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The Crow: City of Angels

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tim Pope
Produced by Jeff Most
Edward R. Pressman
Written by Screenplay:
David S. Goyer
Characters by:
James O'Barr
Starring Vincent Perez
Mia Kirshner
Richard Brooks
Iggy Pop
Thuy Trang
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography Jean-Yves Escoffer
Editing by Michael N. Knue
Anthony Redman
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) August 30, 1996 (USA)
Running time 84 min
Country U.S.
Language English
Budget $13,000,000
Preceded by The Crow
Followed by The Crow: Stairway to Heaven

The Crow: City of Angels is a 1996 action film and a sequel to the cult film The Crow. The film was directed by Tim Pope.



The setting is Los Angeles, where drug kingpin Judah Earl (Richard Brooks) controls all. It is the misfortune of mechanic Ashe Corven (Vincent Pérez) and his eight year-old son Danny (Eric Acosta) to witness a gang of Judah's thugs murdering a fellow drug dealer.

Judah's men capture Ashe and Danny. Ashe and Danny are viciously beaten and terrorized, with Ashe pleading for Danny's life, and then tied together and shot multiple times, and their bodies are thrown off of a pier.

A year later, a young woman named Sarah (Mia Kirshner) has been having dreams about Ashe and Danny. Sarah works in a tattoo parlor by day, and paints haunting, surreal images of death and resurrection in her apartment at night. Sarah is haunted by these disturbing dreams about Ashe and Danny, and after a day's work in the tattoo parlor, Sarah is visited in her apartment by a large crow as she contemplates a ring given to her years ago by Eric Draven (the original Crow played by Brandon Lee).

Sarah follows this crow to the harbor during the nighttime on All Saints' Day, and witnesses Ashe's resurrection and frantic escape from his watery grave. Sarah takes him to her apartment. Ashe wants to know who she is, and how he survived the brutal attack on himself and his son. When Sarah informs him that he didn't, he freaks out and runs screaming into the night, and ends up at his home, where he relives the final moments of his life.

Sarah arrives to find Ashe brooding, and she informs him that she knows what he has come back to do—he has been resurrected by the crow, so he can have a chance to go after those who killed him and Danny. When Sarah lived in Detroit as a child, she had friends named Eric Draven and Shelley Webster, who were murdered, and Eric was resurrected by the crow to go after the criminals who murdered them, which is why Sarah has great knowledge of the crow legend.

Sarah outfits Ashe with the Crow facial paint, and Ashe acquires black clothing and a high-performance motorcycle. With the guidance of the crow, Ashe starts killing Judah's henchmen, one by one.

Ashe first visits Spider-Monkey (Vincent Castellanos), in a warehouse and interrogates him as to who else was involved in the atrocity. After losing a card trick to Ashe, Spider-Monkey is killed when Ashe sets off extremely flammable chemicals, blowing apart the building.

Another of Judah's lackeys, a pervert named Nemo (Thomas Jane) is spending the night at the peepin booths. Ashe appears in the booths, and assaults Nemo. Nemo is then discovered with a doll stuffed in his pants, and a paper crow in his mouth.

Judah has in his employ a blind prophetess named Sybil (Tracey Ellis) who is able to ascertain Ashe's link to Sarah and to the crow that is the source of his powers. Judah captures Sarah in order to draw Ashe to him and steal his power.

Judah has left a woman named Kali (Thuy Trang) in Sarah's apartment as bait for Ashe. While battling her, Ashe realizes that Kali is the one who killed Danny. Kali starts tossing throwing stars at Ashe, futilely hitting him with poles and stabbing him with a knife, until he throws her into a wall and then out a window. Kali dies when she lands on a car on the street below, her blood streaming out in the shape of a crow in flight.

Then Ashe pursues Judah's right hand man, Curve (Iggy Pop), in a motorcycle chase. Ashe shoots Curve's motorcycle, and the motorcycle blows up and throws Curve onto the road. Ashe then drags Curve into the nearby river, where Curve floats, dying amongst flowers in the shape of a crow in flight on the surface of the water.

At the same time, Judah uses his fingernail to slice a bloody cross into Sarah's forehead, and then impales a crow's wings with knives and then kills the crow, drinking its blood. And all that is left for Ashe to do is to rescue Sarah by seeking out Judah in his lair, an abandoned church.

