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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 »
(43 articles)
User Reviews:
What??? 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 Play Misty for Me (1971)See more »
Frito LaySee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
14 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
What???, 27 November 2006
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City

Anyone who reads me regularly will probably know that I prefer watching films without knowing anything about them beforehand. Ideally, I don't want to have even the slightest idea about the plot or subject, the cast, or even who the director was. Of course, that's sometimes difficult to do, but as much as possible, I avoid reading or seeing anything about a film before I watch. I want to be a blank slate at the start of a film, without preconceptions.

I had never heard of Daniel Johnston before. So I watched this film for an hour before I finally realized, to my shock, that it's not some kind of Spinal Tap-like joke, which it seemed to be. When I thought it was a joke, I was enjoying it quite a bit. It appeared to be a mockumentary about a fat, dumpy, mentally ill guy whom people were calling a musical genius--"the best singer-songwriter of his generation", even though as we see in some concert footage, he can't really sing, play an instrument or write songs very well. At all.

In further explication of his "genius", we learn that he also did visual art--which were more or less the standard drawings of a kid obsessed with comic books and possessing some natural talent that could be developed. And we learn that he was an aspiring filmmaker. We see the standard young film fanatic kinda home movies--the kid could hold a camera steady and very rudimentarily frame a shot and do some editing. Nothing extraordinary, but again, maybe some talent there that could be developed. But the film kept focusing on his music, which the main character was maybe the most obsessed with, but for which he had absolutely no natural talent. Seemed funny to me, although maybe a bit too subtly executed to be as hilarious as Spinal Tap.

As it went on, however, it seemed to be less funny, and there were an increasing number of scenes that would have cost a fortune to fake. There were people I knew showing up in the film in historical shots, with Daniel inserted in what I thought was a Forrest Gump way. This was happening more and more, so finally, at the hour mark, I had to run to the computer and check the "All Music Guide" to see if maybe there really was a Daniel Johnston, and this wasn't a joke.

What had been mildly amusing and very quirky suddenly became perplexing. It's hard to believe that I'm not being put on. Now, I'm no objectivist on aesthetic value, but it's very difficult--and pretty frustrating--to see what anyone would find attractive about Daniel's music. He seems to only know a couple chords and very stereotypical chord progressions on both piano and guitar, and he can barely change from one chord to the next. His melodies are arbitrary--they're just whatever pitches happen to squeak out of his mouth as he recites his banal lyrics, which utilize "spoon-moon-June"-styled rhyme schemes. He barely understands rhythm. Yes, he's passionate about what he's doing, but so are the vast majority of people who can actually play an instrument, sing and write interesting songs. Johnston is no Syd Barrett. I'm a musician, too, and I could very literally teach anyone, and I mean anyone--learning disabilities and mental disorders or not--who has never touched a musical instrument before to do something comparable to what Daniel does within a week to a month. Why wouldn't they be considered geniuses? Why wouldn't they be well known, be offered record contracts, etc.? For that matter, why am I not considered a genius?

When it comes to Daniel's mental illness (or illnesses, maybe), the film is much more interesting to me, although I haven't known many people with a serious mental illness, so probably there's not that much very unusual about Daniel on that end, either. I did get to know Jaco Pastorius towards the end of his life, and there were some similar problems there behavior-wise (as well as similar problems for the people around him, including trying to have him institutionalized against his will). However, Jaco actually was a musical genius.

On technical terms, The Devil and Daniel Johnston isn't exactly a bad film. Director Jeff Feuerzeig probably didn't have an easy time of it, because he had to piece together a history of Daniel primarily by relying on home movies of poor quality. There are too many shots of cassette tapes and empty locations, but the film is pieced together competently and tells its story well enough. If you're at all a fan of Johnston, you should like The Devil and Daniel Johnston quite a bit.

But this is not the film that I want to see. The film that I want to see is one that explores the psychological and cultural phenomena of how someone like Johnston can come to be considered a genius, how he can come to work with so many artists who truly are gifted, especially when he continually does things to sabotage himself, and especially when not only do many other gifted artists not ever get a break, but any arbitrary person could do what Johnston does. I doubt I'll ever be able to quite figure it out.

(Edit:) Out of curiosity, I later listened to a few tracks from Daniel Johnston's albums--a couple from the early homemade tapes, and a couple from the later more heavily produced stuff. Oddly, the songs I heard, while not great in my view, showed at least some skill musically and vocally. That makes me wonder why Feuerzeig chose the songs that he did for the film, as they show Johnston as completely incompetent musically.

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