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From Hell
Directed by Albert Hughes
Allen Hughes
Produced by Jane Hamsher
Don Murphy
Amy Robinson
Written by Screenplay:
Terry Hayes
Rafael Yglesias
Graphic Novel:
Alan Moore
Eddie Campbell
Starring Johnny Depp
Heather Graham
Ian Holm
Robbie Coltrane
Ian Richardson
Jason Flemyng
Music by Trevor Jones
Editing by George Bowers
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) October 19, 2001
Running time 122 min.
Country USA
Language English
Budget $35 million
Gross revenue $74.5 million

From Hell is a 2001 film about the Jack the Ripper murders, based on the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. It was directed by the Hughes brothers, the first film that they directed outside of the urban film genre. It was first released on October 19, 2001.



It is 1888 in London, and the poor lead horrifying lives in the city's deadliest slum, Whitechapel. Harassed by gangs and forced to work the streets for a living, Mary Kelly and her small group of prostitutes trudge on through this daily misery, their only consolation being that things can't get any worse.

Yet things somehow do when their friend Ann is kidnapped and they are drawn into a conspiracy with links higher up than they could possibly imagine. The kidnapping is soon followed by the gruesome murder of another woman, Martha, and it becomes apparent that they are being hunted down, one by one.

Sinister even by Whitechapel standards, the murder grabs the attention of Inspector Frederick Abberline, a brilliant yet troubled man whose police work is often aided by his psychic "visions". Abberline becomes deeply involved with the case, which takes on personal meaning to him when he and Mary begin to fall in love.

It is then revealed that Sir William Gull, the doctor of the Royal Family, is Jack the Ripper. He has been killing the witnesses to Prince Eddy's forbidden Catholic marriage to a prostitute who bears his legitimate daughter (Alice), who is therefore the heir to the British throne. The Freemasons, a secret society of which Gull is a member, decide to lobotomize him to protect the Royal Family from the scandal. Mary Kelly doesn't die; Jack mistakes Ada, the Belgian girl, for her and kills her instead. Mary lives happily ever after with Alice in a cottage on a cliff by the sea. Inspector Frederick Abberline dies alone of an opium overdose, knowing he can never see Mary again without endangering her.


  • Johnny Depp as Inspector Frederick Abberline, the visionary and sympathetic police officer who has to investigate the murder series. The consumption of drugs makes him dream scenes from the murders. The investigation itself, though, he carries out based on a conclusive line of thought.
  • Heather Graham as Mary Kelly, a young "bangtail" who builds up a relationship to Abberline and eventually falls in love with him.
  • Ian Holm as Sir William Gull, a fine gentleman, retired surgeon and physician ordinary to Queen Victoria, now teaching at the Royal London Hospital. Because of his expertise in anatomy and the soul, he becomes the scientific adviser of Abberline.
  • Robbie Coltrane as Sergeant Peter Godley, the humorous and literate subordinate assistant and friend of Abberline. The character is based on Sgt. George Godley.
  • Ian Richardson as Sir Charles Warren, a stiff bureaucrat and Abberline's superior.
  • Jason Flemyng as Netley, the coachman and stooge of the murderer.
  • Katrin Cartlidge as Annie Chapman, aka Dark Annie, bangtail and gullible 3rd victim of the murderer.
  • Terence Harvey as Ben Kidney, the head of the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police.
  • Susan Lynch as Liz Stride, the spirited bangtail and 4th victim that "wasn't finished".
  • Paul Rhys as Dr. Ferral, an ambitious young doctor and specialist in treatment of dementia.
  • Lesley Sharp as Kate Eddowes, the mothering bangtail and 5th victim.
  • Estelle Skornik as Ada, the old friend of Liz from Bruxelles.
  • Nicholas McGaughey as Officer Bolt
  • Annabelle Apsion as Polly Nichols, the 2nd victim of the murderer.
  • Joanna Page as Ann Crook, an ex-bangtail and now wife to Albert and young mother of a daughter.
  • Mark Dexter as Albert Sickert/Prince Edward Albert Victor, husband to Ann and grandson of Queen Victoria. A composite character based on Walter Sickert and Prince Albert Victor
  • Danny Midwinter as Constable Withers, a cheeky member of the task force led by Abberline.
  • Samantha Spiro as Martha Tabram, the 1st victim of the murderer.
  • David Schofield as McQueen, a crook who extorts the bangtails.
  • Bryon Fear as Robert Best, a reporter.
  • Peter Eyre as Lord Hallsham, a confidential servant of Queen Victoria and judge of...
  • Cliff Parisi as Mac Bartender
  • Sophia Myles as Victoria Abberline, dead wife of Fred Abberline who appears in on of his dreams.
  • Ralph Ineson as Gordie, a stooge of McQueen.
  • Liz Moscrop as Queen Victoria
  • Ian McNeice as the coroner Robert Drudge
  • Vincent Franklin as George Lusk
  • Anthony Parker (actor) as Joseph Merrick then known as John the Elephant Man
  • Simon Harrison (actor) as Thomas Bond


The film got mixed reviews from critics. Ebert and Roeper gave the film a "two-thumbs up" (Roger Ebert alone gave it 3 out of 4 stars).

E! Online stated it is "two hours of gory murders, non-sequitur scenes, and an undeveloped romance" and gave the film a C-. The New York Post called it a "gripping and stylish thriller".

