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The Mule (2018)

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In 30 theaters near Ashburn VA US [change]

A 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran is caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Michigan for a Mexican drug cartel.


Clint Eastwood


Sam Dolnick (inspired by the New York Times Magazine Article "The Sinaloa Cartel's 90-Year Old Drug Mule" by), Nick Schenk
55 ( 12)

Clint Eastwood: Actor, Director ... Master Impressionist?

Clint Eastwood does it all in The Mule ... including keeping his cast rolling with a killer impression of a classic cartoon character. And yes, we have proof.

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Credited cast:
Clint Eastwood ... Earl Stone
Bradley Cooper ... Colin Bates
Taissa Farmiga ... Ginny
Michael Peña ... DEA Agent
Alison Eastwood ... Iris
Andy Garcia ... Laton
Laurence Fishburne ... DEA Special Agent
Dianne Wiest ... Mary
Jill Flint ... Pam
Clifton Collins Jr.
Manny Montana ... Axl
Robert LaSardo ... Emilio
Katie Gill ... Sarah
Noel Gugliemi ... Bald Rob
Ignacio Serricchio ... Julio


A 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran is caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Michigan for a Mexican drug cartel.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Inspired by a True Story See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout and brief sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

14 December 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mule See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was the second collaboration between Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper after American Sniper (2014). See more »


During Earl's first trip as a mule, in an overhead shot, you can see the traffic headlights in the background where the production crew had stopped highway traffic to shoot the scene. See more »

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User Reviews

Eastwood is alive and well in this satisfying little thriller.
14 December 2018 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"How dull it is to pause, to make an end, To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use! As tho' to breathe were life." Tennyson, Ulysses

Although The Mule is riddled with cliché and improbability, you'd not be an ass to see it. Why? Because Clint Eastwood stars and directs in a small thriller, so bold and silly as to have Andy Garcia a drug king and Eastwood's 90-year-old Earl dispatch two heavy duty thugs. But the absurdity is not what this semi-sentimental family cum cartel caper affecting.

Earl is old as the hills and looks it; so much for romanticizing this Hollywood icon. Yet, his age and seeming enfeeblement add a gravity, along with the weight of the persona Eastwood brings after decades in front and behind the camera. When Earl speaks, it's not in flowery language, even though flowers are a prominent motif, but in experience-speak, making us aware that both character and director/star have little time left to mince words. He's a joy to watch as his Earl takes to being a drug mule to get money.

The theme of dedication to family occurs in almost too heavy a motif especially as Earl converses with DEA agent Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper). Perhaps like Eastwood's many hours of golf at Pebble Beach and maybe too few at Malpaso Ranch, Earl also is painfully aware that he has forsaken family, in his case for his beloved flowers.

He's a late bloomer when it comes to reconciling with family for his absences, but come back he does. That return, the goal of the film, is couched in reality, so writers Sam Dolnick and Nick Schenk satisfy us with a slice of comeuppance and sentimentality not far from the way things ought to be.

I hope Eastwood doesn't do an Earl or for that matter a Candide, and go back to the flowers. The Mule shows him still to have it in front and back of the camera. Otherwise, he'd be truly "unforgiven" for forsaking his talents to old age:

"Death closes all: but something ere the end, Some work of noble note, may yet be done . . . ." Ulysses

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