AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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The Messenger
Director: Oren Moverman (Dir)
Release Date:   20 Nov 2009
Premiere Information:   Sundance Film Festival screening: 19 Jan 2009; New York and Washington, DC openings: 13 Nov 2009
Production Date:   20 May--30 Jun 2008
Duration (in mins):   105 or 111-112
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Cast:   Ben Foster (Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery)  
    Jena Malone (Kelly)  
    Eamonn Walker (Colonel Stuart Dorsett)  
    Woody Harrelson (Captain Tony Stone)  
    Yaya DaCosta (Monica Washington)  
    Portia (Mrs. Burrell)  
    Lisa Joyce (Emily)  
    Steve Buscemi (Dale Martin)  
    Peter Francis James (Dr. Grosso)  
    Samantha Morton (Olivia Pitterson)  
    Paul Diomede (Motorcycle cop)  
    Jahmir Duran-Abreau (Matt Pitterson)  
    Gaius Charles (Recruiter Brown)  
    Brendan Sexton III (Recruiter Olson)  
    Brian De Jesus (Teenager #1)  
    T. J. Allen (Teenager #2)  
    Halley Feiffer (Marla Cohen)  
    Peter Friedman (Mr. Cohen)  
    Jeremy Strong (Returning soldier)  
    Fiona Dourif (Returning soldier's wife)  
    Lindsay Michelle Nader (Claire)  
    Merritt Wever (Lara)  
    Carl Payne (Pitterson's father)  
    Francis A. Adams (Firing party team leader)  
    J. Salome Martinez Jr. (Captain Garcia)  
    Angel Caban (Mr. Vasquez)  
    Kevin Hagan (Mr. Flanigan)  
    Marceline Hugot (Mrs. Flanigan)  
    Michael Chernus (Alan)  
    Stevie Ray Dallimore (Kelly's father)  
    Dale Soules (Cashier)  

Summary: Soon after his discharge from a military base hospital in New Jersey, Army Staff Sgt. Will Montgomery meets his childhood girlfriend, Kelly. After the couple has sex in a hotel, they dine and Kelly confesses that she is seeing another man, Alan, but does not believe it is serious enough for marriage. Will placidly assures her that he accepts the situation, but Kelly departs unconvinced. The next day at the base, Will meets with Col. Stuart Dorsett, who informs him that for the final three months of his service, Will is assigned to a Casualty Notification team with Capt. Tony Stone, who is also present at the meeting. Taken aback, Will states that he has never had grief counseling, but Tony explains that their job is to notify next-of-kin of a death, not discuss religion or offer comfort. Dorsett emphasizes the serious nature of the duty, describing it as a responsibility requiring character. Later while dining at the mess hall together, Tony tells Will that while their job can cover situations of missing or believed-dead personnel, the majority of the notifications are confirmed deaths. Presenting the official manual to Will, Tony advises him to memorize the script provided and never deviate from it. When Will looks dubious, Tony goes on to explain procedural details, such as never referring to the dead as “the deceased,” but to always use their name to honor them and their sacrifice. Tony also stresses that they are only to deliver notifications to the specified individuals and regulations forbid them touching the next of kin at any time. Adding that the military strives to notify the families of casualties within twenty-four hours of identity confirmation, Tony gives Will a pager and orders him to keep it near him at all times. Soon after, the men receive an assignment. As the men walk up to the house, Tony continues giving Will advice, such as not to offer any kind of greeting or give his name as both are inconsequential under the circumstances of their visit. At the house, when a young woman, Monica, answers the door, Tony asks for Mrs. Burrell and is told she will return momentarily. When Tony hesitates, Monica invites them inside, certain that they must be there about her boyfriend LeRoy, who she admits is always in trouble. Initially chatty, Monica reveals that she is pregnant, but asks them not to inform LeRoy as she has not told him yet. Noting the men’s continued solemn demeanor, however, Monica grows anxious and demands that they tell her why they have come. Just as Tony tells Will they must leave, Mrs. Burrell arrives. Tony turns to her and informs her of LeRoy’s death. Weeping, Mrs. Burrell demands Tony stop speaking and when he continues reciting the required lines, she slaps him before collapsing into Monica’s arms. Back in the car, Tony telephones in his report that the family is in the care of neighbors and that the formal military grief control unit can be sent. That evening at a bar, Tony admits that he is a recovering alcoholic then confides that he served in Middle East operation Desert Storm where he received his battle “baptism.” Tony