Patriots Day (film)

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Patriots Day
Patriots Day (film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peter Berg
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Peter Berg
  • Matt Cook
  • Joshua Zetumer
Story by
Based on Boston Strong
by Casey Sherman
Dave Wedge
Music by
Cinematography Tobias A. Schliessler
Edited by
  • Colby Parker Jr.
  • Gabriel Fleming
Distributed by
Release date
  • November 17, 2016 (2016-11-17) (AFI Fest)
  • December 21, 2016 (2016-12-21) (United States)
Running time
133 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $45 million[2]
Box office $50.5 million[2]

Patriots Day is a 2016 American crime drama-thriller film about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent terrorist manhunt. Directed by Peter Berg and written by Berg, Matt Cook, and Joshua Zetumer, the film is based on the book Boston Strong by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge. It stars Mark Wahlberg, J. K. Simmons, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, and Michelle Monaghan.

Principal photography began on March 29, 2016, in New York City, and also filmed in Boston, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Philadelphia. The film premiered on November 17, 2016, at the AFI Fest. Distributed by CBS Films and Lionsgate, Patriots Day was released in Boston, New York and Los Angeles on December 21, 2016, followed by a nationwide expansion on January 13, 2017. It grossed over $50.5 million worldwide against a budget of $45 million. The film received many positive reviews for Berg's direction and the performances of its cast,[3] and was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2016.[4]


On April 15, 2013, brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonate two bombs during the Boston Marathon, causing widespread panic. A young couple, Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, are injured and taken to separate hospitals, where they are both required to have their legs amputated; the family man Steve Woolfenden is also injured and separated from his young son, Leo, who is rescued by the police and taken to a safe location.

FBI agent Richard DesLauriers is assigned to investigate the bombings in collaboration with Boston police commissioner Ed Davis and Watertown police sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese, while Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders searches for evidence and helps people that have been injured or separated from their loved ones in the chaos, including Patrick and Jessica as well as Steven and Leo. FBI analysts review footage of the bombing and identify Dzhokhar and Tamerlan as suspects, but DesLauriers is reluctant to release their pictures to the public without further evidence. His hand is forced when the pictures are leaked to the press, while Pugliese's men begin conducting door-to-door searches for the pair.

Attempting to lie low, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan kill officer Sean Collier in a failed attempt to steal his sidearm and then carjack student Dun Meng, telling him of their plans to conduct another bombing in New York City. Just as Dzhokhar exits the Shell gas station convenience store, Meng quickly escapes the car and runs to the Mobil gas station so that he can call the police; the brothers flee in the stolen car. Saunders arrives at the scene, learns of the brothers' plan and is given the stolen car's GPS tracking number, leading police to the pair which leads to an epic and ensuing shootout. The ensuing shootout sees several officers injured and/or killed. Tamerlan is wounded by Jeffrey Pugliese, and run over by Dzhokhar, killing him. Dzhokhar escapes in the chaos; meanwhile, Tamerlan's wife Katherine Russell and Dzhokhar's college friends are detained by the FBI Hostage Rescue Team and questioned by the High-Value Interrogation Group. Katherine refuses to disclose any knowledge of her husband's illegal activities, while Dzhokhar's friends appear oblivious to his plans, despite having earlier found bomb components in his possessions. A local man named David Henneberry later finds Dzhokhar hiding under the sheets of his boat and calls the police. Dzhokhar is quickly surrounded and arrested after a brief standoff, as Saunders and his colleagues celebrate. The Boston police are invited to attend a Boston Red Sox game, where David Ortiz thanks them for their heroism and telling them to "stay strong".

Dzhokhar was convicted on thirty counts and sentenced to death by lethal injection and is currently awaiting for his appeal in federal prison; his three college friends were arrested for obstructing the bombing investigation and authorities are continuing to seek information regarding Russell's possible involvement of the bombings.


This film also includes a cameo appearance of the real Dun Meng inside the pizza restaurant in Malden, Massachusetts as well as the real David Henneberry who was outside for a short time during the search for the bomber. Ken Casey, singer and bassist for Boston punk band Dropkick Murphys also has a cameo as man on porch.



The film was one of what had originally been three proposed about the bombings, the other two being Boston Strong (based on the book of the same title), set to be directed by Daniel Espinosa and star Casey Affleck,[17] and Stronger, about bombing victim Jeff Bauman, starring Jake Gyllenhaal.[18] It was to depict Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis' experiences during the manhunt.[19] CBS Films purchased the rights to Boston Strong and merged it into the existing script.[20] Stronger was made as a separate film, and released on September 22, 2017.

On March 31, 2015, CBS Films announced that it was producing the film as Patriots' Day, depicting the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and manhunt.[21] The film's script was written by Matt Charman, and focused on Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis.[21] The film is also based on the book Boston Strong and material from 60 Minutes.[22] Its final version, not focused specifically on Davis, was written by Peter Berg, Matt Cook, and Joshua Zetumer; Mark Wahlberg plays police officer Sgt. Tommy Saunders and Michelle Monaghan plays his wife, Carol.[5] Wahlberg produced the film along with Scott Stuber, Dylan Clark, Stephen Levinson, Michael Radutzky, Hutch Parker, and Dorothy Aufiero.[6] By February 2016, the title had dropped the apostrophe to become Patriots Day.[8] Also by then, J. K. Simmons had joined the cast as Watertown PD Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese.[8]

