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The Pledge
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The Pledge (2001/I) More at IMDbPro »

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


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Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
View company contact information for The Pledge on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 January 2001 (USA) See more »
He may have retired, but he's still catching the killer See more »
A retiring police chief pledges to catch the killer of a young child. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Jack Nicholson in a tormenting, riveting performance. ***1/2 out of four) See more (530 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Patricia Clarkson ... Margaret Larsen

Beau Daniels ... Rudy

Benicio Del Toro ... Toby Jay Wadenah

Dale Dickey ... Strom
Wendy Morrow Donaldson ... Resort Owner

Adrien Dorval ... Sheriff (as P. Adrien Dorval)

Aaron Eckhart ... Stan Krolak
Shawn Henter ... Bus Driver
Kathy Jensen ... Store Clerk
Taryn Knowles ... Ginny Larsen

Nels Lennarson ... Hank

Costas Mandylor ... Monash Deputy
J.J. McColl ... Real Estate Agent
Gordon May ... Criminologist #1

Gardiner Millar ... Deputy #3 (as Gardinar Millar)

Helen Mirren ... Doctor

Adam Nelson ... Deputy #1

Jack Nicholson ... Jerry Black

Tom Noonan ... Gary Jackson

Michael O'Keefe ... Duane Larsen
Tony Parsons ... TV Anchorman

Robin Wright ... Lori (as Robin Wright Penn)
Robert Popoff ... Prisoner

Vanessa Redgrave ... Annalise Hansen
Nicole Robert ... Flea Market Sales Lady

Mickey Rourke ... Jim Olstad
Pauline Roberts ... Chrissy

Eileen Ryan ... Jean
Lucy Schmidt ... Alma Cage

Sam Shepard ... Eric Pollack

Lois Smith ... Helen Jackson

Harry Dean Stanton ... Floyd Cage

John R. Taylor ... Grey Haired Man
Theodore Thomas ... Rest Home Resident

Brittany Tiplady ... Becky Fiske
Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan ... Crime Scene Reporter

Françoise Yip ... Bartender at Airport
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Andrew Hedge ... SWAT Sniper (uncredited)
Brock Johnson ... Lori's Husband (uncredited)
Peter Madsen ... Detective at Retirement Party (Interaction) (uncredited)

Directed by
Sean Penn 
Writing credits
Friedrich Dürrenmatt (book)

Jerzy Kromolowski (screenplay) &
Mary Olson-Kromolowski (screenplay)

