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The Apostle (1998)



Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 7,891

My Rating

Movie Info

Devout Pentecostal preacher Eulis "Sonny" Dewey (Robert Duvall) of New Boston, Texas, has a lovely wife (Farrah Fawcett) and two children. But not only has Jessie been cheating on him with a younger minister, Horace (Todd Allen), she has pulled a few strings to gain control of his church. Sonny goes into a violent rage, attacking Horace with a bat during a softball game. With Horace in a coma, Sonny leaves town on a bus, headed east for a new life. He changes his name to E.F., baptizing himself



Robert Duvall

Aug 18, 1998

New Films International

Watch It Now



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All Critics (69) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (4) | DVD (2)

A labor of love coming to fruition after 13 years, this is Robert Duvall's third and best directorial effort, a sharply observed exploration of a preacher who embarks on a redemption odyssey after committing a crime.

February 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Shocking in its unbridled, electrifying energy and raw emotion.

March 31, 2009 Full Review Source:

I cannot recall a movie so dominated by the performance of one actor (Robert Duvall) as this one.

August 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Houston Community Newspapers
Houston Community Newspapers

Some kind of acting miracle ... One doesn't have to be a churchgoer, or even a Christian, to be moved by the power of Duvall's great performance.

August 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

... may be the most unapologetic, intimate portrayal of a religious man in the history of American cinema.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Looking Closer
Looking Closer

As the charismatic Sonny, Duvall brilliantly shouts the praises of Jesus.

July 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

There are scattered inspired moments throughout this two-and-a-half hour epic but, like many actor-directors, Duvall is so in love with his material -- and his star -- that he just can't say 'cut.'

July 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette | Comment (1)
Kalamazoo Gazette

Disturbing but thought-provoking depiction of genuine faith coexisting with sin and carnality… like the troubling fiction of Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, and Flannery O'Connor, a vindication of belief without being a vindication of every believer.

July 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

Robert Duvall, writer, director, producer, and star of The Apostle, absolutely seethes with the character of Sonny Dewey (alias Apostle E.F.) in this, perhaps the best performance of his career.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

It's a sin to miss 'The Apostle.'

August 2, 2002 Full Review Source: ReelTalk Movie Reviews
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Nobody's perfect, but this movie's pretty darned close in its subtle telling of a Godly man from the south on his quest for conviction.

August 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Movie Views

...introduces one of the most complex and naturalistic characters ever to appear on screen.

July 31, 2002 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

A highly engaging drama about the fall and redemption of a Pentecostal preacher from Texas.

March 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Oscar-winning actor Robert Duvall has directed, produced, and wrote what very well may be the most intensifying, gut-wrenching, powerful and complexed movies that has hit the big screen in ages

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

This is great performance, but alas, not a great movie.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Duvall's integrity and intelligence shine through his movie and his performance.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Earnest and often moving account of one man's struggle for redemption

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Walking away from The Apostle, I felt renewed and reborn...

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Duvall has created a work that tries to be more than entertaining, reaching to be a more artistic film.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Apostle

an interesting study on the nature of spiritual authority and moral bankruptcy. duval is amazing, and the film covers its subject matter very well. as a pastor, its interesting to see how this character study correlates with the biblical qualifications for ministers and how far away from those qualifications a person can get and still convince people to follow them.
September 30, 2011
danny d

Super Reviewer

This film was very much a personal project and great labor of love for it's writer, director, executive producer, and star Robert Duvall. Not onlt that, but it is an excellent film and a tremendous character study that is deeply moving and powerful. There are non-Pentecostal Christians (and even some atheists) who love and enjoy this film. That really says something.

The story concerns a devout and fired up southern Pentecostal preacher from Dallas named "Sonny" Dewey whose life falls apart, and he deals with it in not the best way for a man of his sort. He then leaves his old life behind and reinvents himself in the town of Bayou Boutte, Louisiana as the Apostle E F as he goes on a quest to rebuild his life and find redemption.

As a filmmaker, Duvall isn't bad. I mean, given how long he'd been in the business, it figures that he should have some sort of knowledge about the craft of filmmaking. That said though, the film is not perfect. It has a generous run time, and some of the scenes are really stretched out. What he lacks in strong narrative skills he makes up for with a brilliant performance and some terrific mise-en-scene. Even though it does run long, the dragged out scenes allow for more breathing room for the characters and themes.

Besides Duvall, the film is filled with many terrific performances from professionals and nonprofessionals alike. Beasley has a great rapport with Duvall as a fellow preacher who helps him get his new life going, and Goggins, despite maybe getting a too melodramatic towards the end, is also quite fine. Fawcett, Richardson, Thornton and Cash all deliver some important (though briefer than others) supporting parts as well. The actors all embody their characters well, and help due justice to the world being portrayed here.

I myself am a Catholic, but have a friend who is from the same world as Sonny. He has told me several times that he loves this movie, and that it gives a very accurate and fair portrayal of these types of people and believers. Having witnessed stuff like this for myself (despite my Catholicism), I can believe it. This film, though taking a side, presents these types of preachers and their congregations in a realistic, sensible, and three-dimensional manner.

The music, cinematography, all the sets, costumes, and setting are great, and this film is excellent entertainment. It has a great and powerful message, and presents some fascinating material in a way which encourages belief instead of mocking or condemning it. Definitely go out and give this a watch.
August 14, 2011
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

What a beginning, and what an end! Robert Duvall doesn't hold back as the evangelical preacher. It seems like caricature at first, but he sustains the flailing, the stamping, the "Holy Ghost Power"-ing, that even this crusty atheist couldn't help but be moved at Sonny's last hurrah.
January 14, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Eulis "Sonny" Dewey/The Apostle E.F.: Holy Ghost power!
    – Submitted by Jesse K (22 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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