Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Mystic River (film)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
1 Ratings
Rate This

Rate This

Crime, Drama, Mystery

Brian Helgeland

United States


Clint Eastwood

Music director
Clint Eastwood



Mystic River (film) movie poster

Release date
October 15, 2003 (2003-10-15)

Based on
Mystic River  by Dennis Lehane

Brian Helgeland (screenplay), Dennis Lehane (novel)

Academy Award for Best Actor

Sean Penn
(Jimmy Markum),
Tim Robbins
(Dave Boyle),
Kevin Bacon
(Sean Devine),
Marcia Gay Harden
(Celeste Boyle),
Kevin Chapman
(Val Savage),
Tom Guiry
(Brendan Harris)

Similar movies
The Sixth Sense
The Good Shepherd
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Boondock Saints
The Kid

We bury our sins, we wash them clean.

Mystic river theatrical trailer

Mystic River is a 2003 American mystery crime drama film directed and scored by Clint Eastwood. It stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laura Linney. The screenplay by Brian Helgeland was based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. The film was produced by Robert Lorenz, Judie G. Hoyt and Eastwood. It is the first film on which Eastwood was credited as composer of the score.


Mystic River (film) movie scenes

The film opened to widespread critical acclaim. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor. Sean Penn won Best Actor and Tim Robbins won Best Supporting Actor, making Mystic River the first film to win both awards since Ben-Hur in 1959.

Mystic River (film) movie scenes


Mystic River (film) movie scenes

Three boys, Jimmy Markum, Sean Devine, and Dave Boyle, play hockey in a Boston street in 1975. Spotting wet concrete, they start writing their names into it when a car pulls up and two men, pretending to be police officers, get out, berate the boys for their actions, and tell Dave to get into the car. The men hold Dave captive and sexually abuse him for four days, until he escapes.

Mystic River (film) movie scenes

Twenty-five years later, the boys are grown and, while they still live in Boston, have drifted apart. Jimmy is an ex-con running a neighborhood store, while Dave is a blue-collar worker, still haunted by his abduction. The two are still neighbors and related by marriage. Jimmy's 19-year-old daughter Katie is secretly dating Brendan Harris, a boy Jimmy despises. She and Brendan are planning to run away together to Las Vegas.

Mystic River (film) movie scenes

Katie goes out for the night with her girlfriends and Dave sees her at a local bar. That night, Katie is murdered, and Dave comes home with an injured hand and blood on his clothes, which his wife Celeste helps him clean up. Dave claims he fought off a mugger, "bashed his head into the concrete", and possibly killed him. Sean, now a detective with the Massachusetts State Police, investigates Katie's murder. His pregnant wife, Lauren, has recently left him.

Over the course of the film, Sean and his partner, Sergeant Whitey Powers, track down leads while Jimmy conducts his own investigation using his neighborhood connections. Sean discovers that the gun used to kill Katie was also used in a liquor store robbery during the 1980s by "Just Ray" Harris, the father of Katie's boyfriend. Harris has been missing since 1989, but Brendan claims he still sends his family $500 every month. Brendan also feigns ignorance about Ray's gun but Sean believes it was still in the house. Sergeant Powers suspects Dave as a possible perpetrator because he was one of the last people to see Katie alive. He also has a wounded hand and, although he continues to tell his wife he got it while being mugged, he tells the police a different story – soon Jimmy becomes suspicious of it. Dave continues to behave strangely, which upsets his wife to the point she is afraid he will hurt her. While Jimmy and his associates conduct their investigation, Dave's wife eventually tells Jimmy about Dave's behavior, the bloody clothing, and her suspicions.

