Crossing Guard

Overview

Sean Penn wrote and directed this tale of loss, guilt, and revenge. The daughter of Freddy and Mary Gale Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston was killed by a drunk driver, John Booth David Morse. The death of their child took a heavy toll on the Gales; their marriage broke up, and, while Mary has remarried and attempted to put her life back together, Freddy has become an embittered alcoholic, seething with directionless rage and searching for a purpose in life. Freddy intends to kill Booth as soon as he's released ...
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Overview

Sean Penn wrote and directed this tale of loss, guilt, and revenge. The daughter of Freddy and Mary Gale Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston was killed by a drunk driver, John Booth David Morse. The death of their child took a heavy toll on the Gales; their marriage broke up, and, while Mary has remarried and attempted to put her life back together, Freddy has become an embittered alcoholic, seething with directionless rage and searching for a purpose in life. Freddy intends to kill Booth as soon as he's released from prison, as he believes that jail was not a severe enough punishment for his daughter's death. But Freddy discovers that Booth is still wracked with guilt for his crime and can barely live with himself. He tells Booth that he has three days left to live; Booth tries to find solace in the arms of artist Jojo Robin Wright, while Freddy continues to wallow in alcohol and self-pity at a strip club. The Crossing Guard also features an original song by Bruce Springsteen; Penn's previous directorial outing, The Indian Runner, was loosely based on a Springsteen song from his album Nebraska.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Sean Penn's occasionally preachy, but ultimately complicated and challenging, take on the repercussions of drunk driving, both for the victims and the offenders, is a dark study in anguish and redemption. Talented actors were clearly eager to work with the mercurial second-time director, and Penn gets harrowing performances out of Jack Nicholson and Angelica Huston, as well as a touchingly chastened one from David Morse as the paroled drunk driver. A simpler film would have demonized Morse as an unrepentant sinner, but Penn is more interested in shades of gray in this brooding look at characters who have randomly developed a regrettable relationship with each other. In fact, Nicholson, as the grieving father, is the film's most unbalanced and least sympathetic element, while the halo above Morse's head is almost visible. The lingering impact on all of their lives is achingly rendered, and Penn deserves credit for dramatizing the festering anger and resentment rather than the predictable hopeless sadness that would have dominated had the narrative started right after the accident. Some critics chided Penn for choosing an issue more commonly befitting an after-school special, but the deep performances excuse the topical subject matter, and the execution hints at Penn's promise beyond the field of acting, which he apparently dislikes.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/10/2011
  • UPC: 096009756697
  • Original Release: 1995
  • Rating:

  • Source: Miramax Echo Bridge
  • Time: 1:51:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Nicholson Freddy Gale
David Morse John Booth
Anjelica Huston Mary
Robin Wright Jojo
Robin Wright Jojo
Piper Laurie Helen Booth
Richard Bradford John Booth's father
Michael Abelar Bum
Penny Allen Woman on Bus
David Baerwald Peter
Priscilla Barnes Verna
Jeremiah Birkett Jefferey's Boyfriend
Nicky Blair Himself
Joseph Bottoms
Hadda Brooks Piano Player
Buddy Anderson Buddy
Bobby Cooper Coop
Lisa Crawford Cop
Angie Dickinson
Erin Dignam Peter's Guest 1
Dr. William Dignam Crossing Guard
Christel Ehde Dancer
Dennis "Chicago" Fanning Cop
Elizabeth Gilliam Little Asian Girl
Ryo Ishabashi Jefferey
Dr. Edward L. Katz Eddie
Gene Kirkwood Swinger
Jay Koiwai Asian Man
Jason Kristofer Bus Passenger
Ruby McKoy Deputy Sheriff
Randy Meadoff Bus Passenger
Karen Medak
Daysi Moreno Freddy's Chicana
Jeff Morris Silas
Hanna Newmaster Little Girl
Leo Penn
Kamala Petty Dancer
Robbie Robertson Roger
Michael Ryan Twin Boy
Matthew Ryan Twin Boy
Eileen Ryan Woman in Shop
Richard Sarafian Sunny Ventura
John Savage Bobby
Millicent Sheridan Dancer
Grant Show Jake Hanson
Kellita Smith Tanya
Joi Travers Dancer
Joe Viterelli Joe at Bar
Lindsay Wagner
Jennifer Leigh Warren Jennifer
Kari Wuhrer Mia
Technical Credits
Sean Penn Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Jay Lash Cassidy Editor
Richard N. Gladstein Executive Producer
Per Hallberg Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Haller Production Designer
David Shamroy Hamburger Producer
Jack Nitzsche Score Composer, Songwriter
Jill M. Ohanneson Costumes/Costume Designer
Don Phillips Casting
Mario Roberts Stunts
Bruce Springsteen Score Composer
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer
Vilmos Zsigmond Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Crossing Guard
1. The Parents [10:42]
2. Freedom [3:23]
3. Great News [9:37]
4. Commitments [8:15]
5. Three Days [7:00]
6. Lashing Out [10:57]
7. Paying Respects [4:15]
8. Dreamland [8:33]
9. Lack of Emotion [4:06]
10. Guilt [4:14]
11. Freddy and Mia [7:51]
12. Backfire [6:22]
13. Traffic Stop [5:41]
14. Exhausted [7:42]
15. A New Dawn [12:02]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Crossing Guard
   Play
   Chapters
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