A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources.


Gus Van Sant


John Krasinski (screenplay), Matt Damon (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Matt Damon ... Steve Butler
Benjamin Sheeler ... Attendant
Terry Kinney ... David Churchill
Carla Bianco Carla Bianco ... Waitress
Joe Coyle ... Michael Downey
Hal Holbrook ... Frank Yates
Dorothy Silver ... Arlene
Frances McDormand ... Sue Thomason
Titus Welliver ... Rob
Lexi Cowan ... Drew's Girl
Tim Guinee ... Drew Scott
Sara Lindsey ... Claire Allen
Frank Conforti ... Coach
Garrett Ashbaugh Garrett Ashbaugh ... Basketball Player
Jericho Morgan Jericho Morgan ... Jericho (as Jerico Morgan)


Corporate salesman Steve Butler (Matt Damon) arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company's offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally. Written by Focus Features

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What's your price?



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The little girl who sells lemonade to Steve Butler (actress Lennon Wynn) is featured in the series of Verizon's "Susie's Lemonade" commercials. See more »


In the first meeting in the school gym, the coach says that the basketball team is getting ready for regionals. Yet it is clearly summertime and not February, when this would be happening. Three week later, the basketball team is playing a game and all the plants are green and the trees have leaves. See more »


[last lines]
Steve Butler: You the owner of this place?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Through most of the end credits, the camera zooms out to a wide shot of the town where the film takes place. See more »


Referenced in Life Itself (2014) See more »


Jewel of June
Written by Kenneth Pattengale (as Kenneth A Pattengale) and Joey Ryan (as Joseph Edward Ryan)
Performed by The Milk Carton Kids
Courtesy of Anti-
See more »

User Reviews

Frank Capra's Spirit is Large
7 January 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Promised Land (2012)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Director Gus Van Sant is visited from the ghost of Frank Capra in this morality tale that mixes politics, family values and greed. Natural gas salesmen Steve (Matt Damon) and Sue (Frances McDormand) head out to a small town to try and make the people vote for allowing them to drill for gas. They spread around whatever "truths" they must to secure the vote but soon the small town life starts to effect Steve. PROMISED LAND isn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but it's extremely well-made, features some great acting and it really is a fun movie to sit through. There are problems including the ending, which I won't ruin for those who haven't seen the movie but I think this complicated story and issues gets solved way too easily. With that said, Van Sant was the perfect person to handle this material because in someone else's hands you're probably looking at an over-sentimental picture that is too preachy. Instead, Van Sant really paints a great picture of small town life and I thought the screenplay allowed each character to fully grow. This includes obviously the Damon character but several other smaller ones including a terrific bit by Hal Holbrook who plays a local school teacher. The material is extremely well-written and for the most part the message is always there but it's never just beating the viewer over the head. Damon turns in some of his best work in years as he's completely believable in the role of this salesman who starts to have second thoughts. I thought the actor delivered a very strong and emotional performance that really paid off. Holbrook is simply divine in his small role and McDormand is also very good in her supporting bit. Rosemarie DeWitt also adds another winning performance to her resume. PROMISED LAND, I think, could have ended a bit better but there's still something that bring it all together. The film is fairly predictable but with such strong direction and a great cast it's still very much worth seeing.

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Release Date:

4 January 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Promised Land See more »

Filming Locations:

Apollo, Pennsylvania, USA See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$173,915, 30 December 2012

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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