The Apostle (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  20 February 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 11,398 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 156 user | 93 critic | 28 from

After his happy life spins out of control, a preacher from Texas changes his name, goes to Louisiana and starts preaching on the radio.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Bagget ...
Tag Team Preacher #3 (as Brother Paul Bagget)
Female Sonny Supporter
Mary Lynette Braxton ...
Mother Blackwell
Christopher Canady ...
Sister Johnson's Twin
Christian Canady ...
Sister Johnson's Twin
Elizabeth Chisolm ...
William Atlas Cole ...
Bayou Man (as Brother William Atlas Cole)
Frank Collins Jr. ...
Soloist #4 (as Reverend Frank Collins Jr.)
Carl D. Cook ...
Civic Auditorium Preacher (as Prophet Carl D. Cook)
Naomi Craig ...
Scripture Reader
Wayne Dehart ...
Liquor Store Preacher


Eulis 'Sonny' Dewey is a preacher from Texas living a happy life with his beautiful wife Jessie. Suddenly his stable world crumbles: Jessie is having an affair with young minister Horace. Sonny gets enraged and hits Horace with a softball bat, putting him into a coma. After that he leaves town, takes a new name, 'Apostle E.F.' and goes to Louisiana. There he starts to work as a mechanic for local radio station owner Elmo, and Elmo lets him preach on the radio. E.F. starts to preach everywhere: on the radio, on the streets, and with his new friend, Reverend Blackwell he starts a campaign to renovate an old church. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The hardest soul to save was his own. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and a related scene of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 February 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apostel!  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$40,969 (USA) (19 December 1997)


$20,733,485 (USA) (12 June 1998)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Farrah Fawcett's cousin, Jan Fawcett, played a stand in for her part. See more »


When E.F.'s ex called the police (and the "Bayou Boutte" dispatcher supposedly answered), she would have actually called the Fort Worth P.D. homicide division, to inform that Sonny (aka E.F.) is in Bayou Boutte, Louisiana, since the incident is under Ft. Worth, Texas' jurisdiction. Also Bayou Boutte is quite likely too small for its own police department, let alone a homicide division. See more »


Sonny: [talking to Joe about his dying mother] Tell her i built the prettiest little church this side of heavan, out in the wildwood. Tell her that.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits there is a scene showing Sonny (Robert Duvall) preaching to the prisoners during out-of-prison work. See more »


Referenced in Moviemaking in Virginia: Take 3 (2008) See more »


Handwriting on the Wall
Written by Mel Mallory
Performed by Little Leo
Courtesy of Tuff City/Night Train International Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating Character Study
30 July 2004 | by (Ypsilanti, MI) – See all my reviews

You can't help but being mesmerized by Robert Duvall in the title role. He must of seen a lot of southern preachers as he grew up, because he wrote this as well and the role suited him to a tee.

The supporting cast is fine, with Rick Dial and John Beasley getting kudos for their work, but the movie is first and foremost about The Apostle. If you like Robert Duvall as an actor, you will like this movie. His attention to detail in his roles is well known. He brings quirks and nuances to help flesh out his characters, and this role is no different.

The Apostle is a flawed man who can lift others up, but has trouble lifting himself up. And that contradiction is what gives this movie its flavor. All-in-all, a fine movie.

36 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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