then asks Will about the mission in which he was injured, but Will does not respond. Late that night, Will is startled when the pager goes off, then annoyed when Tony calls to admit to setting it off himself just to test Will and chat as he has trouble sleeping. In the middle of their conversation, however, the pager goes off for a real assignment. Early the next morning, Will insists that he perform the notification as they are meant to switch roles. Although unsure, Tony agrees. The men arrive at the home of Dale Martin, but when no one answers the door after several moments, they turn to depart when Martin sees them from the garden and approaches. Alarmed upon seeing their uniforms, Martin curses the men and after Will formally delivers the news, notes in despair that a nearby tree is the same age as his son. He then curses Will and spits on him, demanding to know why he is alive and not serving overseas, before calling him a coward. That afternoon Will telephones Kelly, but when Alan answers, he hangs up. On the next assignment, the men arrive at the home of Olivia Pitterson who is hanging laundry on an outside clothesline. As the men approach, Olivia steps forward and asks “How did it happen?” Concerned, Tony asks if anyone has contacted her, but she again presses for details. After Tony officially gives her the known details of her husband Phil’s death, Olivia thanks them and looking anxiously back at the house, explains she has a young son. Thanking the men again, Olivia shakes each one by the hand, then worriedly asks if she is supposed to inform Phil’s parents. Tony confirms that they are in Florida and states that Olivia was listed as the primary next of kin, but now that she has been informed, military representatives in Florida will proceed to tell Phil’s parents. When Will stiffly asks Olivia if she wants them to inform her son of Phil’s death, she politely refuses and shaking them by the hand again, goes into the house. Walking back to the car, Tony remarks that Olivia must be seeing someone as there was a man’s shirt hanging on the clothesline , but Will cautions him that they know nothing about the people they visit. That evening before joining Tony at the bar, Will sits outside of Olivia’s house in his car, watching her and her son, Matt, eat dinner. At the bar, Tony relates that he joined the army on a dare and, so far, no one has dared him to leave. Tony then dares Will to reenlist. A few days later, Will sees Olivia and her son as they shop in a mall. Seeing two army recruiting officers speaking with two teenage boys, Olivia angrily confronts them, demanding that the soldiers leave the young men alone. Will intervenes, ordering the soldiers away and offering Olivia assistance, which she refuses. Later spotting Olivia and Matt waiting at a bus stop, he offers them a ride home. On the drive to the next assignment, Tony expresses his disapproval of Will seeing Olivia, but Will ignores him. At the Cohen home, the men’s arrival sets off consternation when it becomes apparent that a young wife, Marla, has not informed her father that she is married. Ignoring the pair’s argument, Tony informs Marla of her husband’s death, stunning both daughter and father. At a bar that evening, Will listens to a returning soldier cheerfully tell his young wife and friends of an Iraqi he befriended. When the young man then adds that he witnessed the Iraqi’s violent death, Will grows concerned and follows the man outside. There, Will attempts to get the young man to talk about the difficulties of returning home, but the man insists that he is happy. A few days later, Will observes the burial service of Olivia’s husband from a distance. On Tony and Will’s next notification assignment, they are joined by Captain Garcia who serves as a translator at the apartment of Mr. Vasquez. Confused by the men’s announcement of the death of his daughter the night before, Vasquez insists they must be mistaken as he had spoken to his daughter days earlier. Back at his apartment, Will listens to a phone message from Kelly apologizing about sending him an invitation, which she and Alan fought about. Hastily going through a pile of several days of unopened mail, Will finds the envelope which holds an announcement for Kelly and Alan’s wedding. Furious, Will pounds a hole in his bedroom wall. The next day, Will visits Olivia to present Matt with his unit’s flag. When Matt hesitates, revealing that he already has two flags, Olivia tells him to accept Will’s gift. Later, Olivia tells Will that she and Matt will be moving away, but is unsure where, then invites Will to stay for dinner. One afternoon a few days later, Olivia invites Will to the storage building where she