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The Prophecy
The Prophecy
Actors: Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Viggo Mortensen
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
R     1999     1hr 38min

Big-screen favorite Christopher Walken (PULP FICTION, BATMAN RETURNS) heads an all-star cast in this chilling and suspenseful thriller! At the scene of a bizarre murder, L.A. homicide detective Thomas Dagget (Elias Koteas ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Viggo Mortensen
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Dimension
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 02/09/1999
Original Release Date: 09/01/1995
Theatrical Release Date: 09/01/1995
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 1hr 38min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
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Member Movie Reviews

Craig S. (InnerMacro) from WAUSAU, WI
Reviewed on 3/24/2022...
There are two main reasons why this film has become a cult classic spawning 4 sequels. The first is the well-done combination of Christian faith and biblical reference with Native American mysticism as a unified statement on the power of faith and the triumph of good over evil. The interesting take on angels and post-modern interpretation of the Old Testament and Jewish Kabbalah was very fresh for the 1990s and set into motion many imitators to follow. The second reason was Walken's performance as archangel Gabriel. Viggo Mortenson as Lucifer is an added bonus.
Keith A. (Keefer522)
Reviewed on 1/6/2014...
Christopher Walken's darkly funny turn as Gabriel, the Angel of Death, is the highlight of this otherwise lukewarm religious horror/thriller about a war between rival factions of Angels that comes to an end in a small Arizona town, with a former priest turned cop caught in the middle.
Not terrible, not great, just "Meh."
Apparently there are four (!!) sequels to this movie; I think I'll pass on those.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Robert G. (rural631) from SPRINGFIELD, MO
Reviewed on 7/25/2010...
One of my favorite horror movies... Lucifer (Viggo Mortensen) to Thomas: "How I loved listening to your sweet prayers every night. Then you'd jump in your bed. So afraid I was under there. And I Was!!!" Christopher Walken and Viggo Mortensen were great in this.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Quirky and deliciously mean
M. J. Walters | Chicago, IL USA | 01/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I was predisposed to like "The Prophecy" thanks to a kink for angels which I developed some years ago. The current obsession with sugar-spun angels makes me gag and I'd just about given up on them as messengers of the worst God has to offer mankind - in the context of the bible, at least, the appearance of an angel is, about 99% of the time, reason to hide under the bed until the screaming stops - until I saw this film. My faith has been renewed. In this film, they're horrible creatures but gloriously arrogant and beautiful. Even the ones who are on God's side don't like us very much Christopher Walken, looking as pared-down as I've ever seen him look, gives a quirky performance as usual, as Gabriel, the angel of death who "smashes in the heads of babies while their mamas watch." This isn't a guy you want perching on your hospital bed or talking to your kids, because no matter what the message, it's not going to make you happy. And yet, Walken conveys a lot of humor in Gabriel who is seen letting school children try to blow his trumpet. One child succeeds in coaxing a note out of it and the windows of the school explode in a very funny reference to Gabriel's horn sounding the notes that herald the Apocalypse. By the end of the film, when Thomas (nice touch, that name, linking this failed priest to Thomas the Doubter.) says to Gabriel "Why didn't you just ASK God?" and Gabriel replies, "He doesn't talk to me any more." I wanted to weep for him. Stoltz...well he's never been a favorite of mine, but he was good here; not nearly as low-key and passive as usual. His turn as the angel Simon (I thought I heard him called "Samael" once, a name which makes more sense in context.) was done with just the right amount of off-hand humor to make him a good foil for Walken. Despite his position as upholder of God's will, Simon is not a nice guy, and you get the feeling that if there had been no reason to care about humans, Simon would have disposed of them as cheerfully as Gabriel does. Elias Koteas as Thomas and Virginia Madsen as Katherine, do well as always, but seem hampered by dialogue which occasionally thuds. The angels have all the best lines, the angels and the little girl, Mary, who does a good job with a thankless role. Amanda Plummer is given almost nothing to do as a dying...well, to be honest, a dead woman who is hijacked along the way to drive Gabriel around the Southwest in search of the soul he needs. Ms. Plummer is usually so cheerfully over-the-top that this role seemed like a sad waste of her peculiar talents. I can't help but wonder if there isn't a lot more of this film lying around someplace. The real star turn, though, is by Viggo Mortensen as Satan - an angel both blindingly unpleasant and ravishingly seductive - once beloved above all else in Heaven. Boy, does it