Violince stains the lives of the three major characters in this film. Martin Fallon (Mickey Rourke), a former IRA terrorist, must kill a mobster before he can walk away from a lifetime of senseless bloodshed. Father Da Costa (Bob Hoskins), who witnesses the murder, desperately wants to save Fallon’s soul; he himself was once a commando. And Jack Meehan (Alan Bates), a crime warlord in London, wants to eliminate both of them.

Mike Hodges directs this interesting screen adaptation of the best-selling thriller by Jack Higgins. A Prayer for the Dying is a cut above other recent entries into the genre because it ambitiously muses on the difficulty once violent men have ridding themselves of the mark of Cain.