works, offering him his choice of any uncollected items. Acknowledging Will’s interest in her, Olivia reminds him that people will believe he is taking advantage of her in her grief, then criticize her for not grieving an appropriate length of time. At her home later, when Will tentatively embraces Olivia and suggests they “dance,” Olivia initially accepts, then grows uncomfortable with the intimacy, which Will respects. Olivia tells Will that when Phil departed for his third tour, remaining at home, for him, was not an option. She admits to being relieved by his departure as he was no longer the man she had married long ago. Olivia then confides that one day, a shirt of Phil’s slipped off it hanger and, retrieving it, she smelled the odor of rage and frustration, so she washed it. The day she did was the day Will and Tony came with the news of Phil’s death. Apologizing, Olivia admits that she loved Phil before and, with his death, loves him again. Will assures Olivia that he understands. On the way to their next assignment, the men stop at a convenience store for Tony to use the lavatory and Will overhears the clerk’s salutation to Mr. and Mrs. Flanigan, their next notification. As Tony returns, Will goes directly to Flanigan and confirms his identity. Realizing with a shock why Will is asking, Flanigan blanches and vomits, dropping to his knees. Uncomprehendingly, Mrs. Flanigan bends to her husband. Will then kneels in front of them and holding Flanigan’s hand and placing his other hand on Mrs. Flanigan’s shoulder, formally tells them of their son’s death. Walking back to the car afterward, Tony explodes with anger, chastising Will for breaking with procedure. When Tony warns Will that he works for the army, Will responds that he gave blood to the army and was blown up in an incident that lasted longer than Tony’s entire war. Will adds that he fought during his tour and, unlike veterans of the swift Desert Storm conflict, did not sun himself in Kuwait. Outraged, Tony throttles Will for a moment, but when the younger man stands firm, he drives away alone. Later, Tony turns around to pick Will up, but Will ignores him and hitchhikes home. Later than evening, Tony telephones Will to say the CO has allowed them time off and he will provide a get-away. The next day, with two girls, Claire and Lara, brought by Tony, the couples drive to a vacation cottage near a lake. While Will and Lara play pool, a tipsy Tony and Claire have enthusiastic sex. The following afternoon, the men sit in a small boat fishing and Tony admits this is not the first time he has gone off the wagon, but the first time he is being open about resuming drinking. Infuriated when two water skiers blow by them moments later, Tony curses them and almost falls overboard. Later at the dock, the skiers confront the men and there is a brawl. In the car later, Tony apologizes for provoking the fight and Will drives them to Kelly and Alan’s wedding reception, where the filthy and bloodied men toast the married couple, before running out in the parking lot to drunkenly play “war.” Waking up hung over by the side of the road the next morning, Tony admits that being assigned to Casualty Notification saved him from himself, then admits that he lied and has never experienced being under fire. Arriving home late that night, the men are met by Martin Dale, who asks Will to forgive him for his behavior upon the notification of his son’s death. Will says there is nothing to forgive and the men shake hands. Inside, Will describes his last mission to Tony: On their attempt to reach a position, Will and his unit were pushed back by a bomb detonating. Will dragged two men to safety, then saw another lying in the road with his hands in the air. Evading enemy fire, Will pulls the man behind a car and assures him that his hands are fine, but that half of his leg has been blown off. Attempting to keep the wounded soldier safe, Will pushes him under a car, unknowingly, directly onto a bomb, which then blows up, severely injuring Will. At a hospital later, Will is presented with a medal, but believes he is unworthy as his action killed one of his men. Will then admits to Tony that he considered suicide, but while standing on the hospital rooftop saw the sunrise and wanted to live. When Will goes to the fridge for more beer, he hears Tony break into sobs and leaves him alone to cry. Some days later, Will visits Olivia who is packing to move to Louisiana. Will asks if she will write him with her new address as he has no difficulties making long trips. Olivia agrees and they go into the house for Will to give her his address. 

Production Company: Omnilab Media Group  
  Sherezade Film Development Co. Ltd.  
