, love... these are the principal themes of this black-comedy along with, of course, the theme of murder. But as I said at the beginning, this is a typical Huston classic and is not to be missed.
8 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
It just didn't interest me....
MartinHafer22 August 2012
Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner both are assassins, though when Jack first notices her, he has no idea she, too, is a professional hit-man (hit-woman?). When they fall in love and get married, it seems kind of darkly sweet, but soon there are LOTS of complications--including the mob ordering them to kill each other. How will they work this out? Well, the film manages to do it in a way that I certainly didn't expect.

"Prizzi's Honor" is a well made film and it was a sleeper hit back in 1985. However, I've gotta be up front about this one....it just didn't interest me very much. I think there are two main reasons--it should have been funnier and I just don't like most gangster films. There is a HUGE fascination among the public for gangster films, I know, but apart from a few classics, I don't care for the genre at all. So, keep this in mind as you read my review--this guy just isn't into gangster films. Now this isn't to say I hated the film--the acting was quite nice. But I also found the plot needlessly complicated and it's hard caring at all about evil murderers. Worth seeing, perhaps, but to my it just wasn't up to all the hype.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
No matter what...perfect
Joyce Hauchart20 June 2001
No matter what all the negative comments or critics, I always enjoy this movie. Nicholson's Brooklyn accent is perfect, the dumb guy he's playing is perfect.

La Houston and La Turner are perfect. The soundtrack is perfect and John Houston's direction is also perfect.

Everytime I see this movie, small things fascinate me.

Look again and see how the dressers and the location people did their jobs. It's....perfect.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Doesn't Stand test of time
merylmatt14 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Jack plays a hit man. What a stretch.

********************SPOLILER ************************************ He falls for a woman (Kathleen Turner) who is also a contract killer. Now, here's where it gets funny, they each have a contact out on each other! The dialog is stale, predictable. Naturally, stereotypes abound about mobsters and their dirty deeds.

Could have been a good film noir with a nice twist, but no one had the vision to see that. Jack is OK as a confused hit-man in love, Kathleen does what she is supposed to do - look pretty and breathless, nice supporting role from Angelica Huston.

Perhaps back in 1985 the timing was right to spoof the Godfather films, but 25 years later, rather yawn-able.
9 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Doesn't do any one thing well but does everything well enough to produce a good, if unsatisfying film
bob the moo11 December 2005
Charlie Partanna is the number one hit man for the Pizzi family. At a Prizzi wedding he spots a beautiful woman and tries to get to know her, although she is called away. Later that night she calls him and they get together, have sex, hang around and gradually fall in love. He finds out later that she is also a professional killer and is an easy choice when he is given a kidnapping job to do that involves taking out some bodyguards. However Irene is forced to kill a woman that sees them in the act – only to find that the woman was married to a police chief. With the police cutting all ties and coming down on the New York families, Charlie and Irene end up in a perilous situation.

For all its class and reputation, something doesn't quite satisfy about Prizzi's Honour because, although it is mostly enjoyable the variable style means that no one approach works really well even if they all work a bit. The plot sounds pretty good and it does move along well enough but it is regularly a bit too slow, without giving depth in return for the patience it asks for. At turns it is a comedy, emotionally deep, a mobster saga and a romance – it cannot seem to decide which one it wants to be so it tries to blend all aspects in; an attempt that never really comes off but still works well enough for the film itself to be enjoyable. Personally I found it to still be rather unsatisfying because since it didn't go one way it felt like most of it was half-done. So instead of being a deep mobster epic it only had aspects of that; instead of being a satisfyingly tragic romance it tried but was unengaging and instead of having dark laughs it only hit "comic" here and there.

The cast help but they tend to be part of the mixed style rather than trying to get above it. Nicholson tends to overplay the simplicity of his character and thus prevents any real depth to come out – although the final scenes are moving this tends to be despite him and not because of him. Turner is better because she has a better character to play with; ultimately she cannot do it alone but she tends to lift the film a little bit. The two of them have to move between styles as the film does and it is too much for them. The rest of the support tend to exist within one main style to the film and generally benefit from it – for example Hickey, Loggia and Randolph all exist within a mob epic of sorts and have pitched their performances more or less to there. Huston is enjoyable and small turns from Tierney and Pounder are nice finds.

Overall this is an OK film but it could have been better by either focusing on one or two aspects and doing them better. It is a nice try at a nice mix but it doesn't totally come off despite doing enough and having enough class to still produce an enjoyable film if rather muted in most areas.
6 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Terrifically Dark Comedy
gottogorunning17 August 2005
John Huston's terrifically dark comedy adapted to the screen by William Condon from his novel is a great spin on a mob family. Jack Nicholson is very good and fun to watch as the mob hit-man who marries Kathleen Turner, who happens to be a contract hit-man herself. The two are joined by an outstanding supporting cast including Hustons daughter Angelica who won an Oscar for her sly performance. The second family member to be directed to an Oscar by John, his father Walter won in '48 for "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre". William Hickey got a well deserved Oscar nomination as the old Don of the mob family. Huston's direction and the funny script add color to this great period piece.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Thank God I'm not the only one!
johnfuen5 October 2005
Who hated this movie. I took a date to see it because the CRITICS were raving about this movie as a brilliant "dark comedy". Raving is the correct word, because I feel the CRITICS must have been MAD. It certainly was "dark" but it was NO comedy. My date and I both agreed there was nothing funny about the movie. There were no characters we liked and the idea of a Man and Wife in bed with guns at the side of their beds ready to kill one another because it was their "job" was about as funny as going to the dentist.

Yet to this date I still see people claiming it is a great movie. Talk about the EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES. I just don't get it. It is nice to know that I'm not the only person who felt he/she wasted their money on this over rated movie.
8 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed