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City of Hope is a 1991 American drama film written and directed by John Sayles. The film features Vincent Spano, Stephen Mendillo and Chris Cooper.[2]

City of Hope
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Sayles
Produced byHarold Welb
John Sloss
Screenplay byJohn Sayles
Music byMason Daring
CinematographyRobert Richardson
Edited byJohn Sayles
Distributed byEsperanza Films
The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release date
Running time
129 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million[1]
Box office$1.3 million (US).[1]



The film tells the story of Nick Rinaldi (Vincent Spano), who has spent his life in one New Jersey city, getting a free ride from his well-connected father (Tony LoBianco) and hearing the locals talk of his brother's death in Vietnam. As Rinaldi searches for more self-control, he quits the contractor's job provided by his father, feeling that major events are about to happen in his life. By the film's ending, his life will change, as will the lives of many others.



Critical responseEdit

Film critic Roger Ebert wrote, "City of Hope is a powerful film, and an angry one. It is impossible not to find echoes of its despair on the front pages every day. It asks a hard question: Is it possible for a good person to prevail in a corrupt system, just simply because right is on his side? The answer, in the short run, is that power is stronger than right. The notion of a long run, of course, is all that keeps hope alive."[3]

The staff at Variety magazine wrote, "John Sayles' ambitious, wide-ranging study of corruption and community in a small Eastern city has as many parallel plots and characters as Hill Street Blues, while at the same time having a richness of theme and specificity of vision more common to serious cinema."[4]

Film critics Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat wrote about the varied aspects of the film, writing, "Through the diverse activities of over three dozen characters in this film, we see some of the major challenges of urban living including crime, political chicanery, the patronage system, the demise of the work ethic, the rapacious side of capitalism, and the high cost of civic apathy. City of Hope helps us see that community is enriched or torn apart by the ethical decisions we make every day."[5]





  1. ^ a b Gerry Molyneaux, "John Sayles, Renaissance Books, 2000 p 195.
  2. ^ City of Hope on IMDb .
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times, film review, October 25, 1991.
  4. ^ Variety, film review, 1991. Accessed: March 1 2008.
  5. ^ Brussat, Frederic and Mary Ann. Spirituality & Practice, film review, 1970–2007. Accessed: March 1, 2008.

External linksEdit