  BZ Entertainment  
  The Mark Gordon Company  
  Good Worldwide  
Production Text: a Mark Gordon Company/Good Worldwide production
Distribution Company: Oscilloscope Laboratories  
Director: Oren Moverman (Dir)
  Curtis A. Smith Jr. (1st asst dir)
  Scott Larkin (2d asst dir)
  Timothy S. Kane (2d 2d asst dir)
Producer: Mark Gordon (Prod)
  Lawrence Inglee (Prod)
  Zach Miller (Prod)
  Ben Goldhirsh (Exec prod)
  Christopher Mapp (Exec prod)
  Matthew Street (Exec prod)
  David Whealy (Exec prod)
  Glenn M. Stewart (Exec prod)
  Steffen Anmüller (Exec prod)
  Claus Clausen (Exec prod)
  Bryan Zuriff (Exec prod)
  Shaun Redick (Exec prod)
  Gwen Bialic (Co-prod)
Writer: Alessandro Camon (Wrt)
  Oren Moverman (Wrt)
Photography: Bobby Bukowski (Dir of photog)
  Michael J. Burke (1st asst cam)
  Lauren Haber (2d asst cam)
  Ron Egozi (Cam op)
  Petr Hlinomaz (Cam op)
  Michael Simmonds (Cam op)
  Antonio Ponti ("B" cam 1st asst)
  Chris Raymond ("B" cam 1st asst)
  Linda Slater ("B" cam 1st asst)
  Olga Abramson ("B" cam 2d asst)
  Sarah Hendricks ("B" cam 2d asst)
  Leigh Rathner ("B" cam 2d asst)
  Randy Schwartz ("B" cam 2d asst)
  Sergei Franklin (Steadicam op)
  Guillame Renberg (Cam crane op)
  Evan C. Newell (Film loader)
  Alex Irwin (Cam intern)
  Andrew Maher (Cam intern)
  Camillo Mendoza (Cam intern)
  Dave Regan (Cam intern)
  Jason Velez (Gaffer)
  Jon Zenfeek Unjang (Best boy elec)
  Mike Jackson (Gen op)
  Luis Contreras (Elec)
  Michael C. Maronna (Elec)
  Ryan Velez (Elec)
  Christian Baird (Addl elec)
  Robert Gamberdella (Addl elec)
  Andrew Greve (Addl elec)
  Erik Guldbech (Addl elec)
  Tom Hamilton (Addl elec)
  Beverly Jones (Addl elec)
  Mark Karinja (Addl elec)
  Dan Luebke (Addl elec)
  Timothy J. Owen (Addl elec)
  Andrew Palmer (Addl elec)
  Michael Quigley (Addl elec)
  Andrew Roddewig (Addl elec)
  Francisco Rosario (Addl elec)
  Ilse Rumes (Addl elec)
  Michael Sarluco (Addl elec)
  Leo Schott III (Addl elec)
  Robert Vornkahl (Addl elec)
  Jonathan Wolowec (Addl elec)
  Matt Blades (Key grip)
  John Gatland (Best boy grip)
  Donald Glenn (Dolly grip)
  James Casey (Grip)
  Kai Wai Cheng (Grip)
  Nick Haines-Stiles (Grip)
  Michael Kirsch (Grip)
  Timothy Alan Blagg (Addl grip)
  Peter Bulawinetz (Addl grip)
  John Gabriele (Addl grip)
  Stephen Girouard (Addl grip)
  Brendon Malone (Addl grip)
  Kenneth McCallum (Addl grip)
  Paul Niccolls (Addl grip)
  Joseph Sarao (Addl grip)
  Markham Sindeband (Addl grip)
  Paul Swan (Addl grip)
  Robert Woolsey (Addl grip)
  Niko Tavernise (Still photog)
Art Direction: Stephen Beatrice (Prod des)
  James R. Bednark (Art dept supv)
  Scott Anderson (Addl art dir)
  Michael Reiersen (Art dept asst)
  Jeffrey Smith (Art dept asst)
  Boaz Tcherikover (Art dept asst)
  Safa Ansarifar (Art dept asst)
  Elizabeth "Biz" Lynch (Art dept intern)
Film Editor: Alex Hall (Ed)
  Alexander Kopit (Asst ed, Post prod)
  Agnès Challe-Grandits (1st asst ed, Post prod)
  Post Factory NY (Ed facility)
  Kathleen King (24-frame playback)
  Visual Alchemy (24-frame playback)
Set Decoration: Cristina Casanas (Set dec)
  Vinny Mazzerella (Prop master)
  Sarah E. Bricker (Asst prop master)
  Olenka Denysenko (Prop asst)
  Gino Fortebuono (Prop asst)
  Nequain Riley (Prop asst)
  D. Scott Gagnon (Leadman)
  Fritzgerald Francois (Set dresser)
