The Big Easy

Director: Jim McBride
Screenwriters: Daniel Petrie

Institute History

  • 1987 Sundance Film Festival


The Big Easy is a tout cop thriller in which the distinctions between normal police routine and corruption blur. It is a modern-day throw-back to film noir; plots congeal, loyalties shift and not much of anything or anyone is to be trusted.

New Orleans. Harbor of criminals. Mooring place of the Mafia and gateway to the drug trade. A low-level hood is found dead. Lieutenant Remmy McSwain (Dennis Quaid) arrives on the scene and soon becomes enmeshed in more, apparently Mafia drug-related murders. With Assistant D.A. Ann Osborne (Ellen Barkin), his investigation leads deeper and deeper into the ranks of his fellow officers.

Dennis Quaid (Breaking Away, The Right Stuff) and Ellen Barkin (Tender Mercies, Daniel, Desert Bloom) Both turn in fine performances; and Ned Beatty invigorates what might have easily turned into a type-cast assignment as the Police chief involved in a bizarre triangle of Mafia, murder and drugs.

Screening Details

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