Produced by
Brian W. Cook .... associate producer (as Brian Cook)
Michael Fitzgerald .... producer
Sean Penn .... producer
Elie Samaha .... producer
Andrew Stevens .... executive producer
Don Carmody .... executive producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Klaus Badelt 
Hans Zimmer 
Cinematography by
Chris Menges (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Jay Cassidy 
Casting by
Don Phillips 
Production Design by
Bill Groom 
Art Direction by
Helen Jarvis 
Set Decoration by
Lesley Beale 
Costume Design by
Jill M. Ohanneson  (as Jill Ohanneson)
Makeup Department
Shannon Coppin .... second assistant makeup artist
Jayne Dancose .... key makeup artist
Michael Germain .... makeup artist: Mr. Nicholson (as Mike Germain)
Gerald Gibbons .... assistant hair stylist
Rick Glassman .... prosthetic dentist (as Dr. Rick Glassman DDS.)
Michelle Hrescak .... assistant makeup artist
Harlow MacFarlane .... special makeup effects artist
Ryan Nicholson .... special makeup effects supervisor
Roy Sidick .... key hair stylist
Christ Stanley .... special makeup effects artist
Joy Zapata .... hair stylist: Mr. Nicholson
Stacey Butterworth .... wig maker (uncredited)
Bill Terezakis .... special makeup effects artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Richard Bullock .... production manager (as Richard A. Bullock)
Cathy Gesualdo .... production manager: additional photography
Susan E. Novick .... post-production supervisor
Jefferson Richard .... production manager: additional photography
Joyce Kozy King .... unit production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
James Bitonti .... trainee assistant director (as James A. Bitonti)
Brian W. Cook .... first assistant director (as Brian Cook)
Warren Hanna .... third assistant director
Tracey Poirier .... second second assistant director
Andrew M. Robinson .... second assistant director (as Andrew Robinson)
Jon C. Scheide .... first assistant director: additional photography (as Jon Scheide)
Art Department
Vaughan V. Baker .... key scenic artist (as Vaughan Baker)
Derek Bobroff .... on-set scenic artist
Craig Brisker .... construction foreman
Noel Burke-Gaffney .... paint foreman
Dale Ann Connery .... assistant set decorator (as Dale Connery)
Greg Coombs .... greens
Dean Eilertson .... property master
Kendelle Elliott .... assistant art director
JoAnn Ellis .... art department coordinator (as Joann Ellis)
Brian Epp .... assistant property master
Mark Haddad .... head greens
Paul Jenkinson .... lead person
Bill McMahon .... set designer
Doug Poetker .... construction first aid
Dorian Reese .... greens
Glenn Woodruff .... construction coordinator (as Glenn 'Woody' Woodruff)
Michael Dundas .... lead painter (uncredited)
Laurie Edmundson .... set dresser (uncredited)
Nancy C. Lee .... graphic artist (uncredited)
Aleya Naiman .... prop buyer (uncredited)
Audra Neil .... set buyer (uncredited)
Chris Stewart .... draftsman (uncredited)
Rena Van Steele .... stand by painter (uncredited)
Sound Department
David Franklin Bergad .... dialogue editor
Mark Berger .... supervising re-recording mixer
Andy Bishop .... cable person
Piotr Filipowski .... sound effects designer
Anna Geyer .... assistant dialogue editor
Aura Gilge .... sound effects editor
Chris Gridley .... assistant sound effects editor
Mark Levinson .... adr supervisor (as Mark A. Levinson)
Kyrsten Mate .... sound effects designer (as Kyrsten Mate Comoglio)
Marnie Moore .... foley artist
John Nutt .... supervising sound editor
Margie O'Malley .... foley artist
Charles O'Shea .... boom operator (as Charlie O'Shea)
David Parker .... sound re-recording mixer
Frank Rinella .... foley mixer
Kevin Sands .... sound mixer: additional photography
Patti Tauscher .... foley editor
Hoku Uchiyama .... assistant sound effects editor (as Chris Hokuala Uchiyama)
Rob Young .... sound mixer
Special Effects by
David Gauthier .... special effects coordinator
Bill Mills .... special effects co-coordinator
Jak Osmond .... special effects assistant
Bruce Scott .... special effects buyer
Bruce Scott .... special effects driver
Barry Hebein .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
Kerry Phillips .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Okan Ataman .... sabre artist: ILM
Wenden K. Baldwin .... digital artist: Pacific Title Digital
John Bartle .... visual effects editor: ILM
Earl Beyer .... film recording engineer: ILM