  Hank Liebeskind (Set dresser)
  Bobby Provenzano (Set dresser)
  James Seccafico (Set dresser)
  Henry Wulster (Set dresser)
  Michael Powsner (On-set dresser)
  Junior Baron (On-set dresser)
  Travis Child (Cam scenic)
  Emily Gaunt (Scenic charge)
  Shauna Kellin (Scenic charge)
  Mike Niremberg (Scenic charge)
  Michele Mayas (Scenic)
  Carla Messina (Scenic)
  Celia Parker (Scenic)
  Rosalier Russino (Scenic)
  Sylvia Trapanese (Scenic)
  Frank Dauro (Key set prod asst)
  Katie Brewer Ball (Set prod asst)
  Christiaan Faberij De Jonge (Set prod asst)
  Holly Pakfar (Set prod asst)
  John Puccinelli (Set prod asst)
  Abagail Taylor (Set prod asst)
  Samuel Clark (Addl set prod asst)
  Amy C. Crowdis (Addl set prod asst)
  Ashanti Myke (Addl set prod asst)
  Jen Johnson (Set intern)
Costumes: Catherine George (Cost des)
  Cameron Folan (Asst cost des)
  Dierdre Williams (Cost supv)
  Elisa Santiago (Key cost)
  John Corbo (Set cost)
  Danielle Stephenson (Set cost)
  Marietta L. Clark (Set cost)
  Tamara E. Cepeda (Cost asst)
  Amelie Chunleau (Cost intern)
  Jeryd Nicole Hernandez (Cost intern)
  Deanna Nolasco (Cost intern)
Music: Nathan Larson (Orig mus)
  Tracy McKnight (Mus supv)
  Nathan Larson (Score performed by)
  Kevin March (Score performed by)
  Williamsburg Garage, Brooklyn (Rec at)
  Brian Bulman (Mus ed)
  Colby Trane (Mus coord)
  Julia Bembenek (Mus coord)
Sound: Ken Ishii (Prod sd mixer)
  Anguibe Guindo (Boom op)
  Joseph Origlieri (Utility sd)
  Wildfire Post Production Studios (Post prod sd services)
  Leslie Shatz (Re-rec sd mixer)
  Marshall Garlington (Re-rec sd mixer)
  Leslie Shatz (Supv sd ed)
  Javier Bennassar (Supv sd ed)
  Callie Thurman (Asst sd ed)
  Bob Jackson (ADR supv)
  Mandell Winter (Dial ed)
  Brian Dunlop (Foley ed)
  Gabriel Serrano (Rec)
  Caoimhe Doyle (Foley artist)
  Goro Koyama (Foley artist)
  Andy Malcolm (Foley artist)
  Don White (Foley mixer)
  Footsteps Post-Production Sound Inc. (Foley rec at)
Special Effects: Guerilla FX (Visual eff)
  John Bair (Visual eff supv)
  Vivian Connolly (Visual eff prod)
  Scott Winston (Digital composites)
  Sergei Martirosov (Digital composites)
  John Bair (Main and end title des)
Make Up: Sharon Ilson Burke (Key makeup artist)
  Joe Farulla (Spec eff makeup)
  Colleen Callaghan (Hair dept head)
  J. Ferrera (Addl hair)
  Fabian Garcia (Addl hair)
Production Misc: Laura Rosenthal (Casting)
  Ali Farrell (Casting)
  Maribeth Fox (Casting assoc)
  Karen Etcoff, Kee Casting (Background casting)
  Bill Tripician (Background casting assoc)
  Carrie Fix (Unit prod mgr)
  Lieutenant Colonel Paul Sinor US Army, Department of Defense Project Officer and Military Technical Advisor (Military assistance)
  Philip Strub Special Assistant for Entertainment Media, Office of the Asst Secy of Defense for Public Affairs (Military assistance)
  Tony Osso (Scr supv)
  Greg Outcalt (Prod coord)
  Lauren Butler-Dougherty (Asst prod coord)
  Jen Cox (Prod accountant)
  Theresa L. Marsh (1st asst accountant)
  Katherine Dejesus (2d asst accountant)
  Eric R. Bellamy (Payroll accountant)
  Lance Rizzo (Accounting clerk)
  Ryan Smith (Loc mgr)
  Sascha Springer (Asst loc mgr)
  Gabriel Greenburg (Loc scout)
  Dan Pollack (Loc scout)
  Abimael Jackson-Viana (Loc asst)
  Jennifer Sonnenfeld (Loc prod asst)
  A. J. Swirz (Loc prod asst)
