Machine Gun Preacher

2011

Machine Gun Preacher

Critics Consensus

There's a complex man at the center of Machine Gun Preacher but the movie is too shapeless and emotionally vacant to bring his story to life.

27%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 113

62%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 18,352
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Machine Gun Preacher Photos

Movie Info

When ex-biker-gang member Sam Childers (Butler) makes the life-changing decision to go to East Africa to help repair homes destroyed by civil war, he is outraged by the unspeakable horrors faced by the region's vulnerable populace, especially the children. Ignoring the warnings of more experienced aide workers, Sam breaks ground for an orphanage where it's most needed-in the middle of territory controlled by the brutal Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a renegade militia that forces youngsters to become soldiers before they even reach their teens. But for Sam, it is not enough to shelter the LRA's intended victims. Determined to save as many as possible, he leads armed missions deep into enemy territory to retrieve kidnapped children, restoring peace to their lives-and eventually his own. -- (C) Relativity Media

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Cast

Gerard Butler
as Sam Childers
Michelle Monaghan
as Lynn Childers
Ryann Campos
as Page #1
Grant R. Krause
as Billy/Contractor
Reavis Graham
as Pastor Krause
Peter Carey
as Bill Wallace
Barbara Coven
as Shannon Wallace
Misty Mills
as Biker Chick
Nicole Sobchack
as Bartender
Sidi Henderson
as Shaved Head
Mike Litaker
as Drifter
Judy Stepanian
as Employment Woman
Peter Tocco
as Mechanic
Inga Wilson
as Mrs. Shields
Bruce Bennett
as Paul Relling
Steve Blackwood
as Bank Manager
Brett Wagner
as Ben Hobbes/Biker
Ava Schroeder
as Hobbes Daughter
Mandalynn Carlson
as Paige's Friend
David Whitesell
as Customs Officer
Richard Goteri
as Pawn Shop Owner
Claudia Rodgers
as Sue/Volunteer
Michele DeSelms
as Newscaster
Rhema Voraritskul
as Child Singer
Janet Miller
as Church Pianist
Paul Lang
as Prison Clerk
Fana Mokena
as John Carang
Jessica Joffe
as Agnete Closson
Sophie Ayang
as Betty's Helper
Ruley Madriagi
as SPLA Soldier #1
Chris Agwai
as SPLA Soldier #2
Makhaola Ndebele
as SPLA Soldier #3
Jacob Ayuel
as SPLA Dinka Soldier
Tinah Mnumzana
as William's Mother
Themba Ndaba
as William's Father
Kgosi Modisane
as Christopher (12 Years)
Leonard Mahore
as LRA Walking Soldier #1
Warren Masemola
as LRA Commander
Festo Ayume Sanya
as Village Man #1
Jerry Mofokeng
as Administrator
Xolile Gama
as Adult Rebel #1
Masasa Mbangeni
as Lipless Woman
Mandla Gaduka
as SPLA Soldier #1
Marianne Boshof
as Doctor #2
Robert Kuloba
as Male Refugee "Acholi"
Wandile Molebaste
as LRA Commander
Sphelele Mzimela
as LRA Walking Soldier
Tau Maserumula
as LRA Soldier
Sicelo Sithole
as LRA Leader at Bridge
Wandile Mdandla
as Child Rebel #1 at Bridge
Sebo Moabelo
as Child Rebel #2 at Bridge
Dalton Mdaka
as Agnete's Driver
Jabulani Dube
as LRA Soldier at Camp
Motshwane "Jr" Mabogoane
as Riverbed Child #1
Lebogang Phoshoko
as Riverbed Child #2
Kagiso Legoadi
as Green Shorts Boy
Hlelo Nhlapo
as Green Shorts Sister
Neo Qwela
as Boy with Soccer Ball #1
William Ogbonna
as Boy With Soccer Ball #2
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News & Interviews for Machine Gun Preacher

Critic Reviews for Machine Gun Preacher

All Critics (113) | Top Critics (34)

  • Gerard Butler is involving, even charismatic, always plausible as a man of contained and then uncontained violence...

