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Limbo (1999)

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In an economically devastated Alaskan town, a fisherman with a troublesome past dates a woman whose young daughter does not approve of him. When he witnesses the murder of his shady brother, he, the woman and the kid run to the wilderness.


John Sayles


John Sayles
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Laskin ... Albright
Leo Burmester ... Harmon King
Hermínio Ramos Hermínio Ramos ... Ricky
Dawn McInturff Dawn McInturff ... Audrey
Vanessa Martinez ... Noelle De Angelo
David Strathairn ... Joe Gastineau
Tom Biss Tom Biss ... Baines
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ... Donna De Angelo
Jimmy MacDonell Jimmy MacDonell ... Randy Mason
Kathryn Grody ... Frankie
Rita Taggart ... Lou
Mérit Carlson-van Dort Mérit Carlson-van Dort ... Stacy
Monica Brandner Monica Brandner ... Corky
Maria Gladziszewski Maria Gladziszewski ... Denise
Kris Kristofferson ... Smilin' Jack


Limbo tells the story of people trying to reinvent themselves in the Southeastern islands of Alaska. The story revolves around Joe Gastineau, a fisherman traumatised by an accident at sea years before, singer Donna de Angelo and her disaffected daughter Noelle who come into Joe's life. When Joe's fast-talking half-brother Bobby returns to town and asks Joe for a favor, the lives of the characters are changed forever. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A condition of unknowable outcome See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Filmed entirely in Alaska. See more »


In a scene near the beginning Donna (Mastrantonio) and Joe (Straithairn) are riding in his truck. Donna's cigarette smoke is blowing away behind her and in close-up her hair is moving, but throughout the scene you can see the windows are obviously both closed. See more »


Albright: What are you buying when you get on a roller coaster? Not risk... but the illusion of risk. Being hurled to the edge of danger but knowing that you'll never have to cross it. Now Mr. Disney's innovation was to put these carnival rides and attractions into a story context where you can imagine yourself as a character in one of his cartoon epics floating through a plaster of paris jungle. The obvious next step... is not bigger and better facsimiles of nature but nature itself. Think of Alaska as ...
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Georgy Porgy
Written by Duke Levine and Mason Daring
Performed by Duke Levine
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User Reviews

Life ain't fair.
6 July 1999 | by Slim-25See all my reviews

Hi, my name is Slim and I just saw a movie about how just when you think life is going good and you got all the major stuff like food, money, and love dialed in and it's just about time you got comfortable with a six-pack of some cold longnecks WHAM! that cold-ass harlot Bad Luck cold cocks you one. Then the next thing you know you're stuck on some wet, dank, isolated-on-the-buttwipe-end Alaskan island with this gal you were just getting to know real well, not to mention her teenage daughter who's into self-mutilation and strange stories, and to top it all off some drug running nimrods who just got burned are looking for all your butts with their superduper peekaboo scoped rifle.

I'm talking about Limbo, made by the one of best directors who doesn't give a damn about Hollywood and does it his way all the time-John Sayles, and has one of my favorite babe actress-Mary Elizabeth Maistrantonio. It all takes place somewhere way up in Alaska where men are fisherman, women are fish cleaners, and the tourists are stupid fat Midwesterners. My babe Mary is this singer who just left her 51st, or 63rd, or 102nd guy and goes right after her 52nd or 64th or whatever, who is this guy who used to be a fisherman but due to 'unforeseen circumstances' isn't one now. But since way up there in fish country winters are long and women are scarce and fish just don't last all winter he decides she is all right, and besides she is Mary Elizabeth Maistrantonio. Anyway, he and she and the teenage daughter decide to go for a boat ride, so off they go along with his long-lost half-brother who decides to pull a con on his half-bro and use him as a bodyguard for some stupid pigheaded easy money drug deal. But of course it ain't easy money, and so it's a man overboard and everyone swim for their life scene.

We got fish being cleaned, fish being shot, fish being canned, fish being fish, we got pretty postcard pictures of somewheres up in Alaska which looks like they got enough trees to build all of us a 5000 square foot house, we got losers in a bar with their own barstool, we got Robinson Crusoe only Friday is a babe and her daughter, and finally we got an ending that just goes to show that we don't really know what's going to happen in our lives.

Three and a half bright north stars. Go check it out but only if you want to watch a movie where when it's over you want to go back for more. Or else drop kick a size 12 metal toed boot to the rear of Sayles for ending the movie the way he did.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

7 July 1999 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Limbo See more »

Filming Locations:

Alaska, USA See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$139,634, 6 June 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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