Down Came a Blackbird

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Down Came a Blackbird
Directed by Jonathan Sanger
Produced by Patrick Whitley
Written by Kevin Droney
Starring Raúl Juliá
Music by Roger Mason
Graeme Revell
Cinematography Kees Van Oostrum
All Media Inc., Chanticleer Films, Showtime Networks
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date
  • October 22, 1995 (1995-10-22)
Running time
113 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Down Came a Blackbird is a 1995 American made for TV drama film directed by Jonathan Sanger and starring Raúl Juliá, Laura Dern and Vanessa Redgrave. It was the final film appearance of Juliá, filmed in October 1994. Juliá died two weeks after production finished and a year before its release.[1][2][3]

Plot summary[edit]

Tomás Ramírez (Raúl Juliá) is a professor who joins a clinic run by Anna Lenke (Vanessa Redgrave), a Holocaust survivor, psychologist and the clinic's proprietor, whose patients are also recovering Holocaust and torture victims. Among them is Helen McNulty (Laura Dern), a journalist tortured by the death squads of an unidentified Central American country controlled by a dictatorship. In time she grows close to Ramírez, but suspicions are aroused when three men attempt to detain him while he and McNulty are on a date. McNulty is able to photograph one of the assailants and sends the picture to a colleague for possible identification.

During one of the Scotch-fueled late night conversations between McNulty and Ramírez, he talks about a childhood friend who was an officer in the Army of his home country. Ramírez portrays his friend as a man who followed orders without questioning the morality of them, preferring to go along with his superiors in order to protect his family.

Eventually McNulty's colleague contacts the person in the picture and arranges a meeting where the man and his two associates identify themselves as police from Ramirez's home country. They inform McNulty that Ramírez is a fugitive and wanted for torture. Back at group therapy session in the clinic, McNulty violently confronts Ramírez with this revelation, where he confesses that the childhood friend he spoke of was really himself. When asked why he came to the clinic, Ramírez stated that he wanted "to feel human again." Dr. Lenke and the patients escort Ramírez out of the clinic, where the police take him into custody.


  1. ^ Cruz et al., p. 85[full citation needed]
  2. ^ Cruz et al., p. 86[full citation needed]
  3. ^ Variety, Down Came a Blackbird by Tony Scott

External links[edit]