Jimmy and his friends get Dave drunk at a local bar. When Dave leaves the bar, the men follow him out. Jimmy tells Dave that he shot "Just Ray" Harris at that same location for ratting him out and sending him to jail. Jimmy informs Dave that his wife thinks he murdered Katie and tells Dave he will let him live if he confesses. Dave repeatedly tells Jimmy that he did kill someone but it was not Katie: he beat a child molester to death after finding him having sex with a child prostitute in a car. Jimmy does not believe Dave's claim and threatens him with a knife. When Dave finally admits to killing Katie thinking he can escape with his life, Jimmy kills him and disposes of his body in the adjacent Mystic River.

While Dave is being killed, Brendan (having found out about his father's gun during questioning) confronts his younger brother Ray Jr. and his brother's friend John about Katie's murder. He beats the two boys and threatens to kill them if they do not admit their guilt, but when John takes the gun and is about to shoot him, Sean and Powers arrive just in time to stop it.

The next morning, Sean tells Jimmy the police have Katie's murderers – who have confessed. She was killed by Brendan's brother, "Silent Ray" Harris, and his friend John O'Shea in a violent prank gone wrong: The kids got hold of Just Ray's gun and saw a car coming which happened to be Katie's. John aimed the gun just to scare her but the gun went off by accident. The car veered onto the curb and Katie got out and ran into the park. Silent Ray and John pursued her so she wouldn't tell anyone. The beating Katie received was from Silent Ray, who had a hockey stick. Once she was beaten, John shot her again, killing her. Sean asks Jimmy if he has seen Dave, because he is wanted for questioning in another case, the murder of a known child molester. A distraught Jimmy thanks Sean for finding his daughter's killers, but says, "if only you had been a little faster." Sean asks Jimmy if he's going to "send Celeste Boyle $500 a month too?"

Sean reunites with his wife and his daughter Nora, after apologizing for "pushing her away". Jimmy goes to his wife, Annabeth and confesses. She comforts him and tells him he is a king and kings always make the right decision. At a town parade, Sean sees Jimmy, and mimics shooting him, to let Jimmy know he is watching.


Principal photography took place on location in Boston. Eastwood claimed that the three lead actors were his first choices for the roles.


Mystic River was well received by critics, with the performances and direction receiving widespread acclaim. The film has an 87% approval rating based on 195 reviews from critics at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. At the website Metacritic, which utilizes a normalized rating system, the film earned a rating of 84/100 ("universal acclaim") based on 42 reviews. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote "Clint Eastwood pours everything he knows about directing into Mystic River. His film sneaks up, messes with your head, and then floors you. You can't shake it. It's that haunting, that hypnotic." The Sun wrote that the film was "a haunting masterpiece and probably [Eastwood's] best film to date".

Box office

The film earned $156,822,020 worldwide with $90,135,191 in the United States and $66,686,829 in the international box office, which is significantly higher than the film's $30 million budget.


