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Machine Gun Preacher (2011)

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Sam Childers is a former drug-dealing biker tough guy who found God and became a crusader for hundreds of Sudanese children who've been forced to become soldiers.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryann Campos ...
Paige #1
Paige #2
Grant R. Krause ...
Billy / Contractor (as Grant Krause)
Reavis Graham ...
Pastor Krause
Bill Wallace
Barbara Coven ...
Shannon Wallace
Biker Chick
Bartender (as Nicole Sobchack)
Shaved Head
Mike Litaker ...


In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, addicted gang biker Sam Childers is released from prison and learns that his wife Lynn is no longer a stripper but has converted to Christianity. One night, Sam and his best friend Donnie give a ride to a hitchhiker who threatens Donnie with a pocketknife; however Sam reacts and turns the tables on the stranger. Sam is affected by the incident and is convinced by Lynn and his mother Daisy to join their church, and he is baptized. Sam finds a straight job in construction. When he meets a preacher from Africa, he decides to visit the continent. Sam travels to Northern Uganda and South Sudan many times and builds an orphanage for the victims of the cruel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Further, he fights whenever necessary and becomes a legend known as The Machine Gun Preacher. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Hope is the greatest weapon of all

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent content including disturbing images, language, some drug use and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

2 November 2011 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El rescate  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$45,130 (USA) (23 September 2011)


$537,580 (USA) (18 November 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The city Noblesville mentioned in the movie when describing roofing jobs is actually a city outside of Indianapolis and not in Pennsylvania. Jason Keller, the writer of the film, is from Indianapolis. See more »


The film depicts Sam in the Allegheny County Jail, but he is wearing the uniform of a PA Department of Corrections (DOC) inmate. See more »


[first lines]
Prison Clerk: [returning his belongings] You ya go.
Sam Childers: You all go fuck yourselves now, okay?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credit roll, clips and pictures of original main characters (Sam Childers, Lynn, Paige & SPLA Soldier, Deng) are shown. See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.66 (2012) See more »


Child in Time
Written by Ritchie Blackmore (as Richard Blackmore), Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jean Baptiste Mallard, Ian Paice
Performed by Deep Purple
Courtesy of EMI Records Ltd
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Hillbilly from Penn
2 October 2011 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Movies based on true stories and real people tend to receive the benefit of the doubt from me when they exaggerate those truths and characters. The real life Sam Childers at the beginning of the movie is an ex-con, druggie, gun-loving drug dealer, thug, lousy dad, worse husband, and overall man of failed character. When he finds God, he loses the drug labels but the only other thing that really changes is his postal address.

Sam Childers sees himself as a modern day crusader working to make a better life for the war orphans in Sudan. It's impossible to argue that he hasn't had an impact on lives. The real question is, at what cost and by what methods? Over the closing credits, we even get a clip of the real Sam asking us "does it matter how?".

You will find no debate here for whether or not this man has made a difference or whether his methods should be judged. This space is merely for analyzing the movie which is telling a story. Gerard Butler does an admirable job making Sam a somewhat sympathetic character. Re-read my first paragraph if you think that's easy! Michelle Monaghan plays Lynn, his incredibly supportive wife who actually helped Sam find God, rather than continue his criminal, drug-addled ways with friend Donnie (Michael Shannon).

While I found the story of the Sudanese children to be heart-breaking, the choppy and fragmented manner in which it's presented was quite annoying. The story began in 1998 but we never really knew what year it was or how much time had passed between Sam's trips home. Many of the gun battle scenes came across very staged and set-up for a cool shot of Butler brandishing a weapon and bandanna.

So while I found the story to be quite interesting, I found the delivery to be less than adequate. This despite fine performances from Butler, Monaghan, Shannon, Kathy Baker and Madeline Carroll. There are numerous magazine articles about Sam Childers and I believe you will find those more accurate and informative.

33 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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