The Brave (film)

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The Brave
The Brave.jpg
Original film poster
Directed byJohnny Depp
Produced byCharles Evans, Jr.
Carroll Kemp
Screenplay byD.P. Depp
Johnny Depp
Paul McCudden
Based onNovel:
Gregory McDonald
StarringJohnny Depp
Marlon Brando
Marshall Bell
Frederic Forrest
Elpidia Carrillo
Music byIggy Pop
CinematographyVilko Filač
Eugene D. Shlugleit
Edited byPasquale Buba
Hervé Schneid
Distributed byMajestic Films International
Release date
May 10, 1997 (Cannes Film Festival)
July 30, 1997 (France)
Running time
123 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$6 million

The Brave is a 1997 independent drama film adapted from the Gregory McDonald novel of the same title. It was directed by and co-written by Johnny Depp.[1] The cast includes Depp and Marlon Brando.[1]

This film was Depp's directorial debut. He co-wrote the screenplay with his brother, directed and acted in it. The film was first shown at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival[2] where it received mixed reviews. The film was released in theaters and on DVD internationally, but not in the United States.[3]


The film concerns a Native American man named Raphael who lives with his wife and two children in a remote community near a rubbish dump selling whatever he can to make a living. Raphael, seeing the hopelessness of his situation and his inability to provide for his family, agrees to star in a snuff film for a large sum of money that he hopes will give his family a chance for a better life.

Having been given the money in advance, Raphael is given a week to live and then return to be tortured and killed in front of the camera. The film follows Raphael's transformation with his relationship with his wife and children over the course of his final week of life and his own personal anguish with his fate.

Cast and characters[edit]


The initial script, written by Paul McCudden and based on a book by Gregory McDonald, attracted interest from Hollywood studios in 1993, despite the dark nature of the story.[4] Disney's Touchstone Pictures eventually picked up the film, and work on it was set to happen at the start of 1994.[4] In December 1993 however, Aziz Ghazal (the first time director from USC film school who was attached to the picture) killed his wife and daughter before committing suicide.[4] His body would not be found by Los Angeles police for over a month.[4] With the director of the film missing and presumed responsible for the murder of his family, Touchstone immediately suspended production.[4]

In spite of this major setback, McCudden and his production partner Charles Evans persisted in trying to get the film made, as they had already invested a substantial amount of their own money into it.[4] In 1994, they were able to convince Johnny Depp to rewrite, direct and produce the film.[4] Depp didn't like the original script, but still took on the project as he was moved by "the idea of sacrifice for family."[4] Depp cast himself in the lead role as a means to attract interest from potential financers.[4] In the end, the film would primarily be financed by Depp himself.[4]


The Brave currently holds an approval rating of 33% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.5 on IMDb. The initial 1997 reviews from American critics were highly negative. Variety for example dismissed the film as "a turgid and unbelievable neo-western."[4] Such reviews led to the decision from Depp to never give The Brave a formal release in the United States, either in theaters or on home video.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b Wallace, Chris (June 28, 2013). "Equal Status, Kemo Sabe Johnny Depp Revises Tonto in 'The Lone Ranger'". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Brave". festival-cannes.com. Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  3. ^ a b Free, Erin. "Movies You Might Not Have Seen: The Brave (1997)". filmink.com.au. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "The Sad, Strange Journey of Johnny Depp's 'The Brave' - latimes". Articles.latimes.com. 1997-05-19. Retrieved 2019-02-06.

External links[edit]