Prizzi's Honor

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Prizzi's Honor
File:Prizzis honor.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by John Huston
Produced by John Foreman
Written by Richard Condon
Janet Roach
Starring <templatestyles src="Plainlist/styles.css"/>
Music by Alex North
Cinematography Andrzej Bartkowiak
Edited by Kaja Fehr
Rudi Fehr
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (United States)
Producers Sales Organization (non-United States)
Release dates
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  • June 13, 1985 (1985-06-13)
Running time
130 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $16 million[1]
Box office $26,657,534 (US) [2]

Prizzi's Honor is a 1985 American comedy-drama film directed by John Huston. It stars Jack Nicholson, Kathleen Turner, Robert Loggia and, in an Academy Award-winning performance, the director's daughter Anjelica Huston.

The film was adapted by Richard Condon and Janet Roach from Condon's 1982 novel of the same name. Its score, composed by Alex North, adapts the music of Giacomo Puccini and Gioachino Rossini.


Charley Partanna is a hit man for a New York crime organization headed by the elderly Don Corrado Prizzi, whose business is generally handled by his sons Dominic and Eduardo and by his longtime right-hand man, Angelo, who is Charley's father.

At a family wedding, Charley is quickly infatuated with a beautiful woman he doesn't recognize. He asks Maerose Prizzi, estranged daughter of Dominic, if she recognizes the woman, oblivious to the fact that Maerose still has feelings for Charley, having once been his lover. Maerose is in disfavor with her father for running off with another man after the end of her romance with Charley.

Charley discovers that the mysterious woman, Irene, is a "contractor" who, like himself, performs assassinations for the mob. He flies to California to spend time with her and quickly falls in love. Unaware she is married, Charley also carries out a contract to kill Irene's husband, Marksie Heller, for robbing a Nevada casino. She repays some of the money Marksie stole and in Mexico marries Charley.

Charley is unaware that Irene is suspected by the mob of having the rest of the money Marksie took. A jealous Maerose travels there on her own to establish for a fact that Irene has double-crossed the organization. The information restores Maerose to good graces somewhat with her father and the don.

Dominic, acting on his own, wants Charley out of the way and hires someone to do the hit, not knowing that he has just given the job to Charley's own wife. Angelo sides with his son, and Eduardo is so appalled by his brother's actions that he helps set up Dominic's permanent removal from the family.

Irene and Charley team up on a kidnapping that will enrich the family, but she shoots a police captain's wife in the process, endangering the organization's business relationship with the cops. The don is also still demanding a large sum of money from Irene for her unauthorized activities in Nevada, which she doesn't want to pay. In time, the don tells Charley that his wife's "gotta go."

Things come to a head in California when, acting as if everything is all right, Charley comes home to his wife. (A famous line from the movie, spoken by Charley, is "Do I marry her? Do I ice her? Which one of these?") Each pulls a weapon simultaneously in the bedroom. Irene ends up dead, and Charley ends up back in New York, missing her, but consoled by Maerose.


Critical reception

Pauline Kael wrote:

"This John Huston picture has a ripe and daring comic tone. It revels voluptuously in the murderous finagling of the members of a Brooklyn Mafia family, and rejoices in their scams. It's like The Godfather acted out by The Munsters. Jack Nicholson's average-guyness as Charley, the clan's enforcer, is the film's touchstone: this is a baroque comedy about people who behave in ordinary ways in grotesque circumstances, and it has the juice of everyday family craziness in it."[3]


Academy Awards

The film won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Huston).

It was also nominated for:

American Film Institute

Golden Globes


  • Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
  • Golden Globe for Best Director (John Huston)
  • Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical (Nicholson)
  • Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture -- Comedy/Musical (Turner)


  • Golden Globe for Best Supporting Performance by an Actress (Anjelica Huston)
  • Golden Globe for Best Screenplay - Comedy/Musical (Adapted)

See also


  1. Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p260
  2. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  3. [dead link][1]
  4. AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees
  5. AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Nominees
  6. AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot

External links