242 user 81 critic

Message in a Bottle (1999)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 12 February 1999 (USA)
0:31 | Trailer
A woman discovers a tragic love letter in a bottle on a beach, and is determined to track down its author.


Luis Mandoki


Nicholas Sparks (novel), Gerald Di Pego (screenplay) (as Gerald DiPego)
6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Costner ... Garret
Robin Wright ... Theresa (as Robin Wright Penn)
Paul Newman ... Dodge
John Savage ... Johnny Land
Illeana Douglas ... Lina
Robbie Coltrane ... Charlie
Jesse James ... Jason
Bethel Leslie ... Marta
Tom Aldredge ... Hank
Viveka Davis ... Alva
Raphael Sbarge ... Andy
Richard Hamilton ... Chet
Rosemary Murphy ... Helen At The B&B
Steven Eckholdt ... David
Susan Brightbill Susan Brightbill ... Catherine


A woman finds a romantic letter in a bottle washed ashore and tracks down the author, a widowed shipbuilder whose wife died tragically early. As a deep and mutual attraction blossoms, the man struggles to make peace with his past so that he can move on and find happiness. Written by CJ

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

letter | sex | grief | bottle | love | See All (37) »


A story of love lost and found.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This movie is set in North Carolina, but at the end of the movie when Dodge is brought to Garrets boat the Game Wardens sleeve patches have the state of Maine Logo. See more »


Not sure if this is a mistake in the movie or a viewer missing something but if Catherine throws the bottle into the ocean while living in North Carolina how come Theresa finds it later while she's living in Chicago? The two places don't share the ocean. See more »


[first lines]
Jason Osborne: [disembarking] Where are they?
Theresa Osborne: Um... You know, they're probably just running late, they'll be here baby.
Jason Osborne: I see 'em. Daddy! Daddy!
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Girl with lantern" painting by Helen Turner Greenville County Museum of Art See more »


Referenced in The Office: Lotto (2011) See more »


Let Me Let Go
Written by Steve Diamond and Dennis Morgan
Produced by David Foster
Performed by Faith Hill
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
See more »

User Reviews

Take Newman out, and there is nothing here.
2 July 2000 | by REDFOOT4See all my reviews

I was sort of hoping to enjoy this flick, but boy was I disappointed. First of all, the story is set in The Outer Banks of North Carolina, but clearly this film was shot nowhere The Outer Bank, and I would say nowhere near North Carolina. My best guess would be that they took their cameras up to Maine or something and thought that no one would see the difference. BIG MISTAKE! People who have been there know how beautiful The Outer Banks really are, and will recognize the difference. Secondly, this story is just dumb, drawn out, and overly melodramatic. This story could probably have been told in just over an hour, not just over two. The filmmakers got a little trigger happy when Costner signed on, and went overboard(no pun intended) with everything, the result being a confused, disappointing mess. The one bright light in all this muck of a film is the startling performance given by Paul Newman. Sure, it is basically the same character that he played in Nobody's Fool, but who cares. The man is still one of the finest actors that ever lived, and this performance is among some of his best work. If you decide to watch this film, do it so you can enjoy Newman's wonderful performance. His work is the only reason that this film should be viewed.

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Official Sites:

Warner Bros.





Release Date:

12 February 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Message in a Bottle See more »

Filming Locations:

Bath, Maine, USA See more »


Box Office


$80,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,751,560, 14 February 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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