Top 10 Movies Made From Books: #8 Heaven’s Prisoners by James Lee Burke

Top 10 Movies Made From Books

#10 Rising Sun by Michael Crichton
#9 The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver

#8 Heaven’s Prisoners by James Lee Burke

Heaven's PrisonersHeaven’s Prisoners is probably the least recognizable title on this list. The 1996 film release starred Alec Baldwin and Kelly Lynch. Baldwin played ex-police detective from New Orleans battling alcoholism, Dave Robicheaux. While on a fishing excursion with his wife (Lynch), they witness an airplane crash into water near their boat. Dave is able to save one passenger a young girl who they call Alafair. (James Lee Burke’s daughter is named Alafair) The plane apparently was being used to struggle drugs into the country and someone wants answers. Once, Dave his wife decide to raise Alafair as their own, the Robicheaux’s are drawn into a deadly conspiracy. Dave is determined to protect Alafair at all cost, but the aftermath is far worse than anything he could imagine.

The plot of the film deviates very little from Burke’s novel mostly spot on with the book. Heaven’s Prisoners was Burke’s 2nd Dave Robicheaux novel however he released number 20 this summer with Light of the World. One of the underlying themes of Dave Robicheaux and later own with some of the secondary characters is a strong sense of internal conflict. Dave wants to right the wrongs of the world but then seems offended when he drags his family into peril. Truthfully, as I progressed through the books over the years I’ve found this a bit cloying but Heaven’s Prisoners was the peak of the series in my opinion and the movie adaptation did a fine job of capturing the essence of the character.

Heaven’s Prisoners Trailer (1996)

A later Burke novel featuring Dave Robicheaux, In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead was also made into a movie featuring Tommy Lee Jones, but frankly it was just awful.

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