  Jonathan Haller (Asst to Mr. Moverman)
  Allyson Seeger (Asst to Mr. Gordon)
  Shara Senderoff (Asst to Mr. Gordon)
  Sonia Kifferstein (Asst to Mr. Inglee)
  Zoë Nadel (Asst to Mr. Inglee and Mr. Miller)
  Jared Kaufmann (Asst to Mr. Foster)
  John Merchant (Asst to Mr. Harrelson)
  Meredith Petty (Asst to Ms. Morton)
  Brent Godek (Car tech)
  James Jardinella (Car tech)
  Ayo Ogundele (Parking coord)
  Michael Iduda (Parking asst)
  Olabisi Olagunju (Parking asst)
  Olawale Onakoya (Parking asst)
  Phillip Owolani (Parking asst)
  Donte Robinson (Parking asst)
  Henry S. Avelin (Transportation capt)
  Dennis J. Kelly (Transportation co-capt)
  John T. Kelly (Cast driver)
  Donald J. Fernicola (Honeywagon driver)
  Joseph J. Scarpone (Set dressing driver)
  Ian Bharath (Fuel truck/Two room driver)
  George Grenier (Star trailer driver)
  Stephen Rudolph Reeves (Elec driver)
  Ronald Baum (Grip driver)
  Thomas Fennimore (Hair, makeup, ward driver)
  Paul Eliacin (Addl driver)
  Frank Fennimore (Addl driver)
  Joseph L. Johnson (Addl driver)
  Michael Papa (Addl driver)
  James T. Quinn (Addl driver)
  Ray Roy Jr. (Addl driver)
  Gary Valovich (Addl driver)
  Brian Weinstein (Addl driver)
  Lindsey Lefkow (Prod secy)
  J&P Craft (Craft service)
  Jason Acevedo (Craft service)
  Rajab Aesop (Craft service asst)
  George Grenier Jr. (Craft service asst)
  Jonathan Hood (Office prod asst)
  Tasha E. Morris (Office prod asst)
  Colleen Arnerich (Addl office prod asst)
  Gourmet To U (Catering)
  Anthony Torre (Chef)
  Jorge M. Piña (Chef)
  Gregory Cuozzo (Asst chef)
  Dan Lasiy (Asst chef)
  Kristin Torre (Asst chef)
  Deborah Blake (Set medic)
  Douglas Odell (Water safety)
  Allison Robin (Clearance supv)
  Clearance Domain, LLC (Script clearance)
  Joe Kelly (Elec press kit)
  Jon Vernon (Elec press kit)
  John Merchant (Elec press kit)
  Greenberg Traurig, LLP (Attorneys)
  Lisa Nitti (Attorney)
  Ann Clark (Attorney)
  Harold McDougall IV (Attorney)
  Film Finances, Inc. (Completion bond)
  Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, LLC (Payroll services)
  Brendan Cormody (Office intern)
  Nick Naney (Office intern)
  Clinton Orman (Office intern)
  Bev Reese (Office intern)
  Ben Shirai (Office intern)
  Luca Borghese (Post prod supv)
  David Broad (Post prod intern)
  Tony Osso (Post prod intern)
  Alex Rachel (Post prod intern)
  Justin Sindone (Post prod intern)
  Chris Barnes (Marine coord)
Stand In: Blaise Corrigan (Stunt coord)
  Geoff Dowell (Stunts)
  Will Cote (Stunts)
  Chris Place (Stunts)
Color Personnel: Deluxe New York (Digital intermediate)
  Joe Gawler (Supv digital intermediate colorist)
  Jacob Robinson (Digital intermediate ed)
  Chris Mackenzie (Smoke artist)
  Duck Grossberg (Data wrangler)
  Markus Janner (Scanning)
  Darrell R. Smith (Digital intermediate coord)
  Mega Playground (Digital print dailies by)
  Mike Smollin (Dailies colorist)
  Jason Crump (Dailies colorist)
  Cristina Esteras-Ortiz (Dailies mgr)
  Shikha Nirula (Dailies mgr)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major—Allegretto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, courtesy of 5 Alarm Music; “Wacky Kids’ Show Music,” composed by Christopher Hoyt Knight courtesy of Shadowbox Music, Inc.; Pathetique Sonata by Ludwig Van Beethoven courtesy of 5 Alarm Music.
