7.2/10
190,314
734 user 95 critic

Meet Joe Black (1998)

Death, who takes the form of a young man, asks a media mogul to act as a guide to teach him about life on Earth, and in the process, he falls in love with his guide's daughter.

Director:

Martin Brest

Writers:

Ron Osborn (screenplay), Jeff Reno (screenplay) | 6 more credits »
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Popularity
960 ( 550)

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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brad Pitt ... Joe Black / Young Man in Coffee Shop
Anthony Hopkins ... William Parrish
Claire Forlani ... Susan Parrish
Jake Weber ... Drew
Marcia Gay Harden ... Allison
Jeffrey Tambor ... Quince
David S. Howard David S. Howard ... Eddie Sloane
Lois Kelly-Miller Lois Kelly-Miller ... Jamaican Woman
Jahnni St. John Jahnni St. John ... Jamaican Woman's Daughter
Richard Clarke Richard Clarke ... Butler
Marylouise Burke ... Lillian
Diane Kagan Diane Kagan ... Jennifer
June Squibb ... Helen
Gene Canfield ... Construction Foreman
Suzanne Hevner ... Florist
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Storyline

Bill Parrish, media tycoon, loving father and still a human being, is about to celebrate his 65th birthday. One morning, he is contacted by the Inevitable - by hallucination, as he thinks. Later, Death itself enters his home and his life, personified in a man's body: Joe Black has arrived. His intention was to take Bill with him, but accidentally, Joe's former host and Bill's beautiful daughter Susan have already met. Joe begins to develop certain interest in life on earth as well as in Susan, who has no clue who she's flirting with. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet Joe Black: Sooner or Later Everyone Does See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for an accident scene, some sexuality and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Universal

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Dutch

Release Date:

13 November 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Meet Joe Black See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,017,995, 15 November 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$44,619,100

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$142,940,100
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited TV)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The part of William Parrish was originally slated for Gene Hackman. See more »

Goofs

When Susan is kissing Joe goodbye after having made love, her medical bag is on the floor. Even though she doesn't bend down to pick it up before she walks away, she has it in her hand as she exits. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Construction Foreman: Please. Please. Don't worry. Don't worry.
Allison: It's utter chaos around here. And I'm terrified we're running out of time. Am I trying to be too perfect?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The airline version, shortened by about 50 minutes, was disowned by director Martin Brest and is credited to Alan Smithee. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: David Spade/Eagle-Eye Cherry (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

What A Wonderful World
Written by George David Weiss (as George David Weis) and Bob Thiele
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A gorgeous film.
17 November 2003 | by eamon-hennedySee all my reviews

A three hour film about death. It doesn't sound like much when you say it like that, but trust me, Meet Joe Black is an outstanding film and is without doubt one of the most underrated little gems I have ever seen. The film is beautiful in every regards; the photography, the sets, the music and the performances, especially the performances. The last time Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt were on screen together it was the equally sublime Legends of the Fall, here it is another sublime film and once again they are putting in some of their best work. The characters that they play, Bill Parrish and Death, bring out a fantastic chemistry between the two performers, especially in the more comedic moments when they two are getting to know each other. However, while death is the main theme of the film, director Martin Brest remembers to filter optimism into his wonderful tale in the shape of a love story between Parrish's daughter (played by the beautiful Claire Forlani) and Death himself. This results in one of the most gorgeous coupling in recent years as well as one of the most erotically intense love scenes I have ever watched.

Director Brest presents the film in a more artistically filtered view than most other directors might have done. The love scene is done without nudity with close ups on the actors throughout. The striking presentation of the lighting in the film is also fantastic, with a lovely golden glow pouring of the screen and lastly Thomas Newman's music is quite simply marvelous. Films like The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption and American Beauty which have featured music by this outstanding composer have been enhanced by the haunting, lyrical and moving melodies he has composed and this film is no exception. The mixture of piano and orchestra builds to an uplifting and emotional pull that cements his position as one of the best music composers working in modern film today.

The three hour running time would appears to be problematic, but alas it is not. In fact like another sweeping romantic epic, Titanic, you will not feel the time going in. The three hours fly by and not only that, like the Oscar winning epic, this is a film that makes one instantly want to re-watch it again and again. Meet Joe Black is a wonderful mixture of comedy, romance and drama and is done exceedingly well. Brad Pitt puts in one of his finest performances as Death finds himself enchanted by human emotions and then finds himself making a deeply human choice at the end of the film and then there is Hopkins. One of cinema's finest actors no matter what he is in, he shows with his complex range of emotions in his performance there is more to him than playing Hannibal Lecter. His performance here restrained and quite frankly very well done. It is perhaps one of his best acting performances. His Shakespeare background obviously coming in handy for a film that contains many a Shakespearean like moment.

The film, while not a flop, was not the box office hit that was expected, especially considering the main casting, but if you can make up your own mind, do watch Meet Joe Black. This is a wonderful film and is a personal favorite of mine.


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