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The Devil and Daniel Johnston
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The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005) More at IMDbPro »

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The Devil and Daniel Johnston -- Daniel Johnston, manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist is revealed in this portrait of madness, creativity and love.
The Devil and Daniel Johnston -- Daniel Johnston, manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist is revealed in this portrait of madness, creativity and love.


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Release Date:
5 May 2006 (Ireland) See more »
Daniel Johnston, manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist is revealed in this portrait of madness, creativity and love. | Add synopsis »
2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Troubling story but superb documentary technique See more (39 total) »


  (in credits order)
Daniel Johnston ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Laurie Allen ... Herself
Brian Beattie ... Himself
Louis Black ... Himself
David Fair ... Himself
Jad Fair ... Himself
Don Goede ... Himself

Matt Groening ... Himself
Gibby Haynes ... Himself
Sally Johnston Reid ... Herself
Bill Johnston ... Himself
Dick Johnston ... Himself
Mabel Johnston ... Herself
Margie Johnston ... Herself
Ken Lieck ... Himself
Kathy McCarty ... Herself

Freddie Mercury ... Himself (archive footage)
Thurston Moore ... Himself
Jason Nightmare ... Himself
John Pochna ... Himself
Jeff Tartakov ... Himself
David Thornberry ... Himself
Peter Zaremba ... Himself
Blair Sterrett ... Himself - Voice (uncredited)

Directed by
Jeff Feuerzeig 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jeff Feuerzeig 

