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Promised Land (2012)

R | | Drama | 4 January 2013 (USA)
2:30 | Trailer

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A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3,774 ( 1,389)
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
David Churchill
Carla Bianco ...
Joe Coyle ...
Michael Downey
Drew's Girl
Drew Scott
Claire Allen
Garrett Ashbaugh ...
Basketball Player
Jericho Morgan ...
Jericho (as Jerico Morgan)


Corporate salesman Steve Butler (Matt Damon) arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company's offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally. Written by Focus Features

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What's your price?



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »


Release Date:

4 January 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Terra Prometida  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$173,915, 28 December 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,597,898, 24 January 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Originally, this movie was supposed to be Matt Damon's directorial debut. But due to short time to prepare for the movie and also some creative conflicts, Damon dropped out as the director (but remained as an actor) and Gus Van Sant came aboard to direct. See more »


Story takes place in Pennsylvania. So why do many of the locals (property owners, farmers) have southern accents? To make them seem more "folksy" or "ignorant"?? Dumb. See more »


Steve Butler: I don't know what to say anymore. But where we are now, where we're headed! We might be betting more than we think. Everything that we have is on the table now. And that's just not ours to lose.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Through most of the end credits, the camera zooms out to a wide shot of the town where the film takes place. See more »


Referenced in Life Itself (2014) See more »


Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Written by Rodney Crowell
Performed by Emmylou Harris with Dolly Parton & Linda Ronstadt
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

mostly good, with an unrealistic ending
3 December 2013 | by See all my reviews

Gus Van Sant has tackled a number of political and social issues in his movies. "Promised Land" looks at the issue of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking. Matt Damon plays an executive from an energy company trying to convince a town to allow the process in their vicinity. Meanwhile, an environmentalist tries to convince people otherwise.

I have liked most of Van Sant's movies, and it's good that this movie is addressing a process that has devastated entire regions. Indeed, the fracking industry criticized the movie's depiction of the process as destructive (surprise, surprise). Unfortunately, what happens at the end does not seem realistic. It reminded me of what happens in Bill Forsyth's "Local Hero". Other than that the movie is a perceptive character study of Damon's amoral exec, the sort of man who's totally in it for the money. Mostly a good movie, understanding that what happens at the end probably wouldn't happen in real life.

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