Ken Dackermann .... digital artist: Pacific Title Digital (as Ken Dackerman)
Suni Dailey .... CG technician: ILM
Natalee Djokovic .... visual effects editor: ILM
Snow Dowd .... computer screen design
Chris Flynn .... digital artist: Pacific Title Digital
Mark Freund .... visual effects supervisor: Pacific Title Digital
Ryan Galloway .... CG technician: ILM
Joanne Hafner .... digital paint and roto: ILM
Pablo Helman .... visual effects supervisor: ILM
Kela Hicks .... sabre artist: ILM
Stephanie Hornish .... visual effects producer: ILM
Dorne Huebler .... digital compositor: ILM
Jennifer Law-Stump .... digital artist: Pacific Title Digital
Matt Linder .... 3D effects animator
Aaron Muszalski .... digital paint and roto: ILM
Joshua Pines .... film recording engineer: ILM (as Josh Pines)
Anthony Pitone .... visual effects editor: ILM (as Tony Pitone)
Robert Reinhardt .... computer screen design
Leslie Safley .... visual effects coordinator: ILM
Ken D. Smith .... visual effects producer: Pacific Title Digital
Bruce Vecchitto .... color timing supervisor: ILM
Wei Zheng .... digital matte artist: ILM
Rita E. Zimmerman .... lead sabre artist: ILM (as Rita Zimmerman)
Lloyd Hess .... technical support (uncredited)
Jesh Murthy .... visual effects supervisor: Toybox (uncredited)
Joe Doserro .... stunt player (as Joe Desarro)
Bill Ferguson .... stunt coordinator
Rick Pearce .... stunt player
Camera and Electrical Department
Allison Beda .... second assistant camera
Hans Bjerno .... aerial camera operator
Kevin Black .... key grip
Ken Decker .... generator operator
John Dekker .... assistant chief lighting technician
Garnet Durham .... video playback operator
Bob Findlay .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Dan Henshaw .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Ronald Hersey .... camera operator: "b" camera (as Ron Hersey)
Burton Kuchera .... chief lighting technician: additional photography
George Majoros .... second second assistant camera
Klaus Melchior .... video playback operator
Paul Mitchnick .... camera operator: "b" camera
Bill Molnar .... best boy grip
Robert L. O'Hara .... dolly grip (as Robert O'Hara)
Christopher Porter .... chief lighting technician
Alastair Rae .... camera operator: "a" camera
Noah Richoz .... video assist
Patrick Stepien .... first assistant camera: "a" camera
Gillian Stokvis .... first assistant camera: "b" camera (as Gillian Stokvis-Hauer)
Stewart Whelan .... second assistant camera
Gary J. Williams .... key grip: additional photography (as Gary Williams)
Enrique del Rio .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Curt Griebel .... grip (uncredited)
Tim Heller .... lighting technician/second unit gaffer (uncredited)
Tamara Jones .... camera assistant (uncredited)
Attila Luca .... assistant camera (uncredited)
George Ramage .... best boy rigging electrics (uncredited)
John Rogers .... grip (uncredited)
Pat Waller .... grip (uncredited)
Casting Department
Sandra-Ken Freeman .... extras casting: additional photography
Jason Mundy .... casting associate
Audrey Skalbania .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Donna Christiano .... costumer
Ruth Elke .... costumer
Jana MacDonald .... assistant costume designer
Karin Nosella .... wardrobe supervisor
Debbie Travis .... dresser: Mr. Nicholson
Julie O'Rourke .... costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Rob Bonz .... second assistant editor
Cheryl Buckman .... first assistant editor: Canada
Phil Hetos .... color timer
Sharon McGeeney .... negative cutter
Dana Mulligan .... first assistant editor
Shelly Theaker .... second assistant editor: Canada (as Shelley Theaker)
Dale Jones .... avid technician (uncredited)
Eric Rigney .... avid technician (uncredited)
Location Management
Monty Bannister .... location manager
Dan Carr .... assistant location manager
Nathan Kay .... trainee assistant location manager
James Thompson .... assistant location manager
Scott Walden .... location manager
Jan Eirik Langoen .... location scout (uncredited)
Dennis Swartman .... location manager: re-shoots (uncredited)
Tom Teotico .... location scout (uncredited)
Lynn M. van Kuilenburg .... location manager: additional photography, Los Angeles (uncredited)
Music Department
Jason Alexander .... music consultant
Slamm Andrews .... score mixer
Slamm Andrews .... score recordist
Michael Brook .... composer: additional music
Craig Eastman .... composer: additional music
