43 user 17 critic

The Proposition (1998)

Longing to have a baby, a sterile 1930s Bostonian hires a man to impregnate his wife.


Rick Ramage
1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Loggia ... Hannibal Thurman
Bronia Wheeler Bronia Wheeler ... Sister Mary Frances
Kenneth Branagh ... Father Michael McKinnon
Madeleine Stowe ... Eleanor Barret
William Hurt ... Arthur Barret
Ken Cheeseman ... Wayne Fenton
Jim Chiros Jim Chiros ... Timothy
Dee Nelson ... Susan Vicar
Pamela Hart Pamela Hart ... Skip Taylor
Wendy Feign ... Maid
Blythe Danner ... Syril Danning
Dossy Peabody Dossy Peabody ... Hannibal's Secretary
Neil Patrick Harris ... Roger Martin
Thomas Downey ... Torrey Harrington (as Tom Downey)
Tom Kemp ... Arthur's Chauffeur


Father Michael McKinnon goes from the U.K. to Boston circa 1935. For unknown reasons, he avoids at all costs the most prominent parishioners, Arthur and Eleanor Barret. Meanwhile, Eleanor and Arthur desperately want to have a child, but Arthur is sterile, so they hire Harvard law student Roger Martin to impregnate Eleanor, but unfortunately Roger falls in love with her.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One man gave up everything he owned. The other, everything he believed in.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Scott Wolf and Matt Damon were considered for the role of Roger Martin. See more »


The narration of this movie is supposed to be Father McKinnon telling the story to Hannibal Thurman, yet there are parts of the story that Hannibal is in which would certainly not have to be told to Hannibal by McKinnon. If that isn't bad enough, there is a part of the narration (right after Roger agrees to be the surrogate father) that McKinnon says "Hannibal knew that.........." even though it is Hannibal he is talking to. See more »


Father Michael McKinnon: As a Catholic Priest my orientation as to the definition of bonafide miracle.. has always been: Divine intervention... plus a little more. So in this instance, a timely flat tire might raise a few superstitious eyebrows even for skeptics it's hardly food for thought for those of us professionally trained to recognize the hand of God at work. But when in the pursuit of miracles, timing is everything. And it was beginning to look as if the hand of God was attached... to a damn good wristwatch.
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Referenced in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2010) See more »


Ave Maria
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach (uncredited) and Charles Gounod (uncredited)
Performed by The New England Conservatory Chamber Singers
Courtesy of The New England Conservatory
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User Reviews

Never in the field of Film Making has so much talent been wasted on so much crap
14 August 2002 | by rob.cottrell-2See all my reviews

You know there must be a problem when a recent film appears on TV with a cast that includes William Hurt, Kenneth Branagh, Madeleine Stowe, Robert Loggia and Blythe Danner and you've never heard of it. I guess my suspicions were aroused when the TV Channel shoved it out at 3 o'clock in the morning, but I really didn't think it could be that bad.

I was wrong. One of the previous comments summed this film up far better than I could but I would still like someone to tell me who the hell is Blythe Danner supposed to be? The mother, sister, best friend,'Mrs Danvers', I still haven't got a clue. I'm certainly not going to watch it again just to find out..

However, by far the saddest thing about this movie is watching talent like Blythe Danner, Madeleine Stowe and William Hurt being wasted in rubbish like this (I didn't miss out Mr Branagh by accident , incidentally).

Come on Hollywood, give them something decent to get their teeth into!

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Release Date:

27 March 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shakespeare's Sister See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$61,560, 29 March 1998

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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