Released on October 19, 2007, the film was well-received by critics and grossed $34.6 million worldwide against its $19 million budget. Ben Affleck was named Breakthrough Filmmaker of year by many critics awards, and Amy Ryan received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Boston P.I. Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and his partner/girlfriend Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) witness a televised plea by a woman named Helene McCready (Amy Ryan) for the return of her missing daughter Amanda, who was abducted with her favorite doll "Mirabelle". Patrick and Angie are then hired by the child's aunt Beatrice (Amy Madigan) to find Amanda. Using his connections in the Boston crime underground, Patrick discovers that Helene and her boyfriend "Skinny Ray" (Sean Malone) were drug mules for a local Haitian drug lord named Cheese (Edi Gathegi) and had recently stolen over $130,000 from him. After tracking down Ray and discovering he has been murdered by Cheese's men, Patrick and Angie join police detectives Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Poole (John Ashton) in investigating the case. Patrick meets with Cheese and tries to negotiate the return of Cheese's stolen money for Amanda, but Cheese initially denies his involvement in the girl's disappearance. Police Captain Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman) later reads Patrick a telephone transcript of the drug lord calling into the station to set up an exchange for Amanda. The exchange at a nearby quarry in Quincy is botched after a gunfight breaks out, killing Cheese and his men. It is believed that Amanda fell in the quarry and drowned in the confusion; her doll is retrieved from the water and returned to Helene. Doyle, whose own daughter was killed years before, takes responsibility for the death and goes into early retirement following public outcry over the mishap.
Two months later, a seven-year-old boy is abducted in Everett and Patrick receives information that the boy was taken by a known child molester. After entering the suspect's house and finding evidence of the abducted boy, Patrick returns with Remy and Nick late at night to rescue him. A shootout ensues with the residents and Nick is lethally wounded. Patrick enters the house and finds the boy's dead body; he then shoots the surrendering child molester in the back of the head in a fit of rage. Trying to alleviate Patrick's guilt, Remy confides that he once planted evidence on someone with the help of "Skinny Ray" — whom he had initially told Patrick he didn't know. After Nick's funeral, Patrick speaks to a police officer, who tells him that Remy had been asking about the drug lord's stolen money before the drug lord knew it was missing. Patrick then questions Beatrice's husband Lionel (Titus Welliver) in a bar and pieces together that Lionel and Remy had conspired to stage a fake kidnapping in order to take the drug money for themselves and to teach Amanda's neglectful mother Helene a lesson. At that point, Remy (trying to cover for his earlier mistake) enters the bar wearing a latex mask and holding a shotgun, staging a robbery to interrupt the conversation. Patrick realizes Remy plans to kill him and Lionel to keep them quiet, but the bartender shoots Remy twice in the back. Remy flees and is pursued by Patrick to the rooftop of a nearby building, where he succumbs to his wounds.
Patrick is questioned by the police about Remy's death and learns that the police never had a phone transcript like the one that Doyle had read to him prior to the botched exchange. The police dismiss his claims of Remy's corruption as conspiracy theory and Patrick does not press the issue further. Patrick and Angie drive to Doyle's home, where Patrick finds Amanda alive and well living with Doyle and his wife. Doyle was part of the phony kidnapping all along and helped set up the fake exchange to frame Cheese and throw Patrick off the scent. Patrick threatens to call the authorities, but Doyle attempts to convince him that Amanda is better off living with them than with her neglectful mother, and that is reason enough not to get involved. Patrick leaves and discusses the choices with Angie, who says she will leave him if he calls the police, since she also believes Amanda is much better off with the Doyles. However, Patrick believes Amanda's mother can change and she shouldn't be denied her child, so he calls the police; Doyle and Lionel are arrested, Amanda is returned to her mother amidst heavy publicity, and Patrick and Angie break up.
Patrick later visits Amanda as Helene is about to leave on a date with someone she met during the publicity over her daughter's disappearance. Helene informs Patrick that Beatrice has been forbidden to visit and is upset about her husband's arrest. Helene has no babysitter for Amanda and when asked, she tells Patrick that Helene's friend, Dottie (Jill Quigg) will watch her, even though she has yet to ask Dottie herself. Patrick volunteers to watch Amanda, who is holding her old doll and watching television. Patrick asks Amanda about Mirabelle, only to hear Amanda inform him that her doll's name is "Annabelle" — implying that Helene did not even know the name of her daughter's favorite toy.Casey Affleck – Patrick KenzieMichelle Monaghan – Angie GennaroMorgan Freeman – Captain Jack DoyleEd Harris – Detective Sergeant Remy BressantJohn Ashton – Detective Nick PooleAmy Ryan – Helene McCreadyMadeline O'Brien – Amanda McCreadyAmy Madigan – Beatrice "Bea" McCreadyTitus Welliver – Lionel McCreadySlaine – Bubba RogowskiEdi Gathegi – CheeseMark Margolis – Leon TrettMichael K. Williams – DevinJill Quigg – Dottie
Filming took place on site in Boston (mainly South Boston) and extras were often local passers-by. Other locations used include the former Quincy Quarries.
Released on October 19, 2007, the film grossed $20.3 million in the U.S. and Canada and $14.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $34.6 million against its $19 million budget.
The UK release was originally set for December 28, 2007, but was pushed back to June 6, 2008, due to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The Malaysian release was originally set for September 20, 2007, but was postponed to March 27, 2008, due to the kidnapping and murder of eight-year-old Nurin Jazlin.
The film garnered a positive reception from critics and audiences. The movie won an assortment of awards, including Best First Film for Ben Affleck from the Austin Film Critics Association. As of April 25, 2014, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported 94% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 173 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10. The critical consensus states that "Ben Affleck proves his directing credentials in this gripping dramatic thriller, drawing strong performances from the excellent cast and bringing working-class Boston to the screen." The review aggregator Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 72 out of 100, based on 34 reviews.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone raved "The brothers Affleck both emerge triumphant in this mesmerizing thriller," while the New York Post called it "a twisty, morally ambiguous and satisfying neo-noir." Patrick Radden Keefe criticized the film for overstating the case in an otherwise laudable attempt to "capture Boston in all its sordid glory," writing that "The result is not so much what Mean Streets did for New York as what Deliverance did for Appalachia."
In the U.K., Gone Baby Gone received extremely positive reviews, including a five-star rating from Chris Tookey of the Daily Mail.
Ryan's performance in particular was singled out for acclaim, resulting in wins for the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress and National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as nominations for the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award.
In an issue of Vrij Nederland, Dutch critic and writer Arnon Grunberg called the book good, but the movie better, saying "Gone Baby Gone might not be a perfect film, but it's definitely an important one, if only to raise the question: 'What is home?'"
The film appeared on 65 critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007.2nd – Christy Lemire, Associated Press4th – Ben Lyons, The Daily 106th – Richard Roeper, At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper6th – Michael Medved, The Best and Worst of 20077th – James Berardinelli, ReelViews8th – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club9th – Keith Phipps, The A.V. Club
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 12, 2008. Extras include an audio commentary by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard, deleted scenes, and two behind-the-scenes featurettes. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in Australia on September 10, 2008, in which the ending depicts Monaghan's character imploring Affleck's character to return the child to her biological mother.
The soundtrack to Gone Baby Gone was released on October 16, 2007.