Road to Perdition - Summary

Road to Perdition is a movie that takes place in 1931, about a mob enforcer who seeks vengence against a mobster for murdering his family. Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is an enforcer for Rock Island Irish mob boss John Rooney (Paul Newman) during the Great Depression. John raises Michael when he is orphaned and seems to love him more than his own son, Connor (Daniel Craig). 

Connor kills his father’s associate, Finn McGovern (Ciaran Hinds), resulting in Michael gunning down McGovern's men. Michael's twelve-year-old son Michael, Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) witnesses the massacre while hiding in his father’s car.

Despite Michael swearing his son to secrecy, Connor murders Michael's wife Annie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and younger son Peter (Liam Aiken), mistaking him for Michael, Jr. Connor then tries to kill Michael, Sr. but he escapes to Chicago with his son. Michael tries to get a job with Al Capone (Anthony LaPaglia) but is turned down by Capone's second-in-command Frank Nitti (Stanley Tucci). 

Michael plans to kill Connor but he goes into hiding. To protect Connor, his father reluctantly hires crime-scene photographer and assassin, Harlen Maguire (Jude Law), to kill Michael. Maguire tracks Michael and his son to a roadside diner, but fails to kill him.

In response to the hit ordered on him, Michael begins robbing banks which hold Capone and John Rooney’s laundered money. Michael hopes to trade the money for Connor. John refuses to be the one to give-up his son and encourages Michael to leave with his son before they both die.

Michael takes his son to stay at his Aunt Sara's beach house in Perdition, a (fictional) town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Can the father and son find sanctuary in Perdition, Michigan? Will Michael be able to physically save his son and morally save himself?

Travel back in time to visit Prohibition-era Chicago. Meet the leaders of Chicago’s organized crime syndicate. Learn about the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and how it impacted America (including its many unintended consequences which ultimately led to its repeal). Along the way, think about how a man like Michael Sullivan ponders the morality of what he is doing to his own life and to the lives of his family members.

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Apr 13, 2017

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Road to Perdition" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2002. Jun 03, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips