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The Postman (1997)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  25 December 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 53,143 users   Metascore: 29/100
Reviews: 371 user | 77 critic | 14 from

A nameless drifter dons a postman's uniform and bag of mail as he begins a quest to inspire hope to the survivors living in post-apocalyptic America.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:


In the year 2013 civilization has all but destroyed itself. After a war that decimated the government and most of the population of the United States (possibly the world) people struggle to survive against starvation and rogue groups of armed men. One such group is called the Holnists. This group is bigger than any other and their leader, General Bethlehem, has delusions of ruling the country. A drifter is captured by the group and forced to join. He escapes at the first chance and happens on a mail jeep with a skeleton in it. The skeleton is wearing a postal uniform and the drifter takes it to keep him warm. He also finds a mailbag and starts conning people with old letters. The hope he sees in the people he delivers to changes his plans and he decides that he must help bring the Holnists down. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

drifter | hope | escape | postman | revolt | See All (138) »


The year is 2013. One man walked in off the horizon and hope came with him. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Postman  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,260,324 (USA) (26 December 1997)


£198,021 (UK) (20 February 1998)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


At one point, this was in development as a project for Ron Howard, with Tom Hanks set to star. See more »


As The Postman and General Bethlehem are starting their parley in the climactic scene, a cameraman and camera are visible on the rock face behind the General. See more »


The Postman: Once more into the breach, my friends, once more. We'll close the wall with our dead. In peace, nothing so becomes a man as modesty and humility, but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with rage and lend the eye a terrible aspect.
See more »


It Will Happen Naturally
Written by Maria Machado and Jono Manson
Produced and Performed by Jono Manson
Courtesy of Paradigm Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Well... I am glad to see that I am not the only person who liked this film
19 February 2000 | by (Storrs, CT) – See all my reviews

I truly do NOT understand why The Postman was attacked as viscously as it was by the film media (there films much more worthy of the Golden Raspberry Awards in 1997). I loved this film and was very impressed with the loving amount of dedication that it demonstrates on the part of the actors, writers and director. This was a GOOD movie: it had a strong and intelligent story; excellent and interesting characters; and real feel for the post-Apocalypse genre. I felt that Kevin Costner's everyman act worked beautifully in this film and created a sense of reality for the character and of his situation.

As far as the sci-fi novel by David Brin, this film exceeded it in every way possible. Where Brin had to rely on cheezy sci-fi standards (like supersoldiers) to resolve his story, this film does using only two men, both frauds, and both with radically different understandings of what constitutes a proper society. That is what made this film great (and I rarely use the term great), that this film was essentially an examination of America and what America means. It was a parable of sorts about the types of men Americans are and what they are capable of (notice that the head bad-guy had a traditional, classical education, while Costner did not; he appreciated these things but they were not at the center of his belief system... I wonder why).

While I do not agree with every aspect of this film (I am a Medievalist and a Platonist, so I don't necessarily feel the same way about the Western Canon that the film-maker may have), I still find it to be a beautiful reflection on the psyche of the American everyman. America has a tradition of rejecting the absolutist ideals of the past in favor of the pragmatic relativism of today, and I think that this film is a parable of the divorce of America from the traditions of Europe.

Overall, this is a complex and entertaining film and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in examinations of American culture and tradition, perhaps as a double feature with Citizen Cane (I am not, however, claiming that the Postman was as good a film as Citizen Cane, only that they have a similar theme... what does it mean to be an American?).

187 of 238 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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