The Prophecy

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The Prophecy
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gregory Widen
Produced by Joel Soisson
Written by Gregory Widen
Starring Christopher Walken
Elias Koteas
Virginia Madsen
Eric Stoltz
Viggo Mortensen
Music by David C. Williams
Cinematography Richard Clabaugh
Bruce Douglas Johnson
Edited by Sonny Baskin
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • September 1, 1995 (1995-09-01)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million
Box office $16,115,878

The Prophecy is a 1995 American fantasy horror-thriller film starring Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, and Viggo Mortensen. It was written and directed by Gregory Widen, and is the first motion picture of The Prophecy series including four sequels. The film tells the story of the Archangel Gabriel (Walken) and his search for an evil soul on Earth, and a police detective (Koteas) who unknowingly becomes caught in the middle of an angelic civil war.


In the prologue, Thomas Dagget (Elias Koteas) is about to be ordained as a priest, but he is stricken by horrific visions of angels at war with each other. Several years later, Thomas, having lost his faith and abandoned the church, is a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Two angels fall to Earth: one, Simon (Eric Stoltz), warns Thomas of coming events, before disappearing. The second, Uziel (Jeff Cadiente), tracks Simon down and attempts to kill him, but is killed himself. Investigating the disturbance, Thomas goes to Simon's apartment and finds an obituary for a recently deceased Korean War veteran named Arnold Hawthorne. Thomas finds a copy of a theology text that he himself wrote years ago. In Chimney Rock, Simon finds the veteran and removes the soul from the body.

The medical examiner informs Thomas that Uziel's body is like nothing he has seen before: it has no eyes, no signs of bone growth, hermaphroditism, and the same blood chemistry as an aborted fetus. Among the personal effects found on the body is an ancient, hand-written Bible, which includes a Twenty-Third chapter of the Book of Revelation - a chapter that does not exist in any other version. Thomas translates the chapter and learns of a second war in Heaven, instigated by a group of angels who refused to accept God's elevation of man over all other creatures, including angels. The chapter includes a prophecy that a "dark soul" will be found on Earth that can be used as a terrible weapon.

Unknown to Thomas, Gabriel (Christopher Walken) has arrived on Earth. Needing a human helper, Gabriel recruits Jerry (Adam Goldberg), who has been in a state of limbo ever since Gabriel prevented him from dying when he committed suicide. Jerry retrieves Uziel's belongings from the police station while Gabriel destroys Uziel's body in the morgue. After finding Hawthorne's obituary, Gabriel and Jerry head for Chimney Rock, Arizona, where Hawthorne lived. Before Gabriel arrives, Simon befriends a little girl, Mary (Moriah Shining Dove Snyder), and passes the soul on to her in order to hide it from Gabriel. Mary immediately falls ill and is taken care of by her teacher, Katherine (Virginia Madsen).

After finding Uziel's body, Thomas decides to go to Chimney Rock. Gabriel and Jerry locate Hawthorne's body, but the soul is gone. Gabriel locates Simon by scent and confronts him at the school; Simon refuses to tell him where he hid the soul. Gabriel says Hawthorne's soul will end the stalemate, tipping the balance to whichever side possesses it. He then kills Simon by setting him aflame and ripping the heart from his chest.

Mary begins showing signs of being possessed by Hawthorne's soul. Meanwhile, Thomas arrives in Chimney Rock, examines Simon's remains, and questions Katherine. He searches Hawthorne's home and finds evidence of a court martial in which Hawthorne was accused of a number of war crimes, including cannibalism. Thomas visits a church to reflect and is shaken by a confrontation with Gabriel.

Katherine arrives at school the next day to find Gabriel questioning the children. He leaves, and she rushes to Mary's home to find Thomas there. Mary's condition is worsening. Katherine takes Thomas to an abandoned mine where she saw Gabriel's car parked. Inside, they find angelic script on the walls and they experience a vision of a battlefield strewn with dead angels. Thomas and Katherine rush back to Mary's home. Gabriel and Jerry are there, and Gabriel is attempting to extract the soul. Thomas kills Jerry, and Katherine blows up Mary's trailer home by shooting a propane cylinder. Mary informs Thomas that angels aren't immortal on Earth; they can be killed by tearing out their heart. Katherine takes Thomas and Mary to a Native American site where a ritual is to be performed to expel Hawthorne's soul from Mary. Gabriel recruits another "assistant", Rachael (Amanda Plummer), from the terminal unit of the ICU at a nearby hospital.

That night, as Mary starts to undergo her exorcism, Katherine is confronted by Lucifer (Viggo Mortensen) himself. Lucifer tells Katherine that "other angels" have taken up this war against mankind, and since then, no human souls have been able to "meet their maker". He knows of Gabriel's plot to use Hawthorne's soul to overthrow the agents of Heaven, and he knows that if Gabriel wins, his "new" Heaven will ultimately devolve into another Hell, resulting in unwanted competition. The next day, Lucifer appears to Thomas and advises him to use Gabriel's lack of faith against him. Gabriel arrives and attempts to disrupt the ritual. Thomas stops him, kills Rachael and then subdues Gabriel.

Lucifer appears and confronts Gabriel, telling the tribe to continue the ritual. Lucifer explains to Gabriel that his war was based upon arrogance, which is evil, making it Lucifer's territory. Gabriel begins to taunt Lucifer of his past when he fell from grace, in which Lucifer responds to Gabriel, telling him he needs to go home, and rips out his heart. Once the tribal ancestors complete the exorcism, Hawthorne's soul is expelled from Mary and destroyed. With the threat eliminated, Lucifer asks Thomas and Katherine to "come home" with him, but they refuse. The film closes with Lucifer returning to Hell, and Thomas commenting on the nature of faith and what it means to truly be human.



Filming began on 27 September 1993 and ran until 8 November 1993.


The film received mixed reviews from critics and currently holds a 41% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 22 reviews. It is the highest rated of all 5 movies in the series with a 65% audience rating.


The film spawned four sequels: The Prophecy II (1998), The Ascent (2000), Uprising (2005) and Forsaken (2005).


The film score by David C. Williams was released on Perseverance Records August 7, 2006.


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