85 user 226 critic

Live by Night (2016)

2:06 | Trailer
A group of Boston-bred gangsters set up shop in balmy Florida during the Prohibition era, facing off against the competition and the Ku Klux Klan.



(screenplay), (based on the novel by)
88 ( 19)
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Remo Girone ...
Maso Pescatore
Thomas Coughlin
Albert White
RD Pruitt
Dion Bartolo
Esteban Suarez (as Miguel J. Pimentel)
Chief Figgis
Tim Hickey
Digger Pescatore
Ritz Investor
Virgil Beauregard (as JD Evermore)


Boston, 1926. The '20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city's most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw. But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one-neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover-can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt. Joe embarks on a dizzying... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The American Dream has a price See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

13 January 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vivir de Noche  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$65,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$33,000 (USA) (23 December 2016)


$10,338,507 (USA) (10 February 2017)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In this film, the main character spends time in a prison located in Charlestown. Charlestown is also the same location in which the main characters are from in The Town, also directed by Ben Affleck. See more »


In the opening sequence a photo is shown of a dead soldier with a bloody face. Affleck' s character fought in WW1. The photo of the soldier is from the Civil War. See more »


Graciella Suarez: Even if you win today's battle, there's so much violence in what you do.
Joe Coughlin: You don't think I'm strong enough?
Graciella Suarez: I don't know if you're cruel enough.
Joe Coughlin: Powerful men don't have to be cruel.
See more »


Referenced in Work by Day, Live by Night (2017) See more »


Written by Edgar De Lange (as Eddie De Lange), Will Hudson and Irving Mills
Performed by Artie Shaw & His Orchestra, Courtesy of RCA Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

"Live by Night" is a passable morality play and action flick, but its contrived plot and dull characters disappoint.
19 January 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In 1972, director Francis Ford Coppola brought to the big screen a novel called "The Godfather", about a fictional Italian-American crime family. The title character's son, Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino in the Best Picture Oscar-winning film), was a war veteran who wanted nothing to do with his father's business, but ends up running that business and becoming even more ruthless than his father had been. 2016's "Live by Night" (R, 2:09) is based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane (whose earlier books "Gone, Baby, Gone", "Mystic River" and "Shutter Island" also made it to the big screen) features a main character similar to that of Michael Corleone in "The Godfather", but isn't as interesting.

Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck, who also adapted Lehane's novel and directs) is the son of a Boston police captain (Brendan Gleeson) and a veteran of World War I, an experience which definitively shaped Joe's outlook on life. He returns from the war disillusioned and with no respect for rules or authority. Joe embarks on a life of crime, but is content with an armed robbery here and there and doesn't want to become a murderous monster like rival Boston crime bosses Albert White (Robert Glenister) and Maso Pescatore (Remo Girone). Unwisely, Joe is involved in an affair with White's girlfriend, Emma Gould (Sienna Miller), which makes Joe a pawn in the contest of wills between the two gangsters. With help from his friend and partner, Dion Bartolo (Chris Messina), Joe robs a bank so he can get enough money to run to California with Emma. When the robbery goes wrong, Joe ends up in prison for his crimes.

After doing his time, Joe reunites with Dion and goes to work for Pescatore, who puts Joe in charge of his rum-running activities in Florida. That's where Joe meets and falls in love with a fiery Cuban woman named Garciela Corrales (Zoe Saldana). Garciela wonders aloud if Joe is tough enough to succeed on the path that he has chosen. Joe rises to the challenge as he has to battle the local Ku Klux Klan (embodied by Matthew Maher and Anthony Michael Hall) for business and personal reasons, but also shows his underlying humanity as he helps free a young woman named Loretta (Elle Fanning), the daughter of local Sheriff Irving Figgis (Chris Cooper), from being exploited while trying to become an actress in L.A. Joe has to confront a new set of challenges when Loretta emerges from her personal turmoil as a popular revivalist and preaches loudly about the evils of gambling, just as Joe is building a casino.

"Live by Night" is a half-way decent but forgettable gangster movie. Although Joe Coughlin may follow a path similar to Michael Corleone, he's really more like Sean Penn's character in 2015's mediocre "The Gunman", while this film more closely matches the quality of the latter than the former. Like Penn's character, Joe is portrayed as a sympathetic murderer who clings to his humanity and tries to atone for his sins by doing some good, but the message is practically lost in uninspired twists and half-hearted attempts to be clever and deep. "Live by Night" is a passable morality play and action flick, but its contrived plot and dull characters disappoint. "C"

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