Songs: “Put Your Hands Up,” written by Cadence Blaze and Isaiah Perkins, performed by P-Live, published by Engine Co. 30/4tian Music/Engine Co. 35/4tian2 Music, courtesy of 5 Alarm Music; “A Beautiful Life,” written and performed by Jody Porter, published by New Departure Music; “Woman in My Dreams,” written by Michael Levine, published by Grand Cypress Publishing/Henning Music, courtesy of 5 Alarm Music; “Lounge Guy,” written by William Rogowski, performed by MX47, published by Hollywood Jukebox, courtesy of Audiosparx; “Forward Path,” written and performed by Jensen Reed, published by Fitzwell Music/Engine Co. 30, courtesy of Rescue Records; “Havre de Grace,” written by Mubashir Mohi-ud-Din, performed by zerobridge, published by ANKLES ARE SEXY! Music, courtesy of Third Life Entertainment; “Good Vibrations,” written by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, performed by Brian Wilson, published by Irving Music, Inc., courtesy of Nonesuch Records by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing; “Drought,” written by Bryan Herweg, Trevor de Brauw, Larry Herweg and Laurent Lebec, performed by Pelican, published by Pelican Songs, LLC, courtesy of Hydra Head Records; “Strangers in a Strange Land,” written by Leon Russell and Don Preston, performed by Leon Russell, published by Irving Music Inc., on behalf of Skyhill Publ. Co., courtesy of Capitol Records under license from EMI Film & Television Music; “Perfect Games,” written by Adam Vine and Ross Flournoy, performed by Broken West, published by House of Hassle, courtesy of Merge Records by arrangement with Bank Robber Music; “Lets Dance,” written and performed by David Bowie, published by Jones Music America courtesy of RZO Music, Inc.; “Frankie’s Gun,” written by Gregory Farley, Ian Felice, James Felice, Simon Felice and Josh Rawson, performed by the Felice Brothers, published by Red Hot International Publishing Company LLC, courtesy of Team Love Records by arrangement with Bank Robber Music; “Cry a Little,” written and performed Ross Golan and Jared Scharff, published by Me Verse You/2.8 Songs administered by Absurd Music by arrangement with Lions Gate Music, LLC; “Profits of Doom,” written by Dan Maines, Jean-Paul Gaster, Neil Fallon and Richard Timothy Sult, performed by Clutch, published by Sea Gator Music administered by ICG/EverGreen Copyrights, courtesy of Clutch, LLC; “Dubpressorman,” written by Douglas Bennett, performed by Dr. Israel, published by Numbers VI courtesy of revolutionsound; “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” written by Robbie Robertson, performed by The Band, published by WB Music Corp, o/b/o itself and Canaan Music Inc., courtesy of Capitol Records under license from EMI Film & Television Music; “The Angels Hung Around,” written by Jenny Lewis, performed by Rilo Kiley, published by BB Lindstrom Muisc/Big Blue Boat Music/Deprecious Music/Wonderful Pony sub-published by Fintage Publishing & Collection B USA, courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc. by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & Licensing; “Sequestered in Memphis,” written by Craig Finn and Tad Jason Kubler, performed by Hold Steady, published by Muy Interesante Music/Key Hits/FSMGI, all rights and administered by State One Songs America LLC, courtesy of Vagrant Records; “To Kill,” written by Lillard Anthony, Kris Wismer and Al Walters, performed by Putnam Hall, published by Thousand Ingots Music, courtesy of Rebel Lion Records; “Equal Rights,” written by Douglas Bennett, performed by Dr. Israel, published by Numberss VI, courtesy of revolutionsound; “Hot House,” written by Jonathan Edlestein, performed by Fiasco, courtesy of Fiasco; “Gonna Shine,” written and performed by Jensen Reed, published by Fitzwell Music/Engine Co. 30, courtesy of Rescue Records; “L.A. Groove,” written and performed by Steven Land, published by Revision West courtesy of Marc Ferrari/MasterSource; “Walls Between,” written by Daniel Livingston, Jr. performed by Loosely Tightly, published by Trailerville Music, courtesy of Fervor Records; “Words From a Lost Soul,” written by Fred Gums, performed by Chew Gums, published by Sworn in Publishing/Engine Co. 35, courtesy of Rescue Records; “Summer Fling,” written by Danny Camaro, Nathaniel Dawkins and Danica Rozelle, performed by Aloe Blacc, published by Source in Sync Music/Engine Co. 35, courtesy of 5 Alarm Music; “Hanging On,” written by Ron Haney, Jillian Gaudious and Bart Schoudel, performed by Jillian Rhys, published by February Eighth Music/Sunny Cap Publishing courtesy of Near Records; “Rapture (Sweet Rapture),” written by Auguste Arthur Bondy IV, Clare Felice, Simon Felice and Ian Felice, performed by A. A. Bondy, published by Sony/ATV Harmony/The Day The Music Died/Band of Ghosts, courtesy of Fat Possum Records; “A Time for Romance,” written and performed by Daniel May, published by Revision West courtesy of Marc Ferrari/MasterSource; “Rag Doll,” written Michael Levine, published by Grand Cypress Publishing/Henning Music courtesy of 5 Alarm Music; “Snow Angel,” written by Nathan Larson, performed by Hot One, published by Music of Nato, courtesy of Modern Imperial; “Home on the Range,” traditional, performed by Willie Nelson recorded by John E. Messensmith at Maui Media Lab, Paia, Hawaii.
