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Donnie Darko (2001)

R  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi  |  26 October 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 541,921 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 2,083 user | 281 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Taxier ...
Dr. Fisher
Mark Hoffman ...
Police Officer
Bob Garland
Joanie James


Donnie Darko doesn't get along too well with his family, his teachers and his classmates; but he does manage to find a sympathetic friend in Gretchen, who agrees to date him. He has a compassionate psychiatrist, who discovers hypnosis is the means to unlock hidden secrets. His other companion may not be a true ally. Donnie has a friend named Frank - a large bunny which only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off a plane and destroys his bedroom, Donnie is not there. Both the event, and Donnie's escape, seem to have been caused by supernatural events. Donnie's mental illness, if such it is, may never allow him to find out for sure. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The cult phenomenon returns summer 2004. (director's cut re-release) See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug use and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 October 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$110,494 (USA) (26 October 2001)


$727,883 (USA) (1 October 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There are many comic book references that show up through the film. Gretchen comments on Donnie's name as sounding like a superhero, to which he replies "What makes you think I'm not?" Many characters have alliterative names (Donnie Darko, Cherita Chen, Frankie Feedler, Daye Dennis, Joanie James, Sean Smith, Donnie Dickson) like many comic book heroes (Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Susan Storm etc.). Also, it is believed that Donnie is a superhero, as he has powers and he uses them to save others. See more »


When Donnie's science teacher begins talking about Roberta Sparrow's book, Donnie puts the Slinky around his neck. The camera cuts to Donnie taking the book and cuts directly back to a rear angle of Donnie to show the Slinky still taut around his neck, which it would not be if he had released his grip on one end of it. See more »


[first lines]
Elizabeth: I'm voting for Dukakis.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the closing credits, on the director's cut, there is the title of the movie followed by a drawing of Frank. See more »


References Bonanza (1959) See more »


The Killing Moon
Written by Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson and Pete DeFreitas (as Pete De Freitas)
Performed by Echo & The Bunnymen
Courtesy of Sire Records/Warner Music U.K. Ltd.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Perhaps the most relevant social commentary on U.S society ever put on screen.
16 December 2013 | by (wherever good films play) – See all my reviews

Above all, this film has a kind of flow to it like nothing I've ever experienced in any other film before. The magic sets in from the very first moment, when we see Donnie waking up (and the song 'The Demon Moon' starts), and you just go with that flow and let yourself be drawn into that world. The story unfolds like a dream and the ambiguity (at least in the theatrical cut) as well as the fantastic songs help create an absolutely unique and strangely compelling atmosphere.

Fantastic script and fantastic performances: this film has a richness in its characters that amazes me every time I watch it. Forget the director's cut - here for once the theatrical version is the masterpiece. Probably the best social commentary on American society I've ever seen but beautifully woven into an ambiguous, slightly surreal fantasy tale with a haunting soundtrack.

My vote: 10 out of 10

Favorite films: http://www.IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Lesser-known Masterpieces: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054808375/

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075552387/

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Message Boards

Recent Posts
IMDb must have wiped out years of commentary .... olliemankz
Why did Dr. Thurman say that it would be just Donnie and Frank? andonethousand
Director's Cut is not good. matthew-vaughn-141-344338
why did Drew B (teacher) buckbo
Why is his mom so calm in the end? monik_dark_angel
Reviewers that gave it a 1 star rating..... J_mac_Attack2000
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