Produced by
David Donaldson .... coordinating producer: Post Logic Studios
Ted Hope .... executive producer
Henry S. Rosenthal .... producer
Original Music by
Daniel Johnston 
Cinematography by
Fortunato Procopio (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Tyler Hubby 
Art Direction by
Gregg Gibbs 
Jill McGraw 
Production Management
Andrew Troy .... post-production manager
Art Department
Candace Cole .... graphic designer
Kiara Geller .... art department
Timothy Georgarakis .... graphic designer
Gregg Gibbs .... art department
Jill McGraw .... art department
Eric Myerson .... graphic designer
Chris Rogers .... art department (as Christopher Rogers)
Hanna Rogers .... graphic designer
Sound Department
Ethan Andrus .... sound mixer
Wayne Bell .... sound recordist
Adam Joseph .... sound recordist
James Lebrecht .... sound designer
James Lebrecht .... sound re-recording mixer
Dan Olmsted .... sound re-recording mixer
Daniel Sperry .... consultant: dolby sound (as Dan Speery)
Allie Sultan .... assistant sound editor (as Alison Sultan)
Patti Tauscher .... supervising sound editor
Dennis Towns .... sound recordist
Andrew Troy .... sound mixer
Andrew Troy .... sound recordist
Visual Effects by
Joseph Bailey .... lead 2D artist: Big Red Pixel
Tarn Fox .... digital compositor: Big Red Pixel
John G. Kirby .... lead 3D artist: Big Red Pixel (as John Kirby)
Jonah Loop .... visual effects producer: Big Red Pixel
Robert Rossello .... visual effects supervisor: Big Red Pixel
Camera and Electrical Department
Gabriel Aguilar .... electrician
Gabriel Aguilar .... grip
Karl Alexander .... electrician
Karl Alexander .... grip
Jessica Attel .... electrician
Jessica Attel .... grip
Kent Baker .... electrician
Kent Baker .... grip
Yves Beauvais .... still photographer
Pat Blashill .... still photographer
Jutta Brandt .... still photographer
Harry Clark .... assistant camera (as Harry Clark Jr.)
Harry Clark .... camera operator: additional photography (as Harry Clark Jr.)
Jasper Daley .... still photographer
Monica Dee .... still photographer
Peter Donavan .... assistant camera
Steve Double .... still photographer
Casey Dunn .... electrician
Casey Dunn .... grip
Mátyás Erdély .... camera operator: additional photography (as Matyas Erdely)
David Fair .... still photographer
Rob Featherstone .... camera operator: additional photography
Jeff Feuerzeig .... camera operator: additional photography
Jeff Feuerzeig .... still photographer
Bob Finley III .... electrician (as Robert Finley)
Bob Finley III .... grip (as Robert Finley)
Niles J. Fuller .... still photographer
Tom Gimbel .... still photographer
Craig Grossmueller .... assistant camera
Donald R. Howe Jr. .... assistant camera
Edison Jackson .... electrician
Edison Jackson .... grip
Ben Kobbs .... second assistant camera
Charles 'Woody' Lang .... electrician (as Woody Lang)
Charles 'Woody' Lang .... grip (as Woody Lang)
Michael Lavine .... still photographer
Mike Layne .... still photographer (as Michael Layne)
David Layton .... assistant camera
Robert Lewallen .... electrician (as Bobby Lewallen III)
Robert Lewallen .... grip (as Bobby Lewallen III)
Michael Macioce .... still photographer
Rick Magee .... still photographer
James 'Buz' Maloy .... electrician (as Buz Maloy)
James 'Buz' Maloy .... grip (as Buz Maloy)
John McConnico .... still photographer (as J. McConnico)
Peter Michelena .... plate photographer
Mark J. Miller .... still photographer (as Mark Miller)
Deb Pastor .... still photographer
Matthew A. Petrosky .... assistant camera (as Matt Petrosky)
Susanne Sasic .... still photographer
Adam Drew Schwartz .... assistant camera (as Adam Schwartz)
Tom Shinn .... electrician
Tom Shinn .... grip
Jeff Tartakov .... still photographer
David Thornberry .... still photographer
Wilson Waggoner .... electrician (as Wilson Wagoner)
Wilson Waggoner .... grip (as Wilson Wagoner)
John A. Witmer .... electrician (as John Witmer)
John A. Witmer .... grip (as John Witmer)
Editorial Department
Jeff Feuerzeig .... additional editor
Nathaniel Fregoso .... assistant editor
Ed Fuller .... additional editor
Anne Hall .... assistant editor
Matthew W. Johnson .... iq artist
Nelson Mah .... film scanner: Post Logic Studios
Brett S. McCarthy .... assistant editor (as Brett McCarthy)
Michael Underwood .... digital colorist: Post Logic Studios (as Mike Underwood)
Music Department
Brooke Wentz .... music supervisor
Walter Werzowa .... composer: additional music
Robert Wells .... music clearance associate (uncredited)
Other crew
Nicole Acacio .... production coordinator
Gabriel Aguilar .... production assistant
Henry Ball .... engineer: Post Logic Studios
Susan Boone .... legal services
Mateo Bourdieu .... production assistant
Michael Burke .... production assistant
John Cates .... production assistant
Jason Dennis .... production assistant
Kevin Dewitt .... production assistant
Rodney Elliot .... production assistant
Christopher Geraghty .... production coordinator
Steve Hahn .... production assistant
Sean Harper .... production assistant
Dennis Hocking .... production assistant
Adam Hollander .... production assistant
Ben Kobos .... production assistant
Mark Krumper .... production coordinator
Kristin Loeb .... production assistant
Tamara Marcarian .... production assistant
Tony Mazzucchi .... production assistant
Charles Mcdonald .... title designer (as Charles McDonald)
Donovan Milcoch .... production assistant (as Donovan Micoch)
Mark J. Miller .... production coordinator (as Mark Miller)
Leora Mohr .... production assistant (as Leora Backer)
Joe Monroe .... asset manager: Post Logic Studios
Lawrence Onoda .... production assistant
Marcos V. Perez .... production assistant
George S. Rosenthal .... production assistant
George Rush .... legal services (as George M. Rush)
Molli Simon .... production coordinator (as Molli Amara Simon)
Morganna Thomas .... production assistant
Charles Yang .... production assistant
Woody Allen .... thanks
Brian Beattie .... thanks
Louis Black .... thanks
Joshua Blum .... thanks
Bruce Conner .... thanks
David Fair .... thanks
Jad Fair .... thanks
Nick Apollo Forte .... thanks
Don Goede .... thanks
Matt Groening .... thanks
Gibby Haynes .... thanks
Ken Lieck .... thanks
Jennifer Lilly .... thanks
Kathy McCarty .... thanks
Thurston Moore .... thanks
Eric Papa .... thanks
Barbara Peterson .... thanks
John Pochna .... thanks
Jeff Tartakov .... thanks
David Thornberry .... thanks (as Dave Thornberyy)

