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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)
"Joan of Arc" (original title)

R  |   |  Adventure, Biography, Drama  |  12 November 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 54,170 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 385 user | 111 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

A young girl receives a vision that drives her to rid France of its oppressors.


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5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stéphane Algoud ...
Look Out (as Stephane Algoud)
English Judge
David Barber ...
English Judge
Christian Barbier ...
Timothy Bateson ...
English Judge
David Begg ...
Nobleman - Rouen's Castle
Christian Bergner ...
Andrew Birkin ...
English Judge
John Boswall ...
Old Priest
Matthew Bowyer ...
The Bludgeoned French Soldier
Domremy's Priest
Bruce Byron ...


In 1412, a young girl called Jeanne is born in Domrémy, France. The times are hard: The Hunderd Years war with England has been going on since 1337, English knights and soldiers roam the country. Jeanne develops into a very religious young woman, she confesses several times a day. At the age of 13, she has her first vision and finds a sword. When coming home with it, she finds the English leveling her home town. Years after that, in 1428, she knows her mission is to be ridding France of the English and so sets out to meet Charles, the Dauphin. In his desperate military situation, he welcomes all help and gives the maiden a chance to prove her divine mission. After the successful liberation of Orléans and Reims, the Dauphin can be crowned traditionally in the cathedral of Reims - and does not need her anymore, since his wishes are satisfied. Jeanne d'Arc gets set up in his trap and is imprisoned by the Burgundians. In a trial against her under English law, she can't be forced to tell ... Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic battles, a rape and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

12 November 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


FRF 390,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$6,360,968 (USA) (12 November 1999)


£94,012 (UK) (10 March 2000)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Kathryn Bigelow filed suit in California against Luc Besson for plagiarizing historical research that she had done when she was involved in the project. Besson settled with her amicably out of court. See more »


When Joan meets Dauphin Charles for the first time she holds her arms around him shifting from just above his waist to around his hips. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: 1420. Henry V, King of England, and Charles VI, King of France, sign the Treaty of Troyes. The treaty states that the kingdom of France will belong to England upon the king's death. But the two kings die a few months apart. Henry VI is the new king of England and of France, but he is only a few months old. Charles VII, the Dauphin of France, has no intention to abandon his kingdom to a child nor even to his tutor, the Duke of Bedford. A bloody war begins and the English, along with...
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Version of Johanna aus Lothringen (1959) See more »


My Heart Calling
Lyrics and Music by Eric Serra and Noa
Produced by Eric Serra
Performed by Noa
With the Special Authorization of Interscope/Geffen
See more »

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User Reviews

Inspired by...?
24 October 2004 | by (NJ, USA) – See all my reviews

There are many deviations from the accepted facts of Jeanne d'Arc's life as set out in her trial documentation and the writings of the time. This said, the central question of whether she was a saint, an inspired lunatic, wholly mentally ill, or simply a headstrong girl determined to grab her chances while she could is well asked. Many of the comments here assert that Besson makes it clear that the Maid was simply mentally ill, yet I read the film as deeply ambivalent about what was going on. Were her visions the hallucinations of a schizophrenic? Were they given by God? What's the difference? More questions are asked: Why does an omnipotent, omniscient, all-compassionate deity allow terrible things to happen? What is the meaning of kingship - to own or to serve? What is the difference between taking the lives of individuals and killing en masse? What's the difference between Christianity and the earthly institutions of that religion? Where does conviction end and fanaticism begin?

Jovavich's Jeanne is plagued by the difference between her idea of utter submission to God and the consequences of doing so; by doubt over the veracity of her visions; and by the gap between her ideals of the divine rights of kings and realpolitik. She is constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown - is this a manifestation of her mental illness, or of her "burning for God"? And where's the difference between the two?

The film raises more questions than it answers, and that's as it should be. It is something of a shame that Besson's film takes liberties with the facts as we understand them (though history is more often about our interpretation of events than the events themselves), but in terms of raising important questions on the nature of faith, it succeeds beyond measure.

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