Vicki Hiatt .... music editor
Gretchen O'Neal .... music production supervisor
Heitor Pereira .... composer: additional music
Marc Streitenfeld .... music editor
Martin Tillman .... composer: additional music
Debra Baum .... executive in charge of music (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Chet Badalato .... driver: Mr. Nicholson
Greg Hamilton .... transportation captain
Geno Hart .... transportation coordinator: additional photography
James Lewko .... transportation co-captain (as Jimmy Lewko)
Red Murphy .... transportation coordinator
Dale Shaben .... driver: Mr. Penn (as Dale Shabin)
Ian Thompson .... picture car coordinator
Wally Watson .... transportation co-captain
Rick Rasmussen .... picture car wrangler: additional photography (uncredited)
Larry Tardif .... driver: crane opperator (uncredited)
Other crew
Tommy Baratta .... chef: Mr. Nicholson
Sara Barnes .... craft service (as Samm Barnes)
Sara Barnes .... first aid (as Samm Barnes)
Josef Brandmaier .... slate financed by
Christina Bulbrook .... production coordinator: additional photography (as Christina Margellos)
Jill Christensen .... assistant production coordinator
Jill R. Cohen .... production legal: Cohen & Reder LLP (as Jill Cohen)
Susan Crawford .... production coordinator
Irena Dargenio .... payroll accountant
Joe Depczynski .... technical advisor (as Det. Joe Depczynski)
Debbie Derkach .... assistant craft service
Debbie Derkach .... assistant first aid
Tami DeSchutter .... stand-in: Lori
Amy Edelson .... staff assistant
Stacy Eyrich .... assistant: Mr. Nicholson
Kristen Figeroid .... assistant: Mr. Stevens
Jim Filippone .... helicopter pilot
Lara Fox .... script supervisor
Jena Fraser .... staff assistant
Tracey Gardhouse .... animal trainer
Marci Graber .... post-production accountant
John Hackett .... stand-in: Mr. Nicholson
Rodney Itier .... assistant: Mr. Samaha
Todd Lester .... security captain
David Magee .... staff assistant (as David MaGee)
Sato Masuzawa .... assistant: Mr. Penn
Peter Munro .... staff assistant (as Pete Monroe)
Rick Nicholson .... security co-captain
Lou Phillips .... production accountant
Benjamin R. Reder .... production legal: Cohen & Reder LLP (as Ben Reder)
Kyle Riefsnyder .... utility stand-in
Jaime Rigal .... production financing: Imperial Entertainment Group
Mick Rochon .... staff assistant
Dawn Sharpe .... assistant accountant
Rhonda Taylor .... staff assistant
Richa Thorpe .... second assistant production coordinator
Jared Underwood .... production financing: Imperial Entertainment Group
Jared Valentine .... extras wrangler
Tyrel Ventura .... assistant: Mr. Penn
Danny Virtue .... horse wrangler
Ian Watermeier .... finance coordinator
Gwen Wilson .... assistant: Mr. Fitzgerald
Natasha Young .... script supervisor: additional photography
Adam Barber .... assistant: Mr. Zimmer (uncredited)
Ron Blecker .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Duane Bradley .... animal trainer (uncredited)
Derek Carlson .... background performer (uncredited)
Jim Jaffe .... product placement (uncredited)
Kirk Jarrett .... animal trainer (uncredited)
Bonnie Judd .... dog coordinator (uncredited)
Bonnie Judd .... dog trainer (uncredited)
Wendi Laski .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Nathan Lomax .... production assistant (uncredited)
Neil McDaniel .... marine operator (uncredited)
Gerry Therrien .... animal trainer (uncredited)
Annie Wilkinson .... set tutor (uncredited)
Jack Groom .... special thanks
Michael D. Haller .... in memory of: our brother in arms (as Michael Haller)
Jack Nitzsche .... in memory of: our brother in arms
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Pledge" - Japan (English title)
See more »
Rated R for strong violence and language
124 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M (TV rating) | Australia:MA15+ (cable rating) | Australia:R18+ (original rating) | Brazil:16 | Canada:14A (Canadian Home Video rating) | Finland:K-15 | France:12 | Germany:12 | Hungary:14 | Iceland:16 | Italy:T | Malaysia:U (cut version) | Malaysia:18PL (uncut version) | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:R16 | Norway:15 | Peru:14 | Portugal:M/12 | South Korea:15 (video premiere) | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | Switzerland:14 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:14 (canton of Vaud) | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #37863)