Composer: Lillard Anthony
  Douglas Bennett
  Cadence Blaze
  Auguste Arthur Bondy IV
  David Bowie
  Danny Camaro
  Nathaniel Dawkins
  Trevor de Brauw
  Jonathan Edelstein
  Neil Fallon
  Gregory Farley
  Clare Felice
  Ian Felice
  James Felice
  Simone Felice
  Craig Finn
  Ross Flournoy
  Jean-Paul Gaster
  Jillian Gaudious
  Ross Golan
  Fred Gums
  Ron Haney
  Bryan Herweg
  Larry Herweg
  Christopher Hoyt Knight
  Tad Jason Kubler
  Steven Land
  Nathan Larson
  Laurent Lebec
  Michael Levine
  Jenny Lewis
  Dennis Livingston Jr.
  Mike Love
  Dan Maines
  Daniel May
  Mubashir Mohi-ud-Din
  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  Isaiah Perkins
  Jody Porter
  Don Preston
  Josh Rawson
  Jensen Reed
  Robbie Robertson
  William Rogowski
  Danica Rozelle
  Leon Russell
  Jared Scharff
  Bart Schoudel
  Richard Timothy Sult
  Ludwig Van Beethoven
  Adam Vine
  Al Walters
  Brian Wilson
  Kris Wismer
Source Text:

PCA NO: 44973
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Digital in selected theatres
  col: Fuji

 
Genre: Drama
 
Subjects (Major): Death and dying
  Family relationships
  Friendship
  Grief
  United States. Army
  Widows
 
Subjects (Minor): Automobiles
  Bars
  Deception
  Drunkenness
  Fathers and daughters
  Fathers and sons
  Fistfights
  Funerals
  Military bases
  Mothers and sons
  Parties
  Police
  Sex
  Translators
  Veterans
  Wives
  Wounds and injuries

Note: Electrician Leo Schott III’s name was misspelled in the onscreen credits as “Shcott.” The closing onscreen credits list numerous acknowledgments, including to the New Jersey Honor Guard and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and a dedication to approximately sixty individuals. The Messenger marked the directorial debut of long-time writer Oren Moverman. According to production notes on the film, Moverman, who co-wrote the script, was familiar with military life after serving in the Israeli army. As noted in an undated WSJ interview with Woody Harrelson ("Capt. Tony Stone"), and in the closing credits, the film was shot on location in and around Fort Dix, NJ. In the same interview, Harrelson stated that he, Ben Foster ("Staff Sgt. Will Montgomery") and Moverman visited recovering soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center. Harrelson, an active anti-war political activist, added that soldiers at Fort Dix were crucial in assisting him in understanding their experiences. Information in production notes states that the United States Army supported The Messenger and approved the script.
       The Messenger was selected by AFI as one of the ten Movies of the Year for 2009. The film's screenplay won the Silver Berlin Bear and Moverman was awarded the Peace Award by the Berlin International Film Festival. The film received Academy Award nominations for Harrelson for Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role and Original Screenplay. Harrelson also received a nomination by SAG for Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Supporting Role, and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. The Independent Spirit Awards nominated The Messenger for Best First Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Female (Morton) and Best Supporting Male (Harrelson).  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   5 Apr 2006.   
Daily Variety   14 Jul 2009.   
Los Angeles Times   20 Nov 2009.   
New York Times   19 Mar 2008.   
New York Times   13 Nov 2009.   
Variety   2 Feb 2009   pp. 59, 62.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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