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The Postman (1997)

R  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  25 December 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 53,724 users   Metascore: 29/100
Reviews: 373 user | 81 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

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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6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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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 <KingVegeta8@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

drifter | hope | escape | postman | usa | See All (143) »


It is 2013. War has crippled the Earth. Technology has been erased. Our only hope is an unlikely hero. 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?


The area of Metaline Falls, Washington (where a lot of the filming took place) did not have much to offer for housing film crews (like hotels) so many of the crew stayed at local campsites, rented rooms from locals. Kevin Costner rented a house from a resident of the nearby town of Ione, Washington. The stars and crew treated the locals very kindly even when approached for autographs when eating in local restaurants. See more »


The main character assumes his role because he found an old abandoned mail truck containing the remains of a long dead mailman and pilfered the uniform from the skeleton. The problem here is the condition of the clothing he takes. When a person dies, the body goes through many stages of decomposition on its way to being merely a skeleton. As the tissues break down, many chemicals and enzymes are released, including the hydrochloric acid of the digestive system. In the final stages of decomposition, this is referred to as liquefacation or liquiescence. Given enough time and a suitable environment this combination of byproducts, with the addition of the bacteria that will inevitably emerge, would make any cloth or fabric (with the exception of treated leather products) not only disgustingly filthy, but also so weakened from exposure to what amounts to a corrosive liquid, that the fibers would tear apart from any stresses put on them. Even the act of taking the jacket off of the remains (and certainly that of putting the jacket on himself) would have pulled the fabric apart. See more »


[Clutching a spoon as a weapon]
The Postman: Don't make me use this.
See more »


Referenced in Flick (2000) See more »


Come And Get Your Love
Written by Lolly Vegas
Produced by Jono Manson
Performed by John Coinman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

See it, then decide
15 August 2002 | by (Manchester, England) – See all my reviews

It's a depressing fact that the moviegoing public is being brainwashed by critics to hate everything involving Kevin Costner. When released in 1997 this breathtaking, thought-provoking epic was largely ignored and limped to a box office gross of $14 million, thanks to some vicious reviews.

Lest we forget, Costner made the magnificent Dances With Wolves, but that was in the days when we were told it was okay to like him. His directorial follow up is every bit as good. He knows about directing. He coaxes great performances from his casts. He has real vision and takes chances. Like Michael Cimino, his efforts are belittled and mocked while directors with clearly less talent are applauded.

So to all those people who stayed away in droves and screw their faces up at the mention of this film, I say watch it before you criticise it. Don't rely on some magazine writer to tell you who's good and who's not. Your brain is there for a reason.

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