show. His Satan is a spoiled brat: vindictive, jealous and rude. He has no compunctions about invading personal space and wrapping himself, snakelike, around whoever he's talking to. He's unrelenting in his search for souls, and even at the end, he's not content simply to take his victory and go home. The plot is a little thin; I have a hard time believing that the soul they were searching for was the most evil soul on earth, though there is some indication that the intention was to present the man as an incarnation of a Sin-Eater. In effect, Heywood has absorbed all the evil of his victims who in their turn absorbed all the evil of their victims and so forth. The writing is often cumbersome and fairly shouts "B MOVIE, B MOVIE!" in spots. But I rather liked the effects; they were quirky and surprisingly low-key. There isn't much gore, yet you remember the violence because it strikes at some internal chord. The audience isn't dazzled by great light and magic shows, but it is treated to some fairly memorable images such as Satan dissolving into a flock of ravens, or a cave wall covered with angelic script which, when touched, produces something like a video of the war in heaven. Complete with a field littered with dead and dying angels and some impaled on spikes it is an echo of Heywood's war crimes in Korea. In fact, the effects are generally more painterly than cinematic, and the vast, strange landscapes are often right out of paintings by Gustave Doré, or reminiscent of Goya's works. This is what I call a "face movie." It presents us with a lot of strange and wonderful faces, not just the usual in bland, Hollywood prettiness. They're part of the landscape, too, they give the film richness and depth that it might not have had with more conventional casting. Flawed but interesting. Worth your time."
The Prophecy does not disappoint
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 07/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Just before The Prophecy was released, there was a lot of excitement about it in certain circles I was a part of. That excessive hype led to my initial disappointment with the movie. Over time, though, as I have watched it over again a time or two, my appreciation of the film has grown. Biblical prophecy and apocalyptic discourses are fascinating to me, and this movie plays off of some of the more far-fetched ideas in the realm of speculation. As the movie opens, we see Thomas Daggett lose his faith in God at the very moment in which he was to be confirmed as a priest; his loss of faith is interestingly a result of having been shown too much of heaven rather than too little. The movie then jumps to the present, where Daggett is a police detective investigating the death of a man-like enigma with no eyes and fetus-like cell structure. We have already seen how this being attacked the angel Simon and lost the fight. The injuries Simon sustains in the struggle upsets his plans, plans which consist of retrieving the soul of the recently deceased most evil man on earth before "the enemy" seizes that soul for their continuing nefarious purposes. Before Simon dies, he gives the soul to a young Indian girl named Mary, and the plot revolves around the enemy's attempts to retrieve the black soul from her and the efforts of Daggett, Mary's teacher, and a medicine man to release the black soul from within Mary's body. The enemy, as Daggett learns by translating a Bible found on the body of the initial victim, is none other than the archangel Gabriel. An unknown 23rd chapter of Revelation in the ancient Bible describes a second war going on in heaven, a war led by the archangel Gabriel who refuses to bow down to the "monkeys" of humanity whom God gave souls and thus elevated above the angels. This is not a "Left Behind" type of story about the end times; it is a saga of the second war in heaven, a war among God's angels themselves. Naturally, such a conflict cannot end without the original fallen angel Lucifer involving himself in the action, and all of this makes for a quite satisfying conclusion to the movie.This movie is blessed with terrific acting. Christopher Walken in particular delivers a powerful portrayal of the tortured archangel Gabriel. There are some pretty good special effects, particularly those showing the horrors of the fighting among the angels in heaven itself. Most religious individuals should have no real problems with The Prophecy because it never portrays itself as representing some kind of truth or challenges its viewers' own beliefs. While the movie has its flaws, it succeeds in presenting a problematical storyline with the required seriousness it requires in order to be effective. It is also improved by small bits of humor along the way, such as Gabriel's dislike for human tears and his inability to drive a car. This is definitely a must-see for Christopher Walken fans."
Plot Problems but Wonderful Acting
Lisa Shea | 06/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"You can tell pretty quickly in this film that Gregory Widen, the man who shot Highlander, also shot this film. It involves a number of great actors, a really bizarre premise, and some great landcapes and characters. In both movies you have to agree to suspend your disbelief about the plot, and just enjoy the power that each actor puts into his or her role.

