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The Place Beyond the Pines

  R HD Closed Captioning

Derek Cianfrance

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Plot Summary

Academy Award® nominees Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper star in this epic, riveting crime drama about the unbreakable bond between fathers and sons. Luke (Gosling) gives up his job as a motorcycle stunt performer in order to provide for his new family. Avery (Cooper), an ambitious rookie cop, struggles to make his way in a corrupt police department. Their two worlds collide when Luke takes part in a string of bank robberies and the consequences of their shocking confrontation will reverberate into the next generation. From the acclaimed director of Blue Valentine and co-starring Eva Mendes and Ray Liotta, this engaging and powerful thrill ride has critics raving, “5 Stars! The Place Beyond the Pines is huge in its ambition, huge in its achievement!” (Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle)

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 197
  • Fresh: 157
  • Rotten: 40
  • Average Rating: 7.3/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Rotten: Its three stories are so loosely connected, its themes so scattered -- morality, justice, fate, fatherhood -- that it never manages to make a point. – Rafer Guzman, Newsday, Apr 11, 2013

Fresh: This naturalistic drama is ambitious to the point of being unwieldy... But once the story has advanced from one generation to the next and its thematic sweep has become apparent, these flaws seem much more tolerable. – J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader, Apr 12, 2013

Fresh: This is a story about legacy, the sins of the father, the restlessness in our souls. It's powerful, it's bold, it hits you hard. – Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, Apr 11, 2013

Fresh: "Pines" is hardy stuff, but it's at its toughest when Gosling's on screen. – Tom Long, Detroit News, Apr 12, 2013

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


When I first saw the trailer for "The Place Beyond the Pines," I instantly knew that I had to see it as soon as it was released. With the fantastic talents of Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper at the forefront, as well as the directing prowess of Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine") behind the scenes, I'd have to say my anticipation for this flick was all the way through the roof. So when I finally got my chance to see it, I was surprised by just how much it differed from my own personal expectations. And simply that in itself was a nicely pleasant turn of events. This isn't a gritty thriller pitting the acting abilities of Gosling and Cooper against one another, but rather a boldly artful, often moving drama full of emotional pain and poignance. The three-part structure may soften the thematic material at times, but a raw script and intimate direction let the actors find genuine resonance in every scene. The title is a loose translation of the Mohawk word Schenectady, the New York town where the story is set. In the first section, we follow Luke (Ryan Gosling), a carnival stunt rider who returns to town and tries to rekindle a previous fling with Romina (Eva Mendes). When he discovers that his last visit produced a son, he decides to leave the circus for good and settle down, taking a job with a local mechanic (Ben Mendelsohn). To make some extra cash, the two team up to rob banks, which puts Luke on a collision course with beat cop Avery (Bradley Cooper) who has a wife (Rose Byrne) and young son of his own. Years later, their now-teen sons Jason and AJ (Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen) discover a past connection they knew nothing about. In order to explore the generational ramifications of these men's actions, the film switches perspective twice: first from Luke to Avery, and finally to Jason and AJ. But the script never simplifies anyone into "good" or "bad." These are complex people facing difficult situations the best way they can. And oftentimes, their life-changing choices lead to tragic consequences. With this structure, though, the characters are left somewhat fragmented, and only Avery truly emerges as a fully rounded figure, giving Cooper the best role in the movie as he becomes unable to decide what is right and wrong, even though he knows it in his gut. But all of the actors here are excellent. Gosling gives a riveting, powerhouse performance as a troubled man willing to do whatever it takes to stay in his son's life and provide for him, regardless of his actions coming at a price. He and his co-star Mendes also manage to find some searing romantic chemistry in the process. As for the young DeHaan and Cohen, they're both equally great, easily delivering their most impressively believable and deeply sympathetic performances to date. To make this all work, director Cianfrance keeps his pacing and direction tight and affectionate, sticking so close to each individual character that scenes sometimes feel uncomfortably intimate. He also finds real beauty in even the most squalid settings, especially as scenes get darker and more emotional as the story progresses over about 15 years. Sure, there are times when the multi-structured script feels fractured and a bit too overlong for its own good, but even with its forgivable flaws in mind, this movie is still able to get deep under your skin in ways that linger long after the end credits have rolled. When all is said and done, "The Place Beyond the Pines" is a deeply emotional and quietly ambitious moral drama that mostly does justice to its compelling characters with a script that's as unpredictable as it is rooted in realism. I have to say, I was almost moved to tears by the end of this flick. It completely engrosses you to the point where you can't stop thinking about the characters' lives you've witnessed and how, in many ways, they're just like ours. It's tragic yet truthfully compelling storytelling that doesn't let up, and in that respect, "Pines" is a masterful piece of cinematic artistry. With its expert camerawork, beautiful scenery, gripping score, and powerfully assembled cast, this is an epic, time-spanning morality tale that won't be forgotten once it's seen. That's not to say everyone who sees it will automatically find it entertaining. It's a particularly long drama with difficult themes and overwhelming ambition. But for those of you who are willing to sit through an emotionally intense picture with patience and understanding, it's well worth your time.

Beautiful. A sadness that washes over you...

I remember when "The Wolves" came on at the end. As Luke's sun rides of, I sat there in the theatre, puzzled. Then it smacked me across the face: there is NO resolution, and this was the ultimate tragedy. What little closure we have is the knowledge that the boy is escaping this complex of convoluted toxicity. He is escaping the gravity of Luke's tragedy by harnessing Luke's essence. That's it.

The cinematography was wonderful. I'm from this part of New York. I grew up driving roads like that, being immersed in what is at once a visceral beauty. However, the themes of the film did justice to how strongly the gravity of the 518 keeps people entrenched. Somehow, I'm not sure that suburbanized viewers understand the fear of complacency that dominates rural kids' lives. So many want to get out, and so few actually do. They become products of their environment The setting is almost a force of its own. It consumed Luke, and transformed Bradley Cooper's character from idealist to guilted bureaucrat. Luke's kid gets away. He escapes all this.

Did we all see the same movie?

Honestly, there is something amiss in the fertilizer at Rotten Tomatoes. And it seems to have spilled over into this movie judging by the bias of ratings. I have never rated here before, but honestly it was a huge disappointment. Trite is the word that springs to mind.

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The Place Beyond the Pines
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  • $14.99
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Released: 2013

Customer Ratings