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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 »
3,860 ( 289)
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 ...
Ginny Larsen
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 USA:

$5,765,347, 21 January 2001, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$19,719,930, 1 April 2001

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$29,419,291, 31 December 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


There are several references to Denmark in the movie. Ginny's grandmother is called Anna-Lise Larsen (a common Danish name), at least two of H.C. Andersen's fairy tales are mentioned in the movie, and Jerry and Lori drink Carlsberg Beer. See more »


When Jerry reads Chrissy a bedtime story, it is supposed to be night time (in fact in the next scene, when Jerry goes outside, it is dark); however, bright sunlight can clearly be seen coming through the cracks around the window blind. 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 »


Referenced in At the Movies: 25 Years of Margaret & David (2011) See more »


You Are my Sunshine
Written by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell
Performed by Pauline Roberts (Chrissy)
See more »

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User Reviews

Superb drama. Top 5 of the decade so far without a doubt!
8 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

I have been an admirer of Sean Penn's previous directorial efforts ('The Indian Runner' and 'The Crossing Guard'), but he has really surpassed himself with this one. Re-teamed with Jack Nicholson he has helped that legendary actor create his best on screen performance since his 1970s peak ('Five Easy Pieces', 'Last Detail', 'Cuckoo's Nest', 'Marvin Gardens' et al). Nicholson has always been sensational but over the last ten years or so has sleepwalked his way through way too many movies, culminating in his irritating and mannered performance in the cliched and sentimental claptrap 'As Good As It Gets'. 'The Pledge' has obviously recharged his creative batteries. He is simply stunning in this film.

Nicholson is supported by a superlative array of actors, ranging from Aaron Eckhart ('The Company Of Men') and Sam Shepard ('The Right Stuff') to British vets Helen Mirren and Vanessa Redgrave, to Nicholson's old cronies Lois Smith ('Five Easy Pieces') and Harry Dean Stanton ('The Rebel Rousers'). While the cast is packed with familiar faces, none are gratuitous, all are first rate, and contribute to the overall excellence of the movie. Special mention must be made to the memorable cameos of Benicio Del Toro, and an as especially compelling performance by Mickey Rourke. Long underrated and often ridiculed, Rourke once again shows just how compelling he is as an actor.

'The Pledge' sticks out like a sore thumb in today's climate of wall to wall action movies, dumb comedies, and contrived "blockbusters". This is a real movie, with outstanding acting and a haunting story. Sadly fewer and fewer movies of this calibre are hitting the big screen, so treasure it!

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