7.2/10
59,618
223 user 231 critic

In the Valley of Elah (2007)

Trailer
0:31 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
A retired military investigator works with a police detective to uncover the truth behind his son's disappearance following his return from a tour of duty in Iraq.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

North Country (2005)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A fictionalized account of the first major successful sexual harassment case in the United States -- Jenson vs. Eveleth Mines, where a woman who endured a range of abuse while working as a miner filed and won the landmark 1984 lawsuit.

Director: Niki Caro
Stars: Charlize Theron, Jeremy Renner, Frances McDormand
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A detective in post-Katrina New Orleans has a series of surreal encounters with a troop of friendly Confederate soldiers while investigating serial killings of local prostitutes, a 1965 lynching, and corrupt local businessmen.

Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard
Three Burials (2005)
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Ranch hand Pete Perkins looks to fulfill the promise to his recently deceased best friend by burying him in his hometown in Mexico.

Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Pepper, Dwight Yoakam
The Hunted (2003)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

An FBI deep-woods tracker captures a trained assassin who has made a sport of hunting humans.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Connie Nielsen
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A married couple's life is turned upside down when the wife is accused of a murder.

Director: Paul Haggis
Stars: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An attorney defends an officer on trial for ordering his troops to fire on civilians after they stormed a U.S. embassy in a third world country.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Guy Pearce
The Fugitive (1993)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Dr. Richard Kimble, unjustly accused of murdering his wife, must find the real killer while being the target of a nationwide manhunt.

Director: Andrew Davis
Stars: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward
The Missing I (2003)
Adventure | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1885 New Mexico, a frontier medicine woman forms an uneasy alliance with her estranged father when her daughter is kidnapped by an Apache brujo.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Cate Blanchett, Evan Rachel Wood
Monster (2003)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer.

Director: Patty Jenkins
Stars: Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Bruce Dern
State of Play (2009)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When a congressional aide is killed, a Washington D.C. journalist starts investigating the case involving the congressman, his old college friend.

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck
Narc (2002)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

When the trail goes cold on a murder investigation of a policeman an undercover narcotics officer is lured back to the force to help solve the case.

Director: Joe Carnahan
Stars: Ray Liotta, Jason Patric, Chi McBride
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multi-billion dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Sgt. Dan Carnelli
...
Arnold Bickman
...
...
Evie
...
Corporal Steve Penning
...
Spc. Gordon Bonner
...
Spc. Ennis Long
...
Mike Deerfield
...
Detective Nugent
...
Private Robert Ortiez (as Victor Wolf)
...
Detective Hodge
Edit

Storyline

In Monroe, Tennessee, Hank Deerfield, an aging warrior, gets a call that his son, just back from 18 months' fighting in Iraq, is missing from his base. Hank drives to Fort Rudd, New Mexico, to search. Within a day, the charred and dismembered body of his son is found on the outskirts of town. Deerfield pushes himself into the investigation, marked by jurisdictional antagonism between the Army and local police. Working mostly with a new detective, Emily Sanders, Hank seems to close in on what happened. Major smuggling? A drug deal gone awry? Credit card slips, some photographs, and video clips from Iraq may hold the key. If Hank gets to the truth, what will it tell him? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes The Truth Is Best Left Buried See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent and disturbing content, language and some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 September 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Death and Dishonor  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$133,557 (USA) (14 September 2007)

Gross:

$6,777,589 (USA) (15 February 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Haggis wrote the part of Sanders with Charlize Theron in mind. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Hank wakes up in the morning in the motel, his bare feet hit the floor next to his shoes and there are visible lines on his legs from the imprints from socks on his ankles. They wouldn't be there after a night's sleep, only if you had just removed your socks. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Spc. Gordon Bonner: What are you doing? Get back in the fucking vehicle man! Mike, get back in the fucking vehicle. Let's go, Mike, now!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The O'Reilly Factor: Episode dated 4 April 2008 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock Like This
Written by Anthony Urbano and Ray Urbano
Performed by Stratjic
Courtesy of Nuthin 2 Lose Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Quietly effective
24 September 2007 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

The big movies about the Vietnam war -- Apocalypse Now, Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket -- didn't reach the screen until about five years after the war ended. But movies dealing with Iraq and terrorism are cropping up all over even as this war still rages.

What exactly that means is hard to know, but it would seem to indicate that no matter which side of the issue they come down on, the filmmakers are willing to risk alienating about half the potential audience in an America more polarized today than at any point in our history.

"In the Valley of Elah" treads lightly on the politics for most of the movie, concentrating on the unfolding mystery of what happened to a young soldier who vanishes shortly after returning from a tour of duty in Iraq. Looking for answers are his father, a former sergeant in the Army's Criminal Investigation Division, and a young female civilian detective, who gets involved in the case, gets bounced off in a jurisdictional dispute, but winds up back on the case when its determined the crime took place off military property.

While director Paul Haggis gets uniformly good performances out of all the characters, the movie belongs to Tommy Lee Jones as the grieving father and Charlize Theron as the determined detective. Both turn in outstanding performances. Jones shines, playing a man who has spent his life holding in his emotions and can't change now, even as his world falls apart. Theron radiates strength as a woman trying to survive in a sexist police department where all her male colleagues are certain she slept her way into her detective's job. That is somewhat important to the story, because the movie provides a look into the lower class white community that provides the bulk of the recruits in the all volunteer army.

None of this really deals with the politics of the war, though, and it is not until the very end of the film that politics come into play, and even there, it is handled with great care. The message is more about the kind of war America finds itself fighting today and what that type of combat does to the men who engage in it. Unlike world wars one and two, Vietnam and Iraq are not wars between easily recognized enemies. We are not battling the Germans or the Japanese. In both Nam and Iraq, Americans find it is difficult to tell friend from foe. That means they often must make snap decisions that sometimes determine whether they themselves live or die. Needless to say, their decisions also determine the fate of the people in the sights of their weapons..

"In the Valley of Elah" does an excellent job of showing that post traumatic stress syndrome is not an oddity, but rather a growing problem in an army of young men whose job requires them to be quick on the trigger.

Every American should see this movie and then think long and hard about it.


135 of 158 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
More tripe from Paul Haggis (please stop making movies)... sfostrom
FLAG upside down? bokensdorf
I should have known zricz
Difficult Questions on War by an Asian arno-40
Question about pantyhose... miller2184
did this movie make anyone else barf? bdragon89
Discuss In the Valley of Elah (2007) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?