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Purgatory (1999)

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An outlaw band rides into a town that is actually Purgatory, between Heaven and Hell.

Director:

Uli Edel

Writer:

Gordon T. Dawson (as Gordon Dawson)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Shepard ... Sheriff Forrest / Wild Bill Hickock
Eric Roberts ... Blackjack Britton
Randy Quaid ... Doc Woods / Doc Holliday
Peter Stormare ... Cavin Guthrie
Brad Rowe ... Leo 'Sonny' Dillard
Donnie Wahlberg ... Deputy Glen / Billy The Kid
JD Souther ... Brooks / Jesse James (as John David Souther)
Amelia Heinle ... Rose / Betty McCullough
Shannon Kenny ... Dolly Sloan / Ivy
John Dennis Johnston ... Lamb / 'Lefty' Slade
Saginaw Grant ... Gatekeeper
Richard Edson ... Euripides
Gregory Scott Cummins ... Knox
John Diehl ... Badger
R.G. Armstrong ... Coachman
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Storyline

An outlaw band flees a posse and rides into Refuge, a small town where no one carries a gun, drinks, or swears. The town is actually Purgatory, and the peaceful inhabitants are all famous dead outlaws and criminals such as Doc Holiday and Wild Bill Hickok who must redeem themselves before gaining admittance to Heaven...or screw up and go to Hell. The residents must either defend themselves against the outlaws and risk eternal damnation... or die a second time. Written by <crow_steve@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy | Western

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

TNT [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Purgatory West of the Pecos See more »

Filming Locations:

Barstow, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rosemont Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of R.G. Armstrong. See more »

Goofs

Doc Holliday was indeed a dentist and not a physician. In the Old West, however, remote towns often had to use what they had for medical care. Physicians were scarce, so if a town did not have a doctor they would go to the dentist, veterinarian, or even barber for care. Also sometimes physicians would be called upon to care for sick animals if needed. It is therefore not that far of a reach that a dentist would serve as the town doctor. See more »

Quotes

Blackjack Britton: You're still our sixteen to your four. The odds are against you.
[Doc shows up, shoots a man, grabs a drink]
Doc Holliday: The odds are getting better!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
To think some of you used to be my heroes.
20 July 2014 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

There quite often comes a time when a film fan who is so enamoured with a specific genre or style of film making, comes across a picture that one knows is far from perfect if deconstructed frame by frame, but still loves it with every breath they take. Purgatory is one such film for myself.

Purgatory, a TNT TV production, is that rare old beast of the Western fused with fantastical or supernatural elements. More often than not this is a blend that proved to be disastrous, hence why there are so few films of this type put into production here in the modern era. Yet director Uli Edel and producer Daniel Schneider pulled it off back in 1999, my only regret is that it took me so long to let it into my cinematic life.

The title is something of a give away, thus rendering the supposed twist as being hardly surprising. However, it was not the intention of the film makers to hoist a Sixth Sense surprise on us, really it wasn't. We are asked to put ourselves into the young Greenhorn shoes of Leon "Sonny" Miller (Brad Rowe) and experience his own coming of age awakening. From dime novels and hero worship to first kills and first loves, Sonny is our conduit and the key holder to the gates of redemption for many of the Wild West's legendary characters.

The cast is a veritable feast of splendid character actors playing a veritable feast of iconic real life people. Sam Shepard, Eric Roberts, Randy Quaid, Peter Stormare, Donnie Wahlberg and J.D. Souther. While Brad Fiedel provides a musical score of some magnificent beauty, a piece that revels in heroic swirls and escalating emotions, it darts around the town of "Refuge" like a novelist writing a dime novel soon to go down in folklore legend.

Budget restrictions are hidden very well, Edel and his cinematographer William Wages prove adept at lighting techniques and scene staging. Be it keeping things in the shade or cloaking a sequence with believable dust clouds, there's a professional touch here that puts the pic into the upper echelons of TV movies.

Then there's the action, a key component for so many Western fans, and thankfully Purgatory is book-ended by superb action sequences, with the finale a skilled lesson in shoot-out choreography and machismo pulse beats. And then there's the emotional kickers, ready to be embraced by those who still yearn to have the spirit lifted and the heart gladdened.

I could write a whole weighty paragraph on Purgatory's flaws, maybe even point out thematically what I think will annoy others, because for sure not everything works. But as a Western movie lover I found myself cheering at the film's end, even wiping away a damn fly from my eye. That's job done for me, a Western that tickled and teased my every emotion, wonderful. 10/10


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