    Nov 4, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Overly preachy and overly long. A missed opportunity.

    Nov 2, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The need to cram in facts and events makes 'Machine Gun Preacher' feel too much like one large and needlessly glossy montage sequence.

    Nov 1, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • In telling a true story, ambiguity can be an asset; but instead of mapping a middle course, director Marc Foster veers between two kinds of falsehoods.

    Oct 7, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The clichés fly like so many spent bullet casings...

    Oct 6, 2011 | Full Review…

    William Goss

    Film.com
    Top Critic
  • What looks on the surface to be yet another inspiring story of one man's salvation turns out to be instead both an examination of modern atrocity and a rethinking of the burden/beauty of belief.

    Sep 30, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Machine Gun Preacher

  • Jul 11, 2013
    Upon his release from prison, Sam Childers(Gerard Butler) wastes no time in getting intimately reacquainted with his wife Lynn(Michelle Monaghan). That does not mean he is not incensed when she informs him that she quit her lucrative stripping job due to a lack of day care and her finding religion, although probably not in that order. His time of reckoning occurs soon enough when he almost kills a man one night in the company of his friend Donnie(Michael Shannon). Having found religion, the rest of Sam's life soon follows, as he finds steady work and then runs a successful construction business. So, he decides to go to Uganda to build schools where he meets Deng(Souleymane Sy Savane), a resistance fighter from Sudan. To its credit, "Machine Gun Preacher" does have a certain cornball charm, mostly due to Gerard Butler in the lead and the fact that Michelle Monaghan can do little wrong. While this is clearly meant to be an inspiring tale of redemption and thus should be given its due respect, coupling Sam's personal journey with a tornado and genocide is perhaps a bit too much. The movie also never gets that deep in exploring Sam's contradictions nor maybe that he is not completely a new man since he has not renounced violence and the possibility that he has just exchanged one drug for another.(Remember what Marx said about religion.) The movie does have some good thoughts on American affluence compared to the rest of the world and bringing more attention to the genocide in Darfur is always worthy(the movie does everything short of putting a 800 number on the screen). But it should also be remembered that one man cannot do everything or be everywhere, no matter how much Sam might think otherwise.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 06, 2013
    Somewhat in the veins of Blood Diamond, this one fared well enough for me, though not as good as Blood Diamond. The cast gave excellent performance, and the execution was good enough to restrain it from becoming too preachy. Being too loud, I didn't like the Hallelujah parts.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Jan 26, 2013
    Real life stories make for some very good films. Now I've had reservations about seeing Machine Gun Preacher due to the fact that Gerard Butler has made a few duds over the last few years, and his last good films were Gamer and Law Abiding Citizen. For Machine Gun Preacher, Butler goes back to a more serious role as Sam Childers. The film focuses on Childers life and how he went from a criminal to someone trying to find salvation by helping others in need. Childers went to Sudan to help children that were orphaned due to civil war. Although not a flawless film, Machine Gun Preacher is a worthwhile film that is in my opinion quite underrated. Gerard Butler delivers a strong and powerful performance that is quite possibly the best of his career. The film is a mix of action and drama, and director Marc Forster does a good job with the material to capture Childers's life, but considering that he had such a unique life, the film could have been a bit better as well. In terms of a good biopic, this tells a compelling story and it is well acted. Butler redeems himself with this role due to the fact that he played in a few boring and unimpressive chick flicks. I very much enjoyed the film, but there were a few areas where the film could have been better. However there are enough good elements to make this one worth seeing. The film is very good, and is quite eye opening as well. As a whole, it is a flawed film but it is a well executed action drama that delivers something memorable.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Aug 08, 2012
    A decent film based on the life of Sam Childers. A good performance from Butler playing Sam who seems to hit rock bottom, rises up when he finds God and has plenty more ups and downs at home and in Africa as he tries to help the children of Sudan.
    Dean K Super Reviewer

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