The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)



Critic Consensus: The heavy-handed narrative collapses under its own weight.

Movie Info

In 1429, a teenage girl from a remote village stood before the world and announced she would defeat the world's greatest army and liberate her country. In began as a small voice in the heart of a simple girl... but the voice grew stronger, rulers were drawn to listen, armies were empowered to fight and her countrymen were inspired to believe.

Rating: R (for strong graphic battles, a rape and language)
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Luc Besson, Andrew Birkin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 30, 2001
Columbia Pictures - Official Site


as Joan of Arc

as Charles VII

as Yolande D'Aragon

as The Conscience

as The Duke of Alencon

as Gilles de Rais

as Comrade

as Bishop

as English Judge No. 1

as English Judge No. 2

as Captain No. 1

as English Judge No. 3

as Nobleman at Rouen's ...

as Captain No. 2

as English Judge No. 4

as Cauchon

as Old Priest

as The Bludgeoned Frenc...

as Domremy's Priest

as Joan's Father

as Vaucouleur's Priest

as Compiegne's Mayor

as Church's Peer--Coron...

as Xaintrailles

as Mary of Anjou's Lady...

as La Tremoille

as Woman at Rouen's Cas...

as Poitiers' Inquisitor

as Church's Peer--Coron...

as The Duke of Bedford

as Cell's Guard

as Duchess of Bedford's...

as Joan's Mother

as Blackbeard

as Senlis' Bishop

as Conscience--Child

as English Guard at Rou...

as Nobleman at Rouen's ...

as Orleans' Priest

as Comrade

as Assessor

as Woman at the Cemeter...

as The Duke of Burgundy

as English Judge

as Church's Peer--Coron...

as Conscience--Young Ma...

as Beaurevoir's Guard

as Poitiers' Inquisitor

as Young Monk

as Rouen's Priest

as The Duchess of Bedfo...

as RedBeard

as The Teeth Soldier

as Regnault De Chartres

as Poitiers' Chief Inqu...

as Scribe at Process

as Young Girl in Bath

as The Executioner/Tort...

as English Judge

as Monk at Coronation

as Louis XI (age 5)

as English Judge

as Richemont

as Dijon's Assistant

as Poitiers' Inquisitor

as English Judge

as Corridor's Guard in ...

as Gamaches

as Young Girl in Bath

as Mary of Anjou

as Captain

as Orleans' Physician

as Joan (age 8)

as Raymond

as English Judge

as Poitiers' Inquisitor
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (25)

Milla Jovovich, who plays Joan, is a young woman who has been unmemorable in several pictures.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
The New Republic
Top Critic

It's hard to recommend it to people who like action and blood because of all the talking; and, because of all the blood, it's hard to recommend it to those who might be interested in the talk.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

The English are uniformly and broadly portrayed as villainous louts, and today's four-letter oaths sound laughably anachronistic.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

What an unholy mess.

January 1, 2000
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic


Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Nothing less than a miracle saved France, The Messenger tells us, and nothing less than a miracle would be needed to rescue this film from itself.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

Luc Besson's The Messenger is a fairly underrated dramatic action film about Joan of Arc. Although not perfect, I found this one to be much better than what most critics have said about it. The film packs action and those scenes are very well done, but in terms of effective storytelling, I felt that the performances were decent, but what really stood out were the battle scenes. In terms of story, this does a good job at telling Joan of Arc's story, but it is not accurate either. The film has the potential of sparking interest in the subject. Milla Jovovich does what she can and she gives a fairly good performance here, but the film overall will never stand out in terms of an epic. In retrospect, there are far better films than this, but The Messenger is still mindless popcorn fair that is fun from start to finish. Of course there are things that seem out of place, but overall, it's definitely not as bad as what I'd think it would be. There are things that could have been improved upon considering its subject, but in the end, it's a fairly accomplished movie that manages to be quite good despite its flaws. If you're going into this film expecting something historically accurate, then you'll be disappointed. Director Luc Besson obviously takes creative liberties with Joan of Arc's story. Go into this one expecting a mindless action drama with an interesting plot, but it is never anything great either. I enjoyed it, but felt it should have been much better. The story had the potential of being truly memorable, and with that being said, The Messenger is good, but the definitive Joan of Arc film has yet to be made.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

When Joan walks into the royal court for the first time to plead her cause, to free France of English poachers, they are already whispering about the peasant girl some claim as a saint. Except for not seeing how she came to be whispered about I really enjoyed Besson's tale (pro-French and anti-Catholic) that underlines how any act of faith is ultimately a dance with self doubt. It may is may not be of importance that Besson and Jovovich were divorcing as this filmed, so you decide.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Luc Besson's mad tale is more of a visual experience than a story.

Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

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