It takes place at the annual "Dia de los Muertos" (Day of the Dead) festival. And because of what Judah did to the crow, Ashe is not at completely full strength. In fact, he is losing his strength as time passes. In a confrontation with Judah, Judah beats up Ashe, ties a rope around him, and tries to hang him. Judah then grabs a whip and begins whipping Ashe.

Sarah then rushes up and stabs Judah in the forehead, causing Judah to lower Ashe to the ground. Since Judah has the crow's blood in him, the stabbing in the forehead doesn't hurt him. Judah pulls out the knife and starts moving toward Ashe. Sarah gets in the way, and Judah stabs her in the stomach.

Ashe gets up and impales Judah on a metal pipe that enters Judah's back and exits through his chest, and this doesn't kill Judah either. While Judah is still impaled, Ashe calls upon a large number of crows that are flying overhead. The crows swarm down and kill Judah by eating him. Sarah then dies from her stab wound in Ashe's arms, a tableau reminiscent of a painting she had finished earlier in the film.

Ashe returns to death, knowing that he can rest in peace, now that Judah and his minions are dead.

Several of the plot devices and subplots removed from the movie along with alternate versions of many other scenes from the movie appear in the novelization of the film.


Box office

The Crow: City of Angels opened at #1 at the box office and grossed $9,785,111 in the opening weekend which accounted for 54.6% of its total grossing. The domestic lifetime grossing stands at $17,917,287[1]. This was considerably lower than the previous film's domestic earnings, which was $50m.

Deleted footage

This movie was heavily cut/edited by Miramax/Dimension Films (the distributor) upon its release. The following footage can only be seen in the workprint and pay-per-view versions of the film:

  • After Ashe's resurrection, Sarah takes him back to her loft where he wakes up. He does not want to believe that he is dead, so Sarah stabs him in the chest with a kitchen knife to prove it to him. Ashe, with a look of horror and disbelief, pulls the knife out of his chest and then runs away as in the released theatrical version.
  • Ashe's last name (Corven) is clearly revealed as he runs back to his garage after his resurrection. The garage reads "Corven's Body Shop".
  • In his fight with Spider Monkey, Ashe picks up a pistol and says "Don't try this at home, kids" before shooting himself in the head. Ashe then collapses to the ground, faking death. As Spider Monkey approaches him, Ashe pops back up to his feet and scares Spider-Monkey.
  • Ashe fights with Judah's thugs outside of a church. Ashe tells one of them that if he (the thug) has a gun he should shoot him (Ashe). The thug hesitates, and Ashe takes his gun, forcing the thugs to flee.
  • After killing Nemo, Ashe grabs the stripper Nemo was with and tells her not to come there again.
  • Ashe does not burn Danny's painting. Instead, it falls out of Ashe's coat pocket during his final confrontation with Judah, who rips it up.
  • Ashe changes from a crow, then reverts back to human form when he goes down to Kali after throwing her out of the window. Kali is still alive and slowly dying after being thrown out of the window. She then begs Ashe to kill her quickly. Ashe refuses and leaves her to die slowly as her blood forms the symbol of the crow.
  • Judah tells Sarah when he has captured her about himself drowning and nearly dying when he was younger, leading to his obsession with the occult.
  • The ending is different. When Ashe sees the spectre of Danny at the festival, instead of Danny saying to Ashe "If you give up now, we won't be together." He says instead, "It is time to go now," and Ashe refuses, saying he has to save Sarah. By doing so, he gives up his chance to return to Heaven, cursing himself to live on earth for eternity (since he is already dead and hence can't die). When he carries Sarah's body to the church, a priest asks him "What will you do now, my son?" Ashe replies that he can't let another shadow take over Los Angeles. The flashback shown at the end of the released film was originally at an earlier point in the film.

Several attempts by fans of the film have been made to locate a director's cut version. When aired on pay-per-view, the movie had much of its deleted footage restored. The most complete version available today is a fan made cut using some lost footage and subtitled animatics to tell the story as it was originally conceived.


The screenplay for City of Angels was adapted into a novel by Chet Williamson as well as a three-issue comic book series published by Kitchen Sink Press, both of which feature the original ending of the story.

A video game based on the film was also produced.


External links



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