  • 76th Academy Awards:
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role (Sean Penn)
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Tim Robbins)
  • Art Directors Guild: Feature Film – Contemporary Film (Henry Bumstead [production designer] and Jack G. Taylor Jr. [art director])
  • Blue Ribbon Awards: Best Foreign Language Film
  • 24th Boston Society of Film Critics Awards: Best Picture, Best Ensemble Cast
  • 9th BFCA Critics' Choice Awards: Best Actor (Sean Penn), Best Supporting Actor (Tim Robbins)
  • Cannes Film Festival: Golden Coach (Clint Eastwood)
  • Casting Society of America: Best Casting for Feature Film – Drama
  • Central Ohio Film Critics: Best Actor (Sean Penn), Best Supporting Actor (Tim Robbins), Best Supporting Actress (Marcia Gay Harden)
  • Chicago Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor (Tim Robbins)
  • César Awards (France): Best Foreign Language Film
  • Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association: Best Actor (Sean Penn)
  • Florida Film Critics Circle: Best Actor (Sean Penn), Best Supporting Actor (Tim Robbins)
  • Fotogramas de Plata (Spain): Best Foreign Language Film
  • 61st Golden Globe Awards:
  • Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Sean Penn)
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Tim Robbins)
  • Kansas City Film Critics Circle: Best Actor (Sean Penn)
  • Kinema Junpo Awards (Japan): Best Foreign Language Film
  • Las Vegas Film Critics Society: Best Actor (Sean Penn)
  • London Film Critics Circle: Actor of the Year (Sean Penn), Director of the Year (Clint Eastwood)
  • Mainichi Film Concours (Japan): Best Foreign Language Film
  • National Board of Review: Best Picture, Best Actor (Sean Penn)
  • National Society of Film Critics: Best Director (Clint Eastwood)
  • PEN Center USA West Literary Awards: Best Screenplay (Brian Helgelan)
  • Sant Jordi Awards (Spain): Best Foreign Language Film
  • Satellite Awards: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Sean Penn), Best Screenplay – Adapted (Brian Helgeland)
  • Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Tim Robbins)
  • Seattle Film Critics: Best Supporting Actress (Marcia Gay Harden)
  • Southeastern Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor (Tim Robbins), Best Screenplay – Adapted (Brian Helgeland)
  • USC Scripter Award: Brian Helgeland (screenwriter) and Dennis Lehane (author)
  • Uruguayan Film Critics Association (Uruguay): Best Film
  • Vancouver Film Critics Circle: Best Actor (Sean Penn)
  • Nominations
  • 76th Academy Awards:
  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Clint Eastwood)
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Marcia Gay Harden)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Brian Helgeland)
  • American Cinema Editors: Best Edited Feature Film – Dramatic (Joel Cox)
  • American Screenwriters Association: Discover Screenwriting Award (Brian Helgeland)
  • Argentine Film Critics Association: Best Foreign Film (Clint Eastwood)
  • Australian Film Institute: Best Foreign Film
  • Japan Academy Prize: Best Foreign Film
  • 57th BAFTA Film Awards:
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role (Sean Penn)
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Tim Robbins)
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Laura Linney)
  • Best Screenplay – Adapted (Brian Helgeland)
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Acting Ensemble, Best Supporting Actress (Mary Gay Harden), Best Director (Clint Eastwood), Best Writer (Brian Helgeland), Best Composer (Clint Eastwood)
  • Cannes Film Festival: Golden Palm (Clint Eastwood)
  • Cinema Writers Circle (Spain): Best Foreign Film
  • European Film Awards: Screen International Award (Clint Eastwood)
  • 61st Golden Globe Awards:
  • Best Motion Picture – Drama
  • Best Director – Motion Picture (Clint Eastwood)
  • Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Brian Helgeland)
  • IFTA Awards: Best International Film, Best International Actor (Sean Penn)
  • International Horror Guild Award: Best Movie
  • Motion Picture Sound Editors: Best Sound Editing in Domestic Features – Dialogue & ADR
  • Online Film Critics Society: Best Picture, Best Actor (Sean Penn), Best Supporting Actor (Tim Robbins), Best Director (Clint Eastwood), Best Screenplay – Adapted (Brian Helgeland)
  • PGA Golden Laurel Awards: Motion Picture Producer of the Year Award
  • Robert Festival (Denmark): Best American Film
  • Satellite Awards: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Drama (Marcia Gay Harden), Best Director (Clint Eastwood), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing (Joel Cox), Best Sound (Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman, Michael Semanick, Christopher Boyes and Gary Summers)
  • Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Sean Penn and Tim Robbins), Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role (Sean Penn)
  • Writers Guild of America: Best Adapted Screenplay (Brian Helgeland)
  • Home media

    The DVD was released on June 8, 2004 and three editions have been released:

  • Full Screen Edition
  • Widescreen Edition
  • 3-Disc Deluxe Edition including CD Soundtrack
  • The film has also been released on Blu-ray Disc, both sold separately and as a part of the "Clint Eastwood Collection".


    Mystic River (film) Wikipedia
    Mystic River (film) IMDbMystic River (film) Rotten TomatoesMystic River (film) Roger EbertMystic River (film) MetacriticMystic River (film)