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Dead Man The Movie

Updated on May 16, 2016

Any One Else Like Dead Man

The film Dead Man with Johnny Depp has enough character development and plot twists to make it your cult movie.

The theme is basic good and evil, innocence and knowledge.

Keep this one in mind when October comes around again. Costuming in the movie is ideal for a Halloween night. Invite everyone to Dress Like in 'Dead Man' The Movie.

The short vignettes ending with a black out pause allows stopping and group discussion.

The music has an original score that is a single guitar of riffs and weird color tones. A surround sound system would do Neil Young justice, he is the guitar player for the soundtrack.

Did the Dead Man get any justice?


Everything is Black and White in the Film Dead Man

Knowledge and innocence, black and white, sound and no sound, this film is loaded with duality and opposites. It is not just for entertainment. This movie is a thinking person's film. Better not be squeamish because it is just weird, as well.

First viewing of Dead Man forms many questions. What is going on here? I could not believe William Blake actually died in the end because I did not see it happen.

The movie is called Dead Man so William Blake died.

Time up. Gone to the spiritual world.

Dead Man Trailer

Jacob's Ladder by William Blake

The sky is the last thing you see in Dead Man

Dead Man
Dead Man

An art house style film in black and white. Original music composed while watching the individual scenes by Neil Young.

Premise is innocence and knowledge.


Have you seen Dead Man?

So who can like a black and white film with not much dialogue, no hard action, and weird guitar riffs the whole 121 minutes? The art house crowd or the consummate Johnny Depp fan. If you are into directors than the Jim Jarmusch fan.

I had not even heard of this film till 10 years after its initial release. I was mesmerized the first viewing and watched it again the next day with my husband. After watching it four times I'm still intrigued with the duality of good and evil, and naivety and knowledge that is the underlining theme of the film. The idea has added that much more meaning into the film for me.

How many people have seen Dead Man

See results

What is Dead Man About?

Short plot summary

Here is the shortest summary possible. A young man in the second half of the 19th century travels from a big city to the western territories.

He is very innocent to violence, sex and characters outside of a normal family unit.

He meets up with all the varieties of knowledge that is your fare when learning about the world.

On the way he has a true friend, a mortal enemy, a short love, fights for his life and experiences the calm of the spiritual afterlife.

All this and the face and skills of Johnny Depp in the hands of director and script writer Jim Jarmusch.

The photo above right is from film blog SioixWIRE: May 2008.

What Is Your Favorite Scene From Dead Man? - Mine is the Makah village scene near the end.

"The black and white filming of the Makah village fills the viewer with wonder about what is coming next, and the encroaching finality that is sure to come. William Blake is witnessing new sights and seems accepting. He trusts his new friend to help him continue his journey." by paperfacets

Makah Nation in Northwest Washington

Makah Nation was in Dead Man

Right. 1910 photo by A. Curtis

Makah Indian Nation Official website

Neil Young Film Score

Neil Young took two days and three sessions to make the sound track. It was done by watching the film and creating the guitar sequences as it was running. There is a brief recitation of the poet William Blake by Johnny Depp.

Maybe it is because I have so much enthusiasm for this film, but when viewing this trailer about Neil Young making the score my skin crawls. It starts at the ears and spreads. Now, that's music with extra punch!

The Soundtrack

When you read the titles of Neil Young's CD's you know he was a good fit for the Dead Man soundtrack. I have the CD and listen to it occasionally. Depp does a Blake poem and one clip of Nobody's dialogue is included, as well as, the scene of the three travelers. The rest is Neil Young's guitar.

Cover of the CD at left. The character no longer is innocent.

Do Not Forget the Real William Blake

The Character's Namesake

Our dead man is named William Blake but he has never heard of the writer, poet and artist William Blake of England. His new friend Nobody in the western territories had.

As a young boy Nobody was captured by white men and taken from his Indian village to England and shown as a curiosity. He was afforded study and learned the white ways. He came to know the works of William Blake.

William Blake of London (1757-1827) was considered mad by contemporaries. He is now praised for creativity in a whole body of work that includes poetry, printing, and illustrations. Very recognizable is the poem Tyger of "Tyger Tyger burning bright..."

Bottom line; did you like Dead Man or find something interesting?

Yes, I even came away with extra thoughts about the world.

Submit a Comment

  • Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

    At this moment in my viewing experience I rate this my "Favorite" movie. I will let you know if something knocks it out of first place.

Video of Tyger

This video is intriguing. Inspired by the poem of William Blake.

Sometimes there is just more to a movie than the eye sees.

Watch this movie for Halloween. The music is strange and it is black and white. A good candidate for a creepy feeling afterward, without being scared.

© 2009 Sherry Venegas

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  • Arachnea profile image

    Tanya Jones 2 years ago from Texas USA

    I'm happy to see that this is available on Netflix. I hope to watch it over the weekend. Great hub.

  • TreasuresBrenda profile image

    Treasures By Brenda 2 years ago from Canada

    Thanks, Johnny was looking good in this film, LOL, which I don't think I have seen though moments seemed familiar.

    Cool that Neil Young did the soundtrack!

  • NoYouAreNot profile image

    NoYouAreNot 6 years ago

    @NoYouAreNot: You can pronounce it E-lé-ni if you like. "Helenee" is more like rendering the written form of the name. You know, "H" for aspiration, "ee" for a long vowel. Modern Greeks rarely pronounce these variations nowadays, but I insist on spelling my Greek correctly for the sake of etymology and correct meaning.

  • NoYouAreNot profile image

    NoYouAreNot 6 years ago

    I liked "Dead Man." Great music too. Thanks for reminding me, I hope I can get my boyfriend to watch it some time with me. I liked your spherical approach (the movie, the music, the poet W.Blake, etc). Very artistic. :-) Squidliking, Favoriting, what else can I do for you? xDD

  • Timewarp profile image

    Paul 6 years ago from Montreal

    Such a thoughtfully made artistic movie, thumbs up!

  • profile image

    inkserotica 7 years ago

    I had to visit this lens because of the title ;) Anything with Johnny Depp in has to be good, right? :) 5*

  • c randall profile image

    c randall 7 years ago

    Great movie, but you knew I liked it. I listed it as one of the Unknown, Obscure and Underrated Movies That You Should See on my list at

    Thanks for getting more in depth with it. "Dead Man" deserves to be better known.

  • Laura Schofield profile image

    Laura Schofield 7 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

    Sounds intriguing. I don't mind watching Johnny Depp and my hubby loves listening to Neil Young so this will most likely be a hit with us. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • profile image

    anonymous 7 years ago

    Interesting. I hadn't heard of this movie. I'll have to check it out.

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