Dogma (film): Wikis


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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kevin Smith
Produced by Scott Mosier
Written by Kevin Smith
Starring Ben Affleck
George Carlin
Matt Damon
Linda Fiorentino
Salma Hayek
Jason Lee
Jason Mewes
Alan Rickman
Chris Rock
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Robert D. Yeoman
Editing by Scott Mosier
Kevin Smith
Studio View Askew Productions
Distributed by Miramax Films
Lions Gate Entertainment
Release date(s) November 12, 1999
Running time 130 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million
Gross revenue $30,652,890
Preceded by Chasing Amy
Followed by Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Dogma is a 1999 American comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith; he also co-stars in the film along with an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Bud Cort, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo, and Alanis Morissette.

Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson, the stars of Smith's debut film Clerks, have cameo roles, as do Smith regulars Scott Mosier, Dwight Ewell, Walt Flanagan, and Bryan Johnson.

The 4th film set in the View Askewniverse is a hypothetical-scenario film revolving around the Catholic Church and Catholic belief, which caused organized protests and much controversy in many countries, delaying release of the film and leading to at least two death threats against Smith.[1][2] The film follows two fallen angels, Loki and Bartleby, who, through a loophole in Catholic Dogma, find a way to get back into Heaven after being cast out by God. However, as existence is founded on the principle that God is infallible, their success would prove God wrong and thus undo all creation. The last scion and two prophets are sent by the Voice of God to stop them.

Aside from some scenes filmed on the New Jersey shore, most of the film was shot in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



An old man looks at the ocean from a New Jersey boardwalk outside a skee ball arcade. He is beaten into a coma by three hockey stick-wielding teenagers, the Stygian Triplets.

Two fallen angelsBartleby (Ben Affleck), a watcher, and Loki (Matt Damon), formerly the Angel of Death — were banished from Heaven after Bartleby convinced Loki to quit his position and find one that doesn't involve mass slaughter. This culminates in Loki giving God the finger, and both angels being exiled to Wisconsin and permanently banned from Heaven. The two see their potential salvation when a church in Red Bank, New Jersey, celebrates its centennial anniversary with a plenary indulgence. By passing through the doors of the church, they can have their sins forgiven and upon death regain access to Heaven. They don't realize by doing this they will overrule the word of God. Since the basis of existence is that God is infallible, proving God wrong would destroy existence.

Metatron, aka the Voice of God

Metatron (Alan Rickman), the seraph who acts as the Voice of God, appears to abortion clinic worker Bethany Sloane (Linda Fiorentino) and gives her the task of preventing Bartleby and Loki's return. Bethany is initially against the mission as she has lost her faith in God due to her infertility and subsequent divorce. Bethany is attacked by the Stygian Triplets and saved by Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), two prophets whom Metatron said would appear. She is also aided by Rufus (Chris Rock), the thirteenth apostle, left out of the Bible because he is black, and Serendipity (Salma Hayek), a Muse with writer's block turned stripper. Bethany learns that she is the Last Scion, the last descendant of Mary and Joseph, and the last relative of Jesus Christ.

On the way to New Jersey, Loki decides to kill the board of a company whose mascot is a golden calf for idolatry and various personal sins. Loki hopes to get back on God's "good side" before their return; Bartleby thinks it is unnecessary but reluctantly complies. The demon Azrael (Jason Lee), a former Muse, warns them that both the forces of Heaven and Hell are attempting to kill them (since God won't let them succeed and undo creation, and Satan won't let them succeed because by succeeding where he's failed they'll make him look bad), and that Loki's killing sprees are not helping. The two sides unwittingly meet on a train, where a drunk Bethany reveals the consequences of proving God wrong to Bartleby. When their identities are revealed, a fight ensues and Silent Bob throws Bartleby and Loki off the train.

