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The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans is a 2009 remake of the 1992 film directed by Werner Herzog and starring Nicolas Cage. Filming began in July 2008 in Louisiana, and also around South Mississippi shooting some scenes at the Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis. The film was released on November 20, 2009.


The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans draws elements from Abel Ferrara's 1992 film Bad Lieutenant, which featured a crooked cop (Harvey Keitel) who is a drug addict and takes sexual favors as bribes.

The main character is Terrence McDonagh, a New Orleansmarker Police sergeant, who starts out as a good cop, receiving a medal and a promotion to lieutenant for heroism during Hurricane Katrina. During his heroic act, McDonagh injures his back and later becomes addicted to prescription pain medication. McDonagh struggles with addictions and finds himself involved with drug dealer Big Fate, who is suspected of murdering a family of African immigrants.


The film was first announced in May 2008 with Werner Herzog to direct and Nicolas Cage to star. The script was penned by TV writer William Finkelstein. One major change from the original film was moving the setting from New York Citymarker to New Orleansmarker. Herzog insists that the film is not a remake, saying, "It only has a corrupt policeman as the central character and that's about it." At the Academy Awards in 2009, Herzog stated that he has never seen Ferrara's film, saying "I haven't seen it, so I can't compare it. It has nothing to do with it." Herzog did not like the idea of a remake and desired to change the title of the film, but was unsuccessful. Herzog stated, "I battled against the title from the first moment on", but added, "I can live with it, I have no problem with it at all. The title is probably a mistake, but so be it."

Actress Eva Mendes, who starred with Cage in the 2007 comic book-based film Ghost Rider, joined the cast the following June. Filming began on July 7, 2008 in Louisianamarker.

Abel Ferrara's reaction

Abel Ferrara, director of the 1992 film, has been quoted by various media outlets as being very angry about this film. After the film was first announced, Ferrara was quoted as saying "As far as remakes go, … I wish these people die in Hell. I hope they're all in the same streetcar, and it blows up." When asked later for his response to Ferrara's statements, Herzog stated that he does not know who Ferrara is, saying "I've never seen a film by him. I have no idea who he is." At a press conference at the Venice Film Festival after the film's premiere, Herzog said of Ferrara, "I would like to meet the man," and "I have a feeling that if we met and talked, over a bottle of whiskey, I should add, I think we could straighten everything out."


The film currently holds a 84% 'Fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 61 reviews.After playing at various film festivals, the film has, thus far, been awarded generally positive reviews by critics.

Guardian critic Xan Brooks called Cage's work in the movie "surely his best performance in years." Blogging about the film from the 2009 Toronto Film Festival, Roger Ebert declared: "Nicolas Cage is as good as anyone since Klaus Kinski at portraying a man whose head is exploding. It's a hypnotic performance." He also wrote that the film is highly different from Abel Ferrara's 1992 movie and that "comparisons are pointless."



Although production on the film was completed in 2008, the film did not quickly find a distributor for a wide release. The film had its world premiere at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, and was also screened at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival and the 2009 Telluride Film Festival. The film's American release will be distributed by First Look Studios, with a release date of November 20, 2009.

Awards and nominations

Venice Film Festival 2009


  1. Film description at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival
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