The film grossed $31.6 million domestically and $74.5 million worldwide. [1]


Influences and interpretations

  • When Godley doubts the testimony of Mary and calls her a whore, Abberline's look at him causes him to ask "A rose by any other name". This is a reference to William Shakespeare's play Romeo & Juliet.
  • During the murder of Liz, Netley yells at a Jewish passer by "What the fuck are you looking at, Lipski?", a reference to Israel Lipski's connection to the murder cases.

Differences from graphic novel

The film version of From Hell differs enormously from the graphic novel.

  • In the film Abberline is a young, psychic widower who is addicted to opium. In the book, and historically, Abberline is a gruff, middle-aged, married detective. Towards the end of the graphic novel he is assisted by a professed psychic who, despite being fraudulent, eventually leads them to the killer. In the novel, as in real life, Abberline dies many years after the Ripper murders.
  • In the original graphic novel the small group of prostitutes attempt to blackmail the House of Hanover regarding the Anne Crook scandal, thus giving a more clear reason for their murders.
  • In the graphic novel, Martha Tabram is barely mentioned and Catherine Eddowes is shown as a minor character murdered by mistake. Neither was a part of the group of prostitutes covered in the storyline.
  • In the graphic novel, Mary Kelly is shown as a promiscuous lesbian, but in the film much of that subplot has been transferred to Elizabeth Stride.
  • In the film, Mary Kelly and Abberline have extensive dealings and an actual relationship. In the book their relationship is far smaller in scale, with the two being portrayed as having a coincidental friendship under false pretenses (Abberline claiming to be a saddle-maker and Kelly going by the name of "Emma"), completely unrelated to their respective involvements with the Ripper case, and with neither ever learning the truth about the other.
  • The film condenses or ignores much of the graphic novel's discussion of the supernatural and occult.
  • The graphic novel makes no mystery of Jack's identity, concentrating instead on the psychology of the character and of the era, while the film is a whodunit mystery.

See also


External links

Preceded by
Training Day
Box office number-one films of 2001 (USA)
October 21
Succeeded by


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

From Hell is a 2001 film, starring Johnny Depp, Heather Graham and Ian Holm, about an inspector with psychic abilities investigating the Jack the Ripper murders.


Peter Godley

  • Your typical Londoner, imbued with Christian sympathy for his fellow man — or fellow whore, in this case.
  • You know who you're going to turn into. That sad old man in the pub that no one wants to sit beside because after a few drinks he'll start talking about the girl that got away.

Mary Kelly

  • We were starving, but we were starving in fresh air.
  • What? You think I was paying you back? I didn't mean it as business. I'm still a woman, they haven't taken that away from me, not yet anyways!
  • I know you asked me to wait. If I'm to be murdered, I'd like at least to die in my village. I'm going to the orphanage to collect baby Alice. Here's an address where you can find us. We'll wait for you eagerly. I know in my heart we can be happy living by the sea. Just as you saw. I hope to be with you soon, dearest. All my love, Mary.

William Gull/Jack the Ripper

  • No man amongst you is fit to judge the mighty art that I have wrought. Your rituals are empty oaths you neither understand nor live by.The Great Architect speaks to me. He is the balance, where my deeds are weighed and judged. Not you.


Frederick Abberline: Sergeant, it's night.
Sergeant Peter Godley: Well spotted, Inspector Abberline. Indeed it is night. Our genius has returned to us. Thank you, gentlemen. And Remember, if you ever wish to escape the dreary confines of your present duties, this never happened. Cut along now.
Frederick Abberline: Have we lost a day?
Sergeant Peter Godley: No, inspector. Indeed, it's only been four hours since you left here. Oh, [and] deepest apologies for the, uh... rude awakening.
Frederick Abberline: I suspect you enjoyed that.
Sergeant Peter Godley: "I must be cruel only to be kind," as the poet said. Although I would happily wallop you every time you chased the dragon.

Sergeant Peter Godley: You've seen something? What did you see?
Frederick Abberline: A petticoat saturated with blood.
Sergeant Peter Godley: You know, they used to burn men like you alive.

Frederick Abberline: You're physician in ordinary to the Queen entrusted with the well-being of the heir to the throne. Only you had reason to believe that these unfortunates, these whores, these traitors destroyed your life's work.
Sir William Gull: Below the skin of history are London's veins. These symbols, the mitre, the pentacle star — even someone as ignorant and degenerate as you can sense that they course with energy and meaning. I am that meaning. I am that energy. One day men will look back and say I gave birth to the 20th century.
Frederick Abberline: You're not going to see the 20th century.

[Abberline discovers another murder.]
Frederick Abberline: Give him to me. [Abberline throttles Sir Charles.]
Sir Charles Warren: He'll be taken care of. I swear.
Frederick Abberline: I want him. [Abberline continues to assault Sir Charles.]
Sir Charles Warren: It's over. He's done. I give you my word.
Frederick Abberline: Fuck your word! I'll bring every last one of you fucking cunts down. You and your fucking brothers.
Sir Charles Warren: Now, listen to me, Abberline. Your situation, your difficult situation has been thoroughly discussed. You are reinstated. Indeed, you are promoted.
[Abberline again attempts to strangle Sir Charles.]
Sergeant Gotley: No! This is not helping anything.
Sir Charles Warren: Don't be a fool, inspector. You will be very closely watched.


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