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The Crossing Guard

73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Academy Award(R)-winner Jack Nicholson (1997 Best Actor, AS GOOD AS IT GETS) drives this suspenseful, critically acclaimed action thriller about one man's unquenchable thirst for revenge! For six agonizing years, Freddy Gale (Nicholson) has waited for John Booth (David Morse, THE NEGOTIATOR), the man jailed for a crime that destroyed Freddy's life. Now, Booth is out of prison and Freddy's giving him three days before he returns ... to even the score! Directed by Sean Penn and starring Academy Award(R)-winner Anjelica Huston (1985 Best Supporting Actress, PRIZZI'S HONOR) and sexy Robin Wright (MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE), THE CROSSING GUARD is an intense, emotionally charged thriller that delivers!

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Nicholson, David Morse, Anjelica Huston, Robin Wright, Piper Laurie
  • Directors: Sean Penn
  • Writers: Sean Penn
  • Producers: Sean Penn, Bob Weinstein, David Hamburger, Harvey Weinstein, Richard N. Gladstein
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: November 16, 1999
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305433828
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,636 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Crossing Guard" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Joe Leydon on September 14, 2001
Format: DVD
It's too long, too unfocused and way too self-indulgent. But in the end, none of this matters. Sean Penn's second effort as a director-screenwriter is compelling and emotionally resonant ways that more conventionally well-made films never manage to be. Jack Nicholson gives one of his finest performances as Freddy Gale, a jewelry store owner whose daughter was killed by a drunken driver six years before the story begins. Since then, the devastated Freddy has remained alive only by nursing the hope that he will be able to kill John Booth (David Morse), the man who accidentally killed his daughter. But as the guilt-racked Booth is released from prison, it becomes very clear that perhaps neither man really wants to live much longer. Throughout "Crossing Guard," Penn has a tendency to sledgehammer his way through walls rather than simply opening doors. Even so, he always gets where he wants to go -- to that dark corner of our hearts where we can forgive no one, not even ourselves. Co-star Anjelica Huston has a couple of terrific scenes as Freddy's ex-wife, a woman with her own share of guilt, fear and loathing.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Curtis Grindahl on April 15, 2004
Format: DVD
I puzzle at those reviewers criticizing this film, which to my mind is a tour de force. Of course, I do volunteer work with dying folks and help train aspiring grief counselors to deal with the traumas that life all too often brings us. I can only assume that those who so quickly dismiss this powerful meditation on grief and remorse have yet to experience these real life emotions. Something by Schwarzenegger may be more to their taste, or one of the ubiquitous comic book recreations we encounter most summers with cardboard characters and pseudo emotions.
Sean Penn is plumbing much deeper regions of the human psyche, and doing so with actors of rare talent, fully capable of sharing with us their heart rending vulnerabilities. Few actors have the courage to go to the places these actors visit as they face suffering almost too great to bear. I'm reminded of the more recent Mystic River that explores equally traumatizing events. It was heartening to watch the joy with which Sean Penn's Academy award for his performance in that Clint Eastwood film was greeted by his fellow professionals who have long acknowledged this young man's genius both in front of and behind the camera. The Crossing Guard deserves a wider audience and will surely reward the discerning viewer with a deeply felt movie experience. Check it out for yourself!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 26, 2004
Format: DVD
Sean Penn, recently winning his first Oscar for MYSTIC RIVER, directed this film, and as an actor he is vastly aware of the importance of good performances. While the movie itself is a flawed film, one can hardly fault the performances. The movie is about going on with one's life, even when that seems the furthest thing in mind. Jack Nicholson in a very strong performance plays Freddy, a man who lost his seven year old daughter to a drunk driver. After this loss, his marriage to Mary (Anjelica Huston) has fallen apart, and she has remarried a stable and nice enough man (played with restraint by Robbie Robertson). Freddy has been living for one thing: revenge. Now that the driver, John Booth (David Morse) has been released from prison, Freddy wants to kill him. Booth, however, is a changed, desolate man as well, bearing the guilt of ruining not only Nicholson's life, but hurting his loving parents (Piper Laurie and Richard Bradford) as well. How these two face their demons is the crux of the plot. What makes it so good are the performances. Huston is magnificent; a scene between her and Nicholson in a restaurant late at night is devastating in how it switches from what starts out as sentimental and caring, but then turns despicably ugly. Although not on screen much, Ms. Huston asserts her power as an actress. Robin Wright Penn as the girlfriend of Booth has some powerful moments, although her "dancing" sequence is both absurd and unmeaningful. David Morse is brilliant as John Booth, an obviously gentle man who made that horrible mistake of drinking too much and driving. His guilt weighs heavy on his shoulders, and in the convoluted ending, he and Nicholson still make it potent.

Not a happy film by any means, but a good exercise in cinematic performance.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Revolver1010 on August 19, 2002
Format: DVD
... It is NOT a revenge movie. It's a movie about self pity and realization. Also, it's about people's narrow-mindedness in not realizing the suffering of others. This is a fantastic movie for those of you that can appreciate a deep intricate movie full of emotion. It's not fast paced but delves deep into the characters and human nature. The ending was fantastic and extremely sad. Give this movie a try if you're into movies that require more of an intellect and feeling for human nature.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ed on July 27, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film shows what a great script and amazing actors can pull off. Penn does an amazing job pulling everything together to project a general feeling of despair. Few films send such a powerful emotion.

David Morse, who I believe makes every movie his is in (Green Mile, Contact, Hearts in Atlantis) much better, puts in an amazing performance as someone whose guilt is unshakable.

Jack of course is a living legend, but this is a performance that really transcends the typical greatness we have come to expect. He really makes you feel a piece of the powerful grief he lives with, and somehow makes you laugh.

Angelica Houston is just about the only actress I have seen steal a scene from someone like Nicholson with such subtlety. One of my favorite scenes is Nicholson and Houston in the dinner. At the conclusion, you can almost feel the door slam on their relationship.

And Robin Wright Penn gives the best performance of her career. Obviously the man and wife relationship helped Penn know how to best play her strengths. The scene when Morse confesses his worst secrets to Wright is amazing. She has few lines, but really shows volumes in her reaction.

I recently watched The Woodsman and felt that Sedgwick also did an amazing job in the same type of scene, but yet went in a completely different direction.

This film is often compared to The Pledge, and rightfully so. In my opinion though, The Crossing Guard is by far a better film. The fact that Penn had to wait until Mystic River to get his Oscar credit is a shame. This movie was overlooked.
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