Bartleby's restrained fury and envy of humanity's freedom drives him insane. Loki realizes the ramifications of their success and becomes reluctant to continue, but Bartleby says existence would be better off destroyed as he realizes the "unfairness" that man is shown infinite patience while the angels are exiled after one transgression. Loki says that Bartleby reminds him of Lucifer, but Bartleby tells him that they are going home, and there's nothing Loki or even God can do about it.

Elsewhere, Metatron reappears, comforting Bethany as she copes with the revelation about her heritage and the group ponders who could have orchestrated the angels' plan. Metatron explains that God went to Earth in human form to play skeeball and they are unable to contact Him/Her; apparently, someone knew enough to incapacitate God and leave God alive but unable to return to Heaven of His/Her own will. The group deduces that Lucifer can't be behind it because he would have made his move by this point, and he has just as much to lose if Bartleby and Loki succeed as anyone else. They try to persuade Cardinal Glick (George Carlin) to cancel the celebration, but he refuses.

When Bartleby and Loki reach the church, Bartleby goes on a killing spree. At a nearby bar, Azrael captures the heroes and explains that he is the mastermind behind the Angels' plan, wanting to destroy existence rather than spend eternity in Hell — but forced to manipulate Bartleby and Loki as demons cannot become human. Goaded to attack Azrael, Silent Bob kills him with Cardinal Glick's golf club, which is revealed to be blessed; Jay, Rufus, and Serendipity kill the Stygian Triplets by dunking their heads into sinks filled with holy water sanctified by Bethany.

The heroes reach the church before Bartleby and Loki enter. Loki, who is now human (because he had his wings torn off by Bartleby) tries to help the others, but Bartleby kills him. He then fights Rufus, Serendipity, and Bob. When all hope seems lost, Jay mentions John Doe Jersey (Bud Cort), a comatose patient in a hospital across the street who was attacked outside a skeeball arcade, and who is being kept on life support. Hoping this is God trapped in mortal form, Bethany and Bob race to the hospital. Jay foolishly shoots off Bartleby's wings with a submachine gun, turning him human.

Bethany removes the life support from God's human body, allowing Him/Her to escape — and inadvertently killing Bethany. God (Alanis Morissette) manifests at the church before Bartleby, who apologizes for his acts. God kills Bartleby with the power of Her voice. Silent Bob shows up with Bethany's bloodstained corpse. God resurrects Bethany and conceives an heir inside her. The heavenly beings return to Heaven through the church doors.



The film was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay as well as a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America honor for Best Screenplay.

The film opened at #3 in its opening weekend with approximately $8,669,945, behind The Bone Collector (the previous week's champion) and the newly released Pokémon: The First Movie.

Critics were mostly mixed to positive about the film; it has a 68 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It did better with fans, ranking 82 percent by the Rotten Tomatoes community. On Metacritic, the film received a rating of 62 percent based on 36 reviews, with an 8.4/10 by fans based on 21 votes.

The film was screened out of competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.[3]