Did You Know?

The recording of the gospel preacher yelling "Holy Ghost power!" on Duane's car radio is from one of the Tag Team Preacher scenes in The Apostle (1997).See more »
Errors in geography: There are no tunnels outside Reno, Nevada.See more »
[first lines]
Jerry Black:She said it. She said it. She did.
See more »
Movie Connections:
NwalhulwanaSee more »


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60 out of 85 people found the following review useful.
Jack Nicholson in a tormenting, riveting performance. ***1/2 out of four), 6 February 2001

THE PLEDGE / (2001) ***1/2 (out of four)

By Blake French:

Don't go to "The Pledge" expecting it to be a suspense thriller with a lot of fast-paced action and the tension peak high. By the misleading trailer and TV ads, I was personally expecting the above. "The Pledge," directed by the underrated actor and producer Sean Penn, is more of an unraveling drama than a genuine nail-biter. The film is a lot more than a conventional, run of the mill chiller. It vividly describes the process in which a person goes through before he reaches the state of insanity. The movie is most outwardly about obsession and commitment, more subtly about loneliness and depravity. This is one the most unusually absorbing movies of the new year.

Sean Penn is often overlooked as a Hollywood figure. He is an actor more often then he is a director (his most memorable directing feature was "The Crossing Guard"), but his work quite variegated. In 1998, Penn Portrayed a Sergeant in Terrence Malick's acclaimed war drama "The Thin Red Line," and a drug addicted Hollywood casting agent in "Hurlyburly." In 1997, he portrayed Michael Douglas' estranged brother in David Fincher's mystery thriller "The Game," and a down-on-his-luck drifter in Oliver Stone's gritty film noir "U-Turn." He delivered his most powerful performance in 1995 as a man on death row in "Dead Man Walking." Now, with "The Pledge" he is harrowing and intense, even though the script is often slow moving and monotonous. The stark edge and superior direction give the movie an authentic feel and emotional vigor. Sean Penn once again proves himself to be an excellent filmmaker especially behind the screen.

The enormously talented, Academy Award winner Jack Nicholson stars as the retiring Reno homicide detective Jerry Black. Jerry is a superb investigator, and when he examines his final case, the sexual assault and murder of an eight-year-old girl, he promises the victim's mother he will find the individual in charge of the atrocity. Police quickly bring in a mentally handicapped American Indian (Benicio Del Toro), who was found fleeing the crime scene and previously served time for rape and various other crimes. It appears that the officers found the man responsible, and when he confesses to the crime and kills himself, the other officers, including Jerry's friend, Stan (Aaron Eckhart), and their boss (Sam Shepard), consider this an open-shut case. Jerry has a gut-feeling this person is not who they are looking for, however.

The remainder of the movie is not about a police investigation, but more about Jerry Black's reaction to the events that have taken place. His obsession with catching the killer eventually leads to him going crazy, after he betrays his new friends, a single mother (Robin Wright Penn), and her young daughter. I personally desired more material involving the investigation instead of the development of the relationship between him and Robin Wright Penn's character, but that is not what the movie intended for us to watch. Regardless, the story arguably begins at its strongest point, and gradually losses much momentum as the mystery is not fully explored, and certain elements feel setup but are not paid off.

Some of the production's technical areas are also very astonishing, like the original music by Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer, and the cinematography by Chris Menges. Such ambient factors make for a sleepy and tranquil mood similar to the one in "Fargo." This film's soundtrack contains enthralling, refreshing, and captivating instrumental tones. Jack Nicholson is tormenting, riveting. He is the central of the movie, and it doesn't pretends otherwise. His performance provides energy for the story.

"The Pledge" is the type of movie that leaves us pondering about the opportunities passed by and the chances missed by the characters, the ironic coincidences, and the perplexing twists. The ending leaves us with more questions than answers, but that factor contributes greatly to the emotional impact the film has. "The Pledge" could have been more than it is, but considering the temptations the screenwriters overcame, it is more than what most of us would expect.

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