DVD 124 mins IMDB 6.8 (11,689 votes)
The Pledge
Warner Brothers (2001)
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(2003 )
Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
USA  /  English

Patricia Clarkson Margaret Larsen
Benicio Del Toro Toby Jay Wadenah
Dale Dickey Strom
Wendy Donaldson Resort Owner (as Wendy Morrow Donaldson)
Adrien Dorval Sheriff (as P. Adrien Dorval)
Aaron Eckhart Stan Krolak
Shawn Henter Bus Driver
Kathy Jensen Store Clerk
Taryn Knowles Ginny Larsen
Nels Lennarson Hank
Jack Nicholson Jerry Black
Costas Mandylor Monash Deputy
Helen Mirren Doctor
Tom Noonan Gary Jackson
Michael O'Keefe Duane Larson
Robin Wright Penn Lori
Vanessa Redgrave
Mickey Rourke
Sam Shepard
Lois Smith
Harry Dean Stanton
J.J. McColl Real Estate Agent
Gordon May Criminologist #1
Gardiner Millar Deputy #3

Director Sean Penn
Producer Michael Fitzgerald; Sean Penn; Elie Samaha
Writer Friedrich Dürrenmatt; Jerzy Kromolowski; Mary Olson-Kromolowski
Cinematography Chris Menges
Musician Klaus Badelt; Hans Zimmer
User Credit 1 Jay Lash Cassidy
User Credit 2 Jill M. Ohanneson

Sean Penn directed this tense drama of loyalty, honor, and obsession, based on a novel by Friedrich Durrenmatt. Jerry Black (Jack Nicholson) is a veteran police detective who lives and works in a small Nevada town. On the day of his retirement, it falls to Jerry to handle an especially unpleasant assignment — a seven-year-old girl has been brutally murdered, and Jerry has to check out the crime scene, and then tell the girl's parents the awful news. The girl's mother (Patricia Clarkson), understandably distraught, demands to know if the killer will be brought to justice, and Jerry promises her that he will personally see to it, "on my soul's salvation." A younger detective also on the case, Stan Krolak (Aaron Eckhart), thinks he's traced the crime to Toby Jay Wadeneh (Benicio Del Toro), a mentally retarded man who confesses to the murder shortly before killing himself. Stan considers the case closed, but Jerry can't shake his belief that Toby Jay wasn't actually the murderer, and Jerry begins to investigate the case on his own time, over the objections of his former boss, Eric Pollack (Sam Shepard), who reminds Jerry that he's no longer an official member of the police force. Before long, Jerry's personal investigation has taken over his life, and he uncovers evidence that suggests the girl's murder was just one in a series of killings involving young girls and a mysterious man called "the Wizard." When Jerry becomes close to a young single mother, Lori (Robin Wright-Penn), he feels he has reason to believe the murderer may be targeting her eight-year-old daughter, and finds himself using her as a decoy in order to bring the killer to justice. The Pledge marked Jack Nicholson's second starring role in a film directed by Sean Penn following 1995's The Crossing Guard; The Pledge's stellar supporting cast includes Vanessa Redgrave, Helen Mirren, Harry Dean Stanton, and Mickey Rourke. — Mark Deming

Edition Details
Barcode 085391905325
Region Region 1
Chapters 34
Release Date 2/3/2004
Packaging Snap Case
Screen Ratio Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Subtitles English; French
Audio Tracks ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
Layers Single Side, Dual Layer
No. of Disks/Tapes 1

Color Closed-captioned Widescreen Dolby
Personal Details
User Lookup 1 DVD Original
User Text 1 Strong violence and language.
User Text 2 Detective Jerry Black has made a promise he can't break, to catch a killer he can't find.
Links IMDB
All Movie Guide
Amazon US
DVD Empire

Trivia: The child murders depicted in the film were loosely based on actual cases that had been worked by Det. Joe Depczynski, the film's technical advisor. However, the cases were not thought to be the work of a single killer, as the film depicted, nor did the real detective come to the same end that Det. Jerry Black did. (more)

Goofs: Revealing mistakes: When Jerry reads Chrissy a bedtime story, it is supposed to be night time (in fact in the next scene, when Jerry goes outside, it is dark); however, bright sunlight can clearly be seen coming through the cracks around the window blind. (more)

Duane Larsen: I want to see my daughter.
Jerry Black: I don't think that would be a good idea.
Jerry Black: Because we hardly dared to look ourselves.

Awards: 6 nominations (more)