  • The "Mooby's" restaurant used in the movie was a remodeled Burger King location in Pittsburgh. The store, as well as numerous other Burger King locations nationally at this time, closed down unexpectedly shortly before filming as a result of the company's financial problems at the time.
  • Before shooting, Kevin Smith warned Jason Mewes that he needed to be on point due to the involvement of "real actors," such as Alan Rickman. As a result, Mewes memorized not only his dialogue, but the dialogue for every character in the entire screenplay, much to Smith's surprise.[4]
  • Smith originally approached director Robert Rodriguez to direct the film. Rodriguez turned him down, citing the fact that the film seemed too personal, and suggested that Smith should direct it himself.
  • Footage of the exterior shot of the train scene was recycled from the movie Narrow Margin.
  • Smith originally had Samuel L. Jackson and Will Smith in mind to play Rufus.
  • Two prominent Pittsburgh buildings are used in this movie: the U.S. Steel Tower, and The Grand Concourse (the fancy restaurant). The conference room massacre-scene was filmed in the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. All the props in the room were fakes, except for the phone that Loki threw a knife into.
  • The "Wisconsin" airport scene in the beginning of the film was actually shot at Pittsburgh International Airport, complete with cheesehead stands.
  • There is no church in McHenry, Illinois that looks like the one featured in the movie. The same church is seen in the Blues Brothers film, though, which takes place in Illinois, as well.
  • The Church is actually in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania it is St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church - Larimer Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Alanis Morissette plays God in Dogma; she also wrote and recorded the song "Still" for the movie. "Still," and the film's orchestral score by Howard Shore, were released on the album Dogma: Music from the Motion Picture.
  • Jay makes a reference to The Piano when he first sees God. Holly Hunter, who starred in The Piano, was approached at one time to play God. Although she declined the part, Kevin Smith chose to keep the line in the movie.
  • According to Kevin Smith's comments on the Dogma publicity stills on the film's official website, there was going to be a final face-off between Silent Bob on one side and the redhead Triplet and the Golgothan on the other side in the hospital. The Triplet would come back with a burned-out face, and at the end of the battle, God would turn the Golgothan into flowers. The scene was dropped from the final cut of the film.[5]
  • The scenes shown outside of the abortion clinic were in a city outside of Pittsburgh called New Kensington. The place was actually a private doctor's office, but had been without a tenant for years.
  • The bar and strip club scene were filmed in Slap Shots Bar in Dormont right outside of Pittsburgh limits.


Although there was no opposition to the film while the actual filming and pre-production was taking place, the following months of post-production and publicity were plagued with controversy over a perceived anti-Catholic message in the film.

In an interview, Smith said: "You gotta find the line, and then cross it".

Over time, the filmmakers received over 300,000 pieces of hate mail, which Smith posted on his website. Among these were "two-and-three-quarters" death threats. Smith explained this in his movie An Evening with Kevin Smith: One of the letters was threatening to start with, then became more friendly further on. The Catholic League in particular attacked Disney and Miramax, the original distributors, for being anti-Catholic. The film was originally scheduled to come out in November 1998, but was pushed back to November 1999 in the hopes the controversy would die down. When that didn't work, Disney sold the film's distribution rights to Lions Gate Entertainment.

When the film actually came out, Kevin Smith and his friend Bryan Johnson participated in a protest at the Sony Multiplex in Eatontown, New Jersey, carrying a sign which read "Dogma is Dogshit." A news crew captured the incident and broadcast an interview with Smith (though he wouldn't give his real name and gave Johnson's as his own) on News 12 New Jersey.[6]


In late November 2005, Smith was asked about a possible Dogma sequel on the message boards. His response:

So weird you should ask this, because ever since 9/11, I have been thinking about a sequel of sorts. I mean, the worst terrorist attack on American soil was religiously bent. In the wake of said attack, the leader of the "Free World" outed himself as pretty damned Christian. In the last election, rather than a quagmire war abroad, the big issue was whether or not gay marriage was moral. Back when I made 'Dogma', I always maintained that another movie about religion wouldn't be forthcoming, as 'Dogma' was the product of 28 years of religious and spiritual meditation, and I'd kinda shot my wad on the subject. Now? I think I might have more to say. And, yes — the Last Scion would be at the epicenter of it. And She'd have to be played by Alanis. And we'd need a bigger budget — because the entire third act would be the Apocalypse. Scary thing is this: the film would have to touch on Islam. And unlike the Catholic League, when those cats don't like what you do, they issue a death warrant on yer ass. And now that I've got a family, I'm not as free to stir the shit-pot as I was when I was single, back when I made 'Dogma'. I mean, now I've gotta think about more than my own safety and well-being. But regardless — yeah, a 'Dogma' followup's been swimming around in my head for some time now."[7]


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Dogma is a 1999 film about two renegade angels, banished for eternity to Wisconsin, who find a "loophole" that may allow them to return to Heaven. Unbeknownst to them, their reentry threatens to destroy the universe, forcing Heaven to mobilize forces to stop them.

