Blood Father

Blood Father

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jean-François Richet
Produced by
  • Chris Briggs
  • Peter Craig
  • Pascal Caucheteux
  • Sebastien K. Lemercier
Screenplay by
Based on Blood Father
by Peter Craig
Music by Sven Faulconer
Cinematography Robert Gantz
Edited by Steven Rosenblum
Distributed by SND Films
Release dates
  • 21 May 2016 (2016-05-21) (Cannes)
  • 31 August 2016 (2016-08-31) (France)
  • 26 August 2016 (2016-08-26) (United States)
  • 7 October 2016 (2016-10-07) (United Kingdom)
Running time
88 minutes[1]
Country France
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $1.8 million[2][3]

Blood Father is a 2016 English-language French action thriller film directed by Jean-François Richet, written by Peter Craig based on his novel of the same name, and starring Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks and William H. Macy.

The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2016. The film was released on 12 August 2016 by Lionsgate Premiere.


Lydia (Erin Moriarty) buys bullets at a megastore for her boyfriend Jonah (Diego Luna) and his gang. After loading up, the gang goes to kill a tenant family who apparently stole money stashed in the walls of their rented house. After killing a tenant, Jonah ties up another and forces Lydia to kill her. However, Lydia accidentally shoots Jonah in the neck, apparently killing him, and escapes the crime scene. She contacts her estranged father John (Mel Gibson), an ex-convict and recovering alcoholic out on parole after serving seven years in prison. He picks up Lydia, takes her back to his trailer house, and learns that she is not only a drug addict but also an alcoholic. Some days pass by uneventfully, although Lydia receives death threat messages from the gang members.

One night, members of Jonah's gang come to John's house. After failing to force themselves in, they open fire at the house and ram it with their SUV. When John's neighbor and sponsor Kirby (William H. Macy) and other armed residents rush to intervene, the gang retreats. Reasoning that giving Lydia up to the police will put her in danger, John flees with her. Lydia tells John about her life after running away from home and about Jonah, who turns out to be a well-connected member of a Mexican drug cartel. The two rest at a motel, where Lydia learns that she and John have been linked to the tenants' deaths. They narrowly escape a sicario sent by the cartel.

John attempts to ask for a favor from his former mentor and friend, Preacher (Michael Parks), who makes a living by collecting and selling war memorabilia. Preacher agrees to help, but changes his mind after learning of the reward for turning in Lydia. John overpowers Preacher and his wife and escapes with Lydia on a 1997 Harley-Davidson Softail. They are pursued by two of Preacher's men, who are both killed in the chase.

John travels to a prison where he meets Arturo, his former inmate, to ask about Jonah's connections. He learns that Jonah himself stole drugs and money from his cartel, blamed the tenants, and then murdered them to cover his tracks. At the motel alone, Lydia receives a call from Kirby, who tells her that she is in danger and advises her to head to a crowded public place like a theater. There Lydia is confronted by Jonah who had survived his injury and, along with his gang, abducts her. After leaving the prison, John calls Kirby, but Jonah answers the phone, reveals that he had captured Kirby and kills him. John warns Jonah against harming Lydia, citing his knowledge of his connections. John offers up his life for his daughter, and Jonah arranges to meet at a secluded spot in the desert.

John goes back to Preacher's place and picks up a landmine and some grenades. He arrives at the meeting spot, and improvises a booby trap with his bike and the landmine. Jonah's men tie John up and put him in a car. As they prepare to leave, two of Jonah's men are killed by the trap. John kills the gang member inside the vehicle, but Jonah escapes. The sicario, having taken position at a vantage point, wounds John. Taking cover behind a car, John forces the sicario to get closer and the two fatally shoot each other. Jonah is arrested, incarcerated, and meets a visibly hostile prison gang led by Arturo.

One year later, in a support group, Lydia reveals that she has been sober for a year and expresses gratitude for her father.



On March 28, 2014, Mel Gibson was in final talks to join the action thriller film Blood Father with Jean-François Richet as director and Peter Craig wrote the script based on his own novel of the same name, while Why Not Productions and Chris Briggs would be producing the film.[4] On April 24, Erin Moriarty was set to co-star in the film as Gibson's character's daughter.[5] On May 5, it was announced that Wild Bunch had come aboard to distribute the film worldwide.[6] On June 6, Richard Cabral joined the film to play Joker, a tough enforcer for the Mexican Mafia.[7] On June 14, William H. Macy tweeted that he would be starring alongside Gibson in the film.[8] On June 17, Elisabeth Röhm signed on to star in the film as Gibson's estranged wife but her role was cut from the final film.[9]


Principal photography began on June 5, 2014, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[10] On June 23, Gibson was spotted filming some arresting scenes at Albuquerque jail.[11] After a month of shooting, the production wrapped-up on July 3, 2014.[12]


In December 2014, Lionsgate acquired the US rights to the film.[13] Blood Father had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2016.[14] It was released in the United States on 12 August 2016.[15]

Critical reception

Blood Father received positive reviews from film critics. It holds an 89% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 74 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Blood Father meets every expectation a film fan could have for a latter-day Mel Gibson action thriller with its title -- and even, in some respects, handily exceeds them."[16] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 66 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[17]


  1. "BLOOD FATHER (15)". British Board of Film Classification. April 22, 2016. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  4. Fleming Jr, Mike (28 March 2014). "Mel Gibson In Talks To Team With 'Mesrine' Helmer In Thriller 'Blood Father'". Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  5. Kroll, Justin (24 April 2014). "Erin Moriarty to Co-Star With Mel Gibson in 'Blood Father'". Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  6. Keslassy, Elsa; Hopewell, John (5 May 2014). "Cannes: Wild Bunch Boards Mel Gibson Starrer 'Blood Father'". Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  7. "Richard Cabral Books 'Blood Father'". 5 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  8. "William H. Macy Joins Mel Gibson in 'Blood Father'". 14 June 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  9. Sneider, Jeff (17 June 2014). "'American Hustle's' Elisabeth Rohm Joins Mel Gibson in 'Blood Father'". Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  10. Christine (5 June 2014). "Mel Gibson begins filming 'Blood Father' in Albuquerque, NM". Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  11. "Mel Gibson is arrested in New Mexico... but it's just for his latest movie role". June 23, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  13. Fleming Jr, Mike (December 9, 2014). "Mel Gibson's 'Blood Father' Being Acquired For U.S. By Lionsgate". Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  14. Jaugernauth, Kevin (April 22, 2016). "Cannes Film Festival Adds Asghar Farhadi's 'The Salesman' To Competition Lineup, Mel Gibson's 'Blood Father' And More". Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  15. Staff, TFS (April 26, 2016). "40 Films to See This Summer". The Film Stage. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  16. "Blood Father (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  17. "Blood Father". Metacritic. Retrieved October 20, 2016.

External links

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