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, drug content, and language including a sexual reference
110 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Would visit Starseeds Cafe in Austin and leave drawings on yellow legal pad paper for his favorite friends.See more »
Daniel Johnston:I never met a girl I didn't meet.See more »
Movie Connections:
References Dont Look Back (1967)See more »
My Yoke Is HeavySee more »


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21 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
Troubling story but superb documentary technique, 31 March 2006
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

For a crazy person, Daniel Johnston – a manic-depressive from West Virginia in his forties now an obese chain-smoker on heavy meds and in the care of his parents, has had a wonderful life and a very creative one as an artist, songwriter and performer who's become a cult figure admired and performed by the likes of Tom Waits, Sonic Youth, and Kurt Cobain. Jeff Feuerzeig, whose title refers to Daniel's constant mental battles with Satan, has provided a rich and sympathetic external portrait; and Johnson's own endless cassette tapes, songs, and drawings (which, used as important sources, can't help bringing to mind such influential recent documentaries as Andrew Jareaki's Capturing the Friedmans and Jonathan Caouette's Tarnation), provide as good a picture of what's going on inside Johnston's head as we're going to get.

Johnston has been celebrated by a long string of artists and become a cult figure to his fans for his purity, innocence, honesty, and raw pain. Like Caouette, he was unappreciated by his parents and particularly his mother, who thought he spent too much time writing songs and drawing pictures when he was young, and called him a "lazy bum" for not doing his chores around the house. His compulsive creativity was never really appreciated by his fundamentalist Christian family, though since thousands of admirers have applauded him at concerts, surely they begin to appreciate it now.

The many films and tapes of him show Daniel was a charming if unstable young man, buoyant, full of fun, uncooperative, laughing – in a teenage film he plays both himself and his abusive mom – and beginning to compose the songs that others have said sum up the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and other pop greats, though his voice is tuneless and whiny and his piano playing jangly and when he switched to guitar, that was worse. His parents took him out of college because he wasn't doing well, and put him to work. He didn't like that, so they farmed him out to siblings. Luck brought him to Austin in the early Eighties where he worked in a Macdonald's for a surprising length of time considering that he wasn't good at any of the jobs there (he cleared tables) and he was discovered by music writers, an editor, and a man who became his manager and almost his slave (Jeff Tartakov, the manager he fired, who still devotes his life to distributing copies of his tapes).

Johnston had repeated bouts in mental institutions and became increasingly delusional. A period of heavy LSD use clearly led to one of his worst crises: and yet he can recount all this himself, and his mind seems astonishingly lucid. (This is one of the saddest things about madness: that the mad know they're mad, but can do nothing about it.) For all his crises, the Austin public embraced Johnston and he got top awards for folk singing and song writing – an event that sat ill with some professional musicians at the time, but satisfied the lust for fame that motivated Johnston, who'd been on MTV, and knew how to grab the spotlight better than he knew how to play his guitar.

I can't see the virtue of Johnston's music and drawings, or rather I can, but I disagree with those in the film who insist he's not an outsider artist. He fits that category well; he's just come along at a time when plaintive whining, alienation, and musical primitivism are the rage, and he was taken up by some admirable champions. However, when he finally got a recording contract – drawn up initially when he was in a mental institution – his first album issued by Atlantic Records sold only a few thousand copies and he was dropped in two years, showing that despite stars' covers of his songs, he himself has no mainstream appeal, or ability to work in a professional format either as a musician or a visual artist. Nonetheless Johnston's open nature, his clarity, his sense of the redeeming artistic value of love, and his ceaseless artistic productivity are unmistakable and justify the attention that has been lavished upon him. This doesn't stop his story from being ultimately a sad one. For all his parents' caring in latter years, for all his championing by editors and managers, he cannot function on his own. Since his meds stifle his creativity, he has tended to give them up for two weeks before a public performance, and after one of the biggest ones, when his dad was flying the two of them home in his little plane, he overpowered him and took the controls and they crashed into some trees, barely surviving. Well, I guess all artists are a bit reckless, but it's just a matter of degree.

Making full use of films, tapes, and recent interviews, Jeff Feuerzeig has produced a wonderful film that is as good a document of a man as modern techniques allow. And the enduring popular notions of artistic life as train wreck and artistic genius as mental derangement remain unchallenged.

(Feted at fests in mid to late 2005, The Devil and Daniel Johnston went into limited US release March 31, 2006.)

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