The Apostle (1998)


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Robert Duvall gives a tour de force performance as a zealous Pentecostal preacher hiding from his past while resurrecting the spirit of his adopted Louisiana bayou town. It's an all-Duvall show; he wrote it, directed it, produced it and even paid for it.

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Robert Duvall
as Eulis "Sonny" Dewey/The Apostle E.F., Sonny Dewey/The Apostle E.F.
Farrah Fawcett
as Jessie Dewey
Todd Allen
as Horace
John Beasley
as Brother Blackwell
June Carter Cash
as Mrs. Dewey Sr.
Billy Bob Thornton
as Troublemaker
Mary Lynette Braxton
as Mother Blackwell
Zelma Loyd
as Sister Johnson
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Critic Reviews for The Apostle

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (11)

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.

Feb 18, 2006 | Rating: 4/5
Top Critic

"The Apostle" is like a lesson in how movies can escape from convention and penetrate the hearts of rare characters.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Shocking in its unbridled, electrifying energy and raw emotion.

Mar 31, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

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

Aug 13, 2007 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

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.

Aug 21, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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

Jan 15, 2005 | Rating: A+ | Full Review…

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.

danny d
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.

Chris Weber
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.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer


Financed, produced, directed and starring Oscar-winner Robert Duvall, this film is a down-home yet very grittty at times story of a disgraced preacher on the run from the police after beating his soon-to-be ex-wife's new boyfriend with a baseball bat at a baseball game. He makes it down to Louisiana and starts a new life and new church with help from a retired pastor and some locals. Eventually, though, the law catches up with him at the end. Excellent performance by Duvall - one of his best - with a pretty good commentary track included as an extra.

Derek Daniels
Derek Daniels

Super Reviewer

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