Bringing Out the Dead

Synopsis: After a disheartening and haunting career wears him down, New York City paramedic Frank Pierce (Nicolas Cage) begins to collapse under the strain of saving lives and witnessing deaths. Through the course of a few nights, three co-workers (John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Tom Sizemore) accompany Pierce as he grasps for sanity and pushes to be fired. Before Pierce falls off the edge, he still has a hope when he forms a friendship with a victim's daughter (Patricia Arquette).
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Production: Paramount Pictures
  2 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
121 min

After World War One it was called

Shell Shock.

After World War Two it was called

Battle Fatigue.

After Vietnam it was called

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Frank Pierce, 28, drives an EMS vehicle for

Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, New York City.

He has been a paramedic for five years.


An EMS "bus" careens around a corner, tires squealing, lights

flashing, siren whoop-whooping, swooping through Stygian

canyons of New York.

FRANK PIERCE, 28, drives. He wears dark cargo pants, black

boots, a white shirt with the paramedic badge, "EMS" gold

logo on one collar, "OLM" on the other. "Our Lady of Mercy

Paramedic" is inscribed in white across the back of his

navy jacket. On his belt: two-way radio, leather gloves,

beeper, drug kit, multi-purpose tool kit, mini-flashlight,

collapsible baton.

LARRY, 35, overweight, his partner for the night, rides techie

(shotgun), both hands clutching the dash.

Frank scans the blurring cityscape for hidden danger. He is

a young man of slight frame and open face--his life, his

possible futures, still before him: behind those open eyes,

beneath those dark shadows: hollowness beckons.

Dispatcher's voice crackles through the cab static: "Ladder

4, respond to a 10-22, four flight residential, 417 East 32.

13 Boy, men's room Grand Central, man set his pants on fire.

Bad burns. 17 David, at 177 East 24, there's a

woman who says a roach crawled in her ear. Can't get it out,

says she's going into cardiac arrest ..."

Frank's detached voice speaks over the urban landscape:


Thursday started out with a bang: a

gunshot to the chest on a drug deal

gone bad. Heat, humidity, moonlight--

all the elements in place for a long

weekend. I was good at my job: there

were periods when my hands moved

with a speed and skill beyond me and

my mind worked with a cool authority

I had never known. But in the last

year I had started to lose that

control. Things had turned bad. I

hadn't saved anyone for months. I

just needed a few slow nights, a

week without tragedy followed by a

couple of days off.

The radio continues: "Zebra, 13Z, 524 East 17--"


(on radio)

We're there.

The ambulance breaks to a halt in front of a row of vintage

walk-ups. Frank and Larry jump out: Frank lugs the EKG monitor

and airway bag, Larry the drug box, yellow oxygen

pack slung over his shoulder. Neighbors crowd around.


Which apartment? Which apartment?


Move back. Where's the stairs? 5A.


Oh Jesus, it's Mr. Burke.

The front door opens, a young boy holding it.

Author's note:
in emergency situations, either on the street

or in the hospital, it is assumed there is continual

background noise--voices, sirens, cries, questions, etc.



Four flights up:
Frank and Larry climbing rotting steps,

gray-yellow painted walls, red doors with three locks each,

Larry, out of breath, his stomach rolling around like a

bowling ball in a bag.


Rate this script:4.3 / 3 votes

Paul Schrader

Paul Joseph Schrader is an American screenwriter, film director, and film critic. Schrader wrote or co-wrote screenplays for four Martin Scorsese films: Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ and Bringing Out the Dead. more…

All Paul Schrader scripts | Paul Schrader Scripts

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Submitted by shilobe on March 28, 2017

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