Written and directed by Kevin Smith.
Get "touched" by an angel.Taglines



  • Now, Through the Looking Glass, that poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter," that's an indictment of organized religion. The walrus, with his girth and good nature, obviously represents either Buddha or, with his tusks, the Hindu elephant god, Lord Ganesha – that takes care of your eastern religions. Now, the carpenter, which is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ, who was raised a carpenter's son, he represents the western religions. Now, in the poem, what do they do? What do they do? They dupe all these oysters into following them, and then proceed to shuck and devour the helpless creatures en masse. Now, I don't know what that says to you, but to me it says that following these faiths based on mythological figures ensures the destruction of one's inner being. Organized religion destroys who we are by inhibiting our actions, by inhibiting our decisions, out of fear of some intangible parent figure, who shakes a finger at us from thousands of years ago and says "Do it, do it and I'll fucking spank you!" The existentialists can keep their Kierkegaard and their Sartre. Give me Lewis Carroll anyday — that guy knows what time it is!


  • The lesson must be taught. All are accountable … even God.


  • The whole book's gender-biased. A woman's responsible for original sin. A woman cuts Samson's coif of power. A woman asks for the head of John the Baptist. Read that book again sometime. Women are painted as bigger antagonists than the Egyptians and Romans combined.


  • PA Announcer: [at St. Michael's hospital] I repeat: this is not a drill. This is the Apocalypse. Please exit the hospital in an orderly fashion.


Metatron: Metatron acts as the voice of God. Any documented occasion when some yahoo claims that God has spoken to them, they're speaking to me. Or they're talking to themselves.
Bethany: Why doesn't God speak for Himself?
Metatron: Glad you decided to join the conversation. To answer that: human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome power of God's true voice. Were you to hear it, your mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest. We went through five Adams before we figured that one out.

Bethany: Were they sent to Hell?
Metatron: Worse. Wisconsin.

Bethany: Hey – what's He like?
Metatron: God? … Lonely, but funny. He's got a great sense of humor. Take sex, for example. There's nothing funnier than the ridiculous faces you people make mid-coitus.
Bethany: Sex is a joke in Heaven?
Metatron: The way I understand it, it's mostly a joke down here, too.

Bethany: Are you protesters?
Jay: Hell no! Me and Silent Bob are pro-choice! Whatever a woman does with her body is her own fuckin' business!
Bethany: Then - I don't mean to sound ungrateful - but what are you doing hanging around?
Jay: We're here to pick up chicks.
Bethany: Excuse me?
Jay: We figure an abortion clinic is a good place to meet loose women. Why else would they be there unless they like to fuck?

Bethany: You were martyred?
Rufus: Well, that's one way of putting it. Another way is to say I was bludgeoned to shit by big fucking rocks.

Bethany: What's He like?
Rufus: He likes to listen to people talk. I remember the old days when we were sittin' around the fire. You know, whenever we were goin' on about unimportant shit, He'd always have a smile on his face. His only real beef with mankind is the shit that gets carried out in his name. Wars. Bigotry. Televangelism. The big one though, is the factioning of the religions. He said, "Mankind got it all wrong by takin' a good idea and building a belief structure out of it."
Bethany: So you're saying that having beliefs is a bad thing?
Rufus: I just think it's better to have an idea. You can change an idea; changing a belief is trickier. People die for it, people kill for it.

Cardinal Glick: Mass attendance is at an all-time low in this country. But if we can let 'em know the Catholic church has a little panache, we can win 'em back – even get some new ones. Excuse me. [practice-putts a golf ball into an overturned chalice] Fill them pews, people! That's the key. Grab the little ones as well. Hook 'em while they're young.
Rufus: Kind of like the tobacco industry?
Cardinal Glick: Christ, if only we had their numbers.


  • Get "touched" by an angel.
  • It Can Be Hell Getting Into Heaven
  • Faith is a funny thing.
  • Prepare Thyself.
  • Look out Below


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