Here's the basic summary. Angels are not the Renaissance golden-haired glowy, friendly creatures that DaVinci conned us into believing in. Re-read your Bible. Angels were the holders of swords of flame. Angels were the ones out there slicing down the non-believers and killing by the thousands. They were a fierce army. Unknown to mankind, many angels were pretty grumpy when Jesus died on the cross and in essence elevated mankind over the angels. The angels felt betrayed, ignored by God. It's like when Mom came home with a new baby brother and suddenly the new baby was the one getting all the attention. The angels were the older sibling, about to throw a temper tantrum.

Fast forward to modern times. You have an ex-priest-wannabe-turned-cop Thomas, played by Elias Koteas, who starts to get called in on some strange cases. Turns out the dead guy they find is a hermaphrodite, is carrying a 2nd century Bible and is branded with the mark of an angel. The trail leads to Simon, another angel, who is trying to help keep a "really evil soul" from Gabriel (Christopher Walken). Gabriel wants this evil soul to help him storm heaven, to make God pay for turning His back on all the angels. Simon gets his hands on the soul in question, but with Gabriel hot on his heels, he has to hide it somewhere. He puts it into a Native American girl's body.

Soon we have a showdown betwee Thomas, Gabriel, the young girl, her tribe, and of course Lucifer, played by Viggo Mortensen. It comes down not to a fist battle, but to a theological argument - how Gabriel looks down on all of us "monkey boys" but is insanely jealous that God will not talk to him any more.

So there are many plot problems here. With the war going on for 2,000 years, they are saying that the prophecy of the worst soul of all was some Korean War guy that just died?? Because he resorted to cannibalism?? Heck, I'm sure we can name many people who became cannibals in desperate times. They're pretty sure the Pilgrims did that when they were all freezing / starving to death. It's sad, but if you're about to die, you make some not-so-sane (or maybe sane depending on your point of view) decisions. Surely if they wanted the Ultimate Evil they could have gone for Hitler ... or one of his scientists ... or how about Pol Pot and slaying 2 million people? Some small time cannibal is the worst they could get?

Then, we have Simon walking into a church to an open casket coffin and taking the soul. Do they really leave coffins open all night long in churches? When Simon took the soul, he really had NO plan at all of what he was going to do, knowing he was injured, and just randomly decided to stick it in this girl? The village had many 30 people in it total. Even if Gabriel had to slay everyone in the village to make sure he got to the soul, it didn't seem like much of a problem for Gabriel. He rather would enjoy that.

However, like I said, plot isn't a big thing here. The characters are. Christopher Walken is EXCELLENT as Gabriel, once the shining boy of God, now cut off from the voice. He's eternally young, powerful, and good at manipulation. He believes completely in his right to power and is just so incredibly weary of stupid little monkey-people screwing things up. That all being said - he can't drive?? Surely sometime since cars were invented he could have learned.

Elias is great as Thomas, the doubter who slowly regains his faith. Virginia Madsen (Sideways fame) does well as the schoolmarm who sticks up for Mary, the young girl. Mary really puts in a chilling performance as a once-innocent girl who becomes possessed with the soul of a calculating soldier.

I really enjoyed Lucifer when he showed up at the end of the movie. He perches like a gargoyle, looking down at all of us squirming humans. But he doesn't come across as evil - oh no. Everything the Bible says is that Lucifer is handsome, seductive, oh so compelling. He tells us things we want to believe. In fact it's hard to resist him. In the movie, Viggo slides around the people he talks to, circling them like a snake, moving in close. He wants you to trust him ... he says he doesn't want another Hell, he wants to be the sole ruler. He's going to HELP the humans. If they just trust him.

This isn't really a spoiler, since the movie is rather transparent from start to finish, but I was REALLY disappointed that Lucifer's aims were so straightforward. He is above all a deceiver. So what did the plot do? They put him in where he told the truth, people believed him, did what he said and it all worked out. It was a real let down! Viggo did such a great job with the smooth, "beautiful", ultimate power of Lucifer that I was waiting for his dialogue to all be a complex set-up to deceive the people. Instead, nope, he just walks away and turns into a cloud of blackbirds, much like many other movies on this topic.

Still, again, the plot has holes. You just deal with it. There really is a lot of beauty in the storyTELLING - from the landscapes people go across, to the looks in the actors eyes in various scenes. It really is quite telling that some angels have no eyes when they are found - and that other scenes focus in on the eyes as the window to the soul. Since, after all, that is what the movie is all about."