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The Pledge (2001)

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A retiring police chief pledges to catch the killer of a young child.



(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Wendy Donaldson ...
Resort Owner (as Wendy Morrow Donaldson)
Sheriff (as P. Adrien Dorval)
Shawn Henter ...
Bus Driver
Kathy Jensen ...
Store Clerk
Taryn Knowles ...
Monash Deputy
J.J. McColl ...
Real Estate Agent
Gordon May ...
Criminologist #1
Deputy #3 (as Gardinar Millar)


The night he retires as a Nevada sheriff, Jerry Black pledges to the mother of a murdered girl that he will find the killer. Jerry doesn't believe the police arrested the right man; he discovers this is the third incident in the area in the recent past with victims young, blond, pretty, and small for their age. So he buys an old gas station in the mountains near the crimes in order to search for a tall man who drives a black station wagon, gives toy porcupines as gifts, and calls himself the wizard: clues from a drawing by the dead girl. Jerry's solitary life gives way to friendship with a woman and her small, blond daughter. Has Jerry neglected something that may prove fatal? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He may have retired, but he's still catching the killer See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Asesino oculto  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,765,347 (USA) (19 January 2001)


$19,719,930 (USA) (30 March 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The picture was a passion project for writer/director Sean Penn and actor Jack Nicholson. Unfortunately, the screenplay was turned down by every major studio in Hollywood. Producer Elie Samaha, and his studio Franchise Pictures, who specialized in picking up screenplays in turnaround, quickly pounced on the material and signed up Penn and Nicholson for a reduced fee. The pair agreed as long as Penn could have complete creative and casting control. See more »


There are no tunnels outside Reno, Nevada. See more »


[first lines]
Jerry Black: She said it. She said it. She did.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In memory of our Brothers In Arms Michael D. Haller and Jack Nitzsche See more »


Featured in The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004) See more »


Written and Performed by David Baerwald
Courtesy of Pale Rider Inc.
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User Reviews

It's great to see professionals at work
31 December 2002 | by (Fremont, CA) – See all my reviews

I'm not that crazy about the story, which has been put to film at least twice before. (I think the other movie is The Cold Light of Day.) In the other movie, which was set in one of the Soviet bloc countries, there was also a serial killer after young girls, and the detective makes the morally questionable decision to put a girlfriends daughter unknowingly at risk to use as bait. The swingset for the girl beside the road (where the killer would be sure to see her) was copied over from the novel.

For sheer moviemaking prowess, though, this team of actors and Penn as the director is unbeatable. Every performance comes across with perfect sincerity and you forget you are looking at famous actors. There are some surreal touches as well, when bit players from the early part show up on screen late in the story with non speaking roles.

Four stars. Even if you don't like Jack Nicholson.

20 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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