The Road to Perdition Movie Poster Image

The Road to Perdition



Powerful, beautiful film; ok for mature teens.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 117 minutes

What parents need to know


A lot of peril and violence, including organized crime killings and death of innocent family members.


Sexual references and situations, prostitutes.


Strong language

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has predictably coarse language from the 1930s gangsters, as well as some bloody murder scenes, always by gunfire. A woman and small child are killed off screen, and the main characters are often in peril.

What's the story?

ROAD TO PERDITION centers on Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks), a tough hit man in 1931 Chicago, whose loyalty and sense of duty keep him working for John Rooney (Paul Newman), a friendly but firm Irish mob boss . Rooney treats Sullivan like a son. Sullivan keeps his family out of his work, but when his curious son Michael, Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) sees something he isn't supposed to see, Rooney's jealous and paranoid son Connor (Daniel Craig) tries to make sure he doesn't talk by killing Sullivan's wife (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and youngest son (Liam Aiken) but missing Michael Jr. Sullivan sets out on a road trip with his surviving son as he seeks vengeance Connor and tries to avoid his former affiliates. Along the way he robs banks while his son drives the getaway car. To make matters worse, there is a sadistic, despicable man who photographs murder scenes (Jude Law) on Sullivan's trail, and he's willing to assist the murder process to get a good shot. Adventures ensue, and the Sullivans meet many people and go many places with mixed results until the film's inevitable conclusion.

Is it any good?


Road to Perdition is a powerful, beautifully made film about fathers and sons and sin and redemption, that overrides minor flaws through beautiful directing and first class performances. It's one of the best made films of 2002, and Mendes, Hanks, and Newman are sure to be remembered during Oscar predictions at the end of the year. The story is interesting, with the father-son relationships and David Self's adapted screenplay being both realistic and intriguing.

However, some important factors, such as more about Jude Law's character and some essential aspects of Sullivan and Rooney's relationship are ignored, as this ambitious film is scared of being overlong, an oft-criticized quality of epic dramas like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. It leaves the viewer to decide, but if it had just gone out on a limb there, the film could've been saved from having some baffling moments at its conclusion.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Mr. Sullivan was so bent on killing the murderer of his family, and even what makes criminals likeable in movies.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 12, 2002
DVD/Streaming release date:February 25, 2003
Cast:Jude Law, Paul Newman, Tom Hanks
Director:Sam Mendes
Run time:117 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence, language, and sexual situations

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 1, 8, 9, and 14 year old Written bythejokerspencil January 29, 2009

Powerful,Beautiful, Best Movie Ever

I loved this movie it was so incredible I can watch it over and over and over again it is one of those movies that will dazzle. Bueatiful music and fantastic acting as well as directing.
Teen, 17 years old Written bydavyborn January 2, 2012

This brutal but hauntingly beautiful looking movie is for adults only

Road to Perdition is a odd little film. On one side, it was a huge box office success back in the summer of 2002, it won an Oscar for best cinematography, which it most certainly deserved, and it got raved reviews from critics. But, on the other side, it was quickly forgotten by the director and shoved away in the back closet for other films to come like Jarhead, Revolutionary Road and Away we go. And, while it is rather harsh that that happened, I think that that is actually pretty fair considering the fact that it already was a big success, so, I guess you could say that, what goes around, comes around. But, despite the movies visual brilliance, powerful performances and memorable side characters, Road to Perdition is manly just a exercise in style and well acted performances. Still, that doesn't mean that it isn't a entertaining one, by any means at all. But, there is plenty of well deserved R rated content in the movie: There is infrequent but very strong brutal violence including many, many gunfights and head shots. Also, there is extremely infrequent but moderate sexual content with a brief scene in a strip club which also includes some explicit sexual dialog. Finally, there is also frequent and moderate profanity including f--k, d-ck, h-ll, sh-t and more. So, if you are on of the many viewers who have long forgotten this Oscar winning and stylish drama, than check it out and relive it all over again.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008