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Promised Land (1987)

R | | Drama | 22 January 1988 (USA)
Gritty drama that follows two high school acquaintances, Hancock, a basketball star, and Danny, a geek turned drifter, after they graduate.


Michael Hoffman


Michael Hoffman
3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Gedrick ... Hancock
Tracy Pollan ... Mary
Kiefer Sutherland ... Danny
Meg Ryan ... Bev
Googy Gress ... Baines
Deborah Richter ... Pammie
Oscar Rowland ... Mr. Rivers
Sandra Seacat ... Mrs. Rivers
Jay Underwood ... Circle K Clerk
Herta Ware Herta Ware ... Mrs. Higgins
Logan Field Logan Field ... High School Coach (as Walt Logan Field)
Kelly Ausland Kelly Ausland ... Schroeder / Ashville Basketball Player #1
Todd Anderson Todd Anderson ... Pat Rivers
Dave Valenza Dave Valenza ... Glenn
Theron Read Theron Read ... Harting


Gritty drama that follows two high school acquaintances, Hancock, a basketball star, and Danny, a geek turned drifter, after they graduate. The first film commissioned by the Sundance Film Festival, it portrays the other half of the American dream, as Hancock and his cheerleader girlfriend Mary wander to a middle-class mediocrity out itself out of reach for Danny and his psychotic wife Bev. Written by Owen F. Lipsett <lipsetto@tcd.ie>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Referenced in Lawrence Kasdan's Dreamcatcher (2003). See more »


[waking up the "morning after"]
Bev: Where's the cat?
Danny: What cat?
Bev: The cat that shit in my mouth.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Best Dog ... Cheetah See more »


Featured in MsMojo: Top 10 Iconic Meg Ryan Romance Movies (2019) See more »


O Magnum Mysterium
Written by Giovanni Palestrina
Performed by Choir of Kings College Cambridge (as King's College Choir, Cambridge)
Conducted by Philip Ledger
Courtesy of EMI Records Limited, 30 Gloucester Place, London W1A IES
See more »

User Reviews

Bleak small budget film about the small town folks and their sometimes small dreams and lives.
13 January 2002 | by Havan_IronOakSee all my reviews

Dave Hancock is a small town athletic star who goes away to college as a basketball player on scholarship. When he washes out of the team he drops out of college and comes home to find a job on the local Police department where he's comfortable among the folks he's always known and able to relax in his former glory.

Mary his head cheerleader girl friend goes away to school to study art but also longs for the small-town life and the boy she's left behind. She's got big dreams but is afraid to leave the comfort of the small town and afraid to tell her family she wants to stay.

Danny Rivers, tagged `the Senator' was a nobody in high school and can't wait to leave for the world outside the town he's grown up in and the bleak undemonstrative family that raised him.

When Danny meets and marries a crazy do-as-she-pleases girl he decides to return home and all of their lives are changed forever...

I found this movie to be evocative of a period and had better than average character development but this film will not appeal to all. It is a sketch of a time and a place and the people there. They are not archtypes, they are not universal but they are realistic and you can care about them and as with many sketches the viewer is left with the desire for more, a more complete picture, a better sense of what comes next and even a few more details about the present.

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Release Date:

22 January 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Promised Land See more »

Filming Locations:

Reno, Nevada, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,401, 24 January 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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