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The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)

Joan of Arc (original title)
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A young girl receives a vision that drives her to rid France of its oppressors.


Luc Besson
5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rab Affleck ... Comrade
Stéphane Algoud Stéphane Algoud ... Look Out (as Stephane Algoud)
Edwin Apps ... Bishop
David Bailie ... English Judge
David Barber David Barber ... English Judge
Christian Barbier Christian Barbier ... Captain
Timothy Bateson ... English Judge
David Begg ... Nobleman - Rouen's Castle
Christian Bergner Christian Bergner ... Captain
Andrew Birkin ... Talbot
Dominic Borrelli Dominic Borrelli ... English Judge
John Boswall ... Old Priest
Matthew Bowyer ... The Bludgeoned French Soldier
Paul Brooke ... Domremy's Priest
Bruce Byron Bruce Byron ... Joan's Father


1429. While the war between France and England (the Hundred Years War) appeared settled in 1420, in England's favour, the death of King Henry V of England reignites it. England occupies large areas of France and appears set to take the whole of it. Into this moment of crisis rides legendary Joan of Arc, a teenage girl who claims to be lead by divine visions. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic battles, a rape and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



France | Czech Republic


English | Latin

Release Date:

12 November 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc See more »

Filming Locations:

Bruntal, Czech Republic See more »


Box Office


$85,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,360,968, 14 November 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$14,276,317, 14 January 2000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$66,976,317, 31 May 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gaumont,Okko Productions See more »
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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jack Nicholson was considered for the role of The Conscience. Milla Jovovich said, "I'm glad it wasn't him. He's an incredible actor, but it's Hoffman I want to work with." See more »


Joan's older sister was not murdered by soldiers, but survived to adulthood and married. She died ultimately in childbirth. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: 1420. Henry V, King of England, and Charles VI, King of France, sign the Treaty of Troyes. The treaty states that the kingdom of France will belong to England upon the king's death. But the two kings die a few months apart. Henry VI is the new king of England and of France, but he is only a few months old. Charles VII, the Dauphin of France, has no intention to abandon his kingdom to a child nor even to his tutor, the Duke of Bedford. A bloody war begins and the English, along with...
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Alternate Versions

The European release was 10 minutes longer than the US theatrical version, which omits, among others, the scene where Joan's virginity is tested before the court of King Charles VII. The longer version has been released in the USA on DVD. See more »


Referenced in Estrenos Críticos: Los Tres Mosqueteros (2011) See more »


My Heart Calling
Lyrics and Music by Éric Serra and Achinoam Nini
Produced by Éric Serra
Performed by Achinoam Nini
With the Special Authorization of Interscope/Geffen
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User Reviews

I'd rather be burned at the stake than watch this film again.
15 December 1999 | by 2000shakesSee all my reviews

The only reason I'm spending the time to post a comment here is to warn you not to waste two and half hours of your life on this film, like I did.

Even though I had heard mixed reviews, I went into the theatre with a very positive attitude about this film, since I've enjoyed Besson's past films, as well as the work of many of this cast.

Looking back, I should have followed my gut instinct and left about a minute and a half into the film: pretty much any time a filmmaker uses a Gothic typeface in titles and expository text and then adds something ridiculous like blood running over a map, you can bet your life that the rest of the film will show the same stupidity, lack of taste, and disrespect for the intelligence of the viewer. The murder/rape (in that order) a few minutes later confirmed my first impression, but for some reason I stayed.

Maybe I stayed because I teach classes on film and watch a lot of movies, and I am more than willing to give ANY film a fair shot (and sometimes two or three). I wanted this film to succeed. But it falls down on so many levels that I felt my own calling from God, as it were, to wage a small battle against it.

The reviews published by the San Francisco papers, NY Times and Chicago Sun-Times (Ebert) give a pretty good summary of what's wrong with this film, even though I think their "two stars" ratings are quite generous.

To summarize my own thoughts on the film, I feel that the script doesn't know what story it's trying to tell, and Besson and Jovovich seem to have no sense at all for the complexities of Joan's story, as it has come down to us.

The acting is as overwrought and void of subtlety as any I've seen in a long time. The only highlights are a couple of performances from supporting characters (who unfortunately are shackled by the poor screenplay) and Dustin Hoffman's appearance toward the end of the film (way too little, way too late to save the film). I felt particularly saddened by the clownish performance John Malkovich gives, although I can't help but think/hope that he was forced to do it by Besson. (I wondered while watching the scene where Joan tells Charles about her revelations whether Malkovich was mocking Jovovich . . . and the whole production for that matter.)

Everything else you see in the film (art direction, costume design, soundtrack, special effects, even the look of every single supporting and bit player, etc. etc.) is as cliche and unimaginative as the screenplay and acting. It feels as if Besson and Co. sat down and said, "What is the absolutely most stereotypical image that the average moviegoer who knows nothing about 15th-century France or Joan of Arc or who has never thought about spiritual things in a meaningful way will expect when he or she sits down to watch this film?" And then, having done little thinking themselves, they filmed it.

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