more trailers The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

Dustin Hoffman appears as The ConscienceAulon, Charles VII, de Chartres and TremoilleDesmond Harrington and Amber Valletta at event of The Messenger: The Story of Joan of ArcDirector Luc BessonJoan enters battleMilla Jovovich as Joan

A young girl receives a vision that drives her to rid France of its oppressors.

Release Year: 1999

Rating: 6.3/10 (31,804 voted)

Critic's Score: 54/100

Director: Luc Besson

Stars: Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Rab Affleck

In 1412, a young girl called Jeanne is born in Domrémy, France. The times are hard: The Hunderd Years war with England has been going on since 1337, English knights and soldiers roam the country. Jeanne develops into a very religious young woman, she confesses several times a day. At the age of 13, she has her first vision and finds a sword. When coming home with it, she finds the English leveling her home town. Years after that, in 1428, she knows her mission is to be ridding France of the English and so sets out to meet Charles, the Dauphin. In his desperate military situation, he welcomes all help and gives the maiden a chance to prove her divine mission. After the successful liberation of Orléans and Reims, the Dauphin can be crowned traditionally in the cathedral of Reims - and does not need her anymore, since his wishes are satisfied. Jeanne d'Arc gets set up in his trap and is imprisoned by the Burgundians...

Writers: Andrew Birkin, Luc Besson

Rab Affleck - Comrade
Stéphane Algoud - Look Out (as Stephane Algoud)
Edwin Apps - Bishop
David Bailie - English Judge
David Barber - English Judge
Christian Barbier - Captain
Timothy Bateson - English Judge
David Begg - Nobleman - Rouen's Castle
Christian Bergner - Captain
Andrew Birkin - Talbot
Dominic Borrelli - English Judge
John Boswall - Old Priest
Matthew Bowyer - The Bludgeoned French Soldier
Paul Brooke - Domremy's Priest
Bruce Byron - Joan's Father

Release Date: 12 November 1999

Filming Locations: Bruntal, Czech Republic

Box Office Details

Budget: FRF 390,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $6,360,968 (USA) (14 November 1999) (2147 Screens)

Gross: $66,976,317 (Worldwide) (May 2000)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | USA:

Did You Know?

Kathryn Bigelow refused to direct when Luc Besson insisted that Milla Jovovich, his wife at the time, played the lead.

Anachronisms: When the English first see the army arrive on the far side of the river at Orleans just after Joan's first victory, you can see car tracks in the dirt of the shore.

La Hire: I swear those Goddamned bloody English will pay for this.
Joan of Arc: They will. And so will you, if you don't stop swearing!

User Review

Inspired by...?


There are many deviations from the accepted facts of Jeanne d'Arc's life as set out in her trial documentation and the writings of the time. This said, the central question of whether she was a saint, an inspired lunatic, wholly mentally ill, or simply a headstrong girl determined to grab her chances while she could is well asked. Many of the comments here assert that Besson makes it clear that the Maid was simply mentally ill, yet I read the film as deeply ambivalent about what was going on. Were her visions the hallucinations of a schizophrenic? Were they given by God? What's the difference? More questions are asked: Why does an omnipotent, omniscient, all-compassionate deity allow terrible things to happen? What is the meaning of kingship - to own or to serve? What is the difference between taking the lives of individuals and killing en masse? What's the difference between Christianity and the earthly institutions of that religion? Where does conviction end and fanaticism begin?

Jovavich's Jeanne is plagued by the difference between her idea of utter submission to God and the consequences of doing so; by doubt over the veracity of her visions; and by the gap between her ideals of the divine rights of kings and realpolitik. She is constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown - is this a manifestation of her mental illness, or of her "burning for God"? And where's the difference between the two?

The film raises more questions than it answers, and that's as it should be. It is something of a shame that Besson's film takes liberties with the facts as we understand them (though history is more often about our interpretation of events than the events themselves), but in terms of raising important questions on the nature of faith, it succeeds beyond measure.