crossing guard

The Crossing Guard

The Crossing Guard is a 1995 independent film directed and written by American actor Sean Penn. It stars Jack Nicholson, David Morse, Anjelica Huston and Robin Wright Penn.


Freddy Gale (Nicholson) has been tormented for five years after the tragic death of his daughter Emily costs him his family, happiness, and morality. Now the drunk driver who killed her, John Booth (Morse), is released from prison. Freddy immediately reveals to his ex-wife Mary (Huston) his plot to kill him in revenge for taking his daughter and life away from him.

John Booth is now living in a trailer outside of his parents' house and merely plans to go on with his life, despite the fact that he is forever haunted and changed after killing Emily Gale. At night Freddy arrives at the Booth residence, armed with a gun. He clumsily breaks into the trailer trying to shoot, but he forgot to load it. John calmly tells him he won't call the police and will let Freddy kill him, but asks for some time to savor his freedom. Freddy is enraged but he accepts and gives John three days to live.

John tries to live his life as best as he can before the third day arrives. He meets an artist named JoJo (Wright Penn) at a friend's party and he has a brief romance with her before she realizes that he can't let go of the mistake he made. He reveals to her that when he hit Emily Gale, he came to her side as she was dying and she apologized to him for "not looking both ways".

Freddy is now even worse off then he was before, he drinks excessively and starts sleeping with more prostitutes than usual. He even gets up in the middle of the night and goes to a club to find a hired dancer. Everyone around him, even a prostitute who truly cares for him, is shut off due to his lust for vengeance.

Near the end of the film, it is the third day where Freddy will kill John. Freddy calls Mary and breaks down in tears as he tells her of a terrible nightmare he had. In the nightmare, he is driving by his daughter's school and stops at a crosswalk where children (including a living Emily Gale) wait. He sees that John Booth is the crossing guard. Freddy then sees himself run over all of the children, even Emily. They meet at a diner where they both talk about the past, how Freddy used to be a strong man until Emily was killed and how they made a good husband and wife. Though when Mary tells him he is beyond help, he angrily curses her. After Mary leaves, Freddy drunkenly starts to drive to John's house. John awaits in his trailer preparing himself, he stands waiting and applauding Freddy's imminent arrival. Freddy is however pulled over by the police; after a series of tests that he passes they begin to arrest him for drunk driving anyway. Freddy however grabs his gun and runs away. He breaks into a home and hides in a little girl's room. The girl guides the police away, Freddy sees his daughter in her and tells her goodnight.

Freddy arrives at John's trailer and waits before he enters. John abruptly jumps from a corner with a rifle in hand. Freddy tells him since he is on the run, on his property, and armed, John should be able to get away with killing him. There is a standoff as they point guns at each other. John however drops his gun and runs away; Freddy follows him. After a lengthy chase across the city, Freddy catches John climbing a fence and fires at him. For a moment it looks as if John is dead, but he was only grazed and continues on. Even though he has had enough, Freddy follows him. John has led him to a graveyard and to Emily's grave. Freddy had never had the courage to visit his daughter's grave and John couldn't visit earlier when he saw Mary there. John talks silently to the grave and finally says "Your daddy's coming". Freddy gives John the gun and cries over the grave apologizing to his daughter. Freddy and John reconcile as the sun rises.

Critical reception

The film received generally positive reviews with the review tallying website reporting that 16 out of the 23 reviews they tallied were positive for a score of 70% and a certification of "fresh".

External links


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