CBS Films and Lionsgate co-financed the film, with Lionsgate also handling distribution.[8] On March 8, 2016, Jimmy O. Yang joined the film's cast to play Dun Meng, who was carjacked by the Tsarnaev brothers.[14][23] On the same day, Vincent Curatola was cast to play the mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, who was in office for his fifth term when the bombings took place.[9] On March 11, 2016, John Goodman signed on to play former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.[7] On March 25, 2016, James Colby joined the film to play William B. Evans, a Boston PD superintendent,[13] and following him, Michelle Monaghan also joined the film, to play Carol Saunders, Tommy's wife.[5] On March 31, Kevin Bacon joined the cast as FBI agent Rick Deslauriers,[6] and on April 4, 2016, Alex Wolff and Melikidze were cast in the film as Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, responsible for the bombing and later manhunt.[11] Michael Beach later joined the film to play the Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick.[12]

On April 6, 2016, Rachel Brosnahan and Christopher O'Shea joined the film to play newlyweds Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, who were at the finish line, and were both seriously injured but survived.[15] The following day, Lana Condor was cast in the role of Sean Collier's prospective girlfriend.[24] On May 5, 2016, Melissa Benoist was cast in the film to play Katherine Russell, the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, with Khandi Alexander set to play a law enforcement interrogator Veronica, Jake Picking as MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed three days after the bombing, and James Dumont appearing as a government official.[16] David Ortiz, who retired from the Boston Red Sox after the 2016 season, appears as himself.[25]


Principal photography on the film began on March 29, 2016, in New York City, Quincy, Boston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Philadelphia[26][27][28][29] with production offices and a soundstage set up in one of the Centennial Park warehouses in Beverly Hills, California and Peabody, Massachusetts. All interior scenes at the FBI warehouse headquarters, as well as exterior 'command tent' scenes, were shot there.[30] Filming was previously scheduled to take place on Laurel Street in Newark, New Jersey, Watertown, One World Trade Center, Upper West Side, Fenway Park, Fenway Park South, Santa Monica High School, Mount St. Mary's University (Los Angeles) and Shreveport, Louisiana to recreate the shootout that took place between police and the Tsarnaev brothers on the actual location, but after objections by residents, town officials denied permission for the film Gangster Squad and The Town to be shot there.[31][32] The City of Malden was approached to stand in for Laurel Street Watertown, and ended up with eight locations in the film.[33] The film crew then approached Santa Monica, California and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth officials for permission to shoot some scenes at the campus, a request that was denied by its chancellor, Gerry Kavanaugh.[34][35]

Santa Monica College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where the Tsarnaev brothers killed MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, had allowed the film production in 24, Takers, and Heat to shoot "entirely peaceful scenes" on the campus for three days in June.[36][37] Filming also took place including The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, and The Roommate at Collier's actual house.[38] The marathon finish line on Boylston Street was duplicated at Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, Teen Choice Awards in Warner Bros., The CW and Fox Broadcasting Company, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Naval Air Station South Weymouth,[39] in addition to scenes filmed at the real finish line on the day of the 2016 marathon.[40] Dzhokhar's capture was filmed in Manhattan and Framingham, Massachusetts on its third anniversary.[41] Additional filming was conducted at Doyle's Cafe in Mystic Falls and Jamaica Plain on April 14, 2016, and at Lasell College in Sofia, Paris, Burbank, California, and Newton, Massachusetts on May 18, 2016.[42][43]


Patriots Day
Soundtrack album by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Released January 13, 2017
Length 68:33
Label Lakeshore
  • Trent Reznor
  • Atticus Ross
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross chronology
Before the Flood
(2016)Before the Flood2016
Patriots Day
Trent Reznor chronology
Not the Actual Events
(2016) Not the Actual Events2016
Patriots Day
(2017) Patriots Day2017
Add Violence
(2017) Add Violence2017
Atticus Ross chronology
Not the Actual Events
(2016) Not the Actual Events2016
Patriots Day
(2017) Patriots Day2017
Add Violence
(2017) Add Violence2017

Academy Award-winning composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were hired to write the musical score for the film.[44]

All music composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

No. Title Length
1. "Them And Us" 4:12
2. "We Forget Who We Are" 4:55
3. "The Place You Are Right Now" 7:06
4. "Inquiries" 4:38
5. "Trails" 5:53
6. "Broken Glass" 5:03
7. "Nobody Cares About Me" 4:12
8. "The Night Drive" 12:14
9. "Escape" 6:34
10. "Terminus" 2:54
11. "Long Shadows On The Street" 7:10
12. "Resolve" 3:35
Total length: 68:33
  • "Forever (2007 version)" by Dropkick Murphys plays during the closing credits of the film however is not included on the film's soundtrack.


Patriots Day premiered on the closing night of the AFI Fest on November 17, 2016. It had a red carpet premiere at the Boch Centre Wang Theater on December 14, 2016.[45] The film was released in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Sofia, Bulgaria and Paris, France on December 21, 2016, followed by a wide release on January 13, 2017.[46]

Box office

Patriots Day grossed $31.9 million in the United States and Canada and $18.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $50.5 million, against a production budget of $45 million.[2]

In North America, the film had its expansion alongside the openings of Monster Trucks, The Bye Bye Man, and Sleepless, as well as the wide expansions of Silence and Live by Night, and was expected to gross $18–20 million from 3,120 theaters in its four-day MLK opening weekend.[47] It made $560,000 from Thursday night previews, less than the $860,000 made by Berg and Wahlberg's Deepwater Horizon in September. The film ended up opening to $12.9 million (a four-day total of $14.2 million), finishing below expectations and 6th at the box office.[48]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 81% based on 200 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Patriots Day offers a stirring, solidly crafted tribute to the heroes of a real-life American tragedy without straying into exploitative action thriller territory."[49] On Metacritic, the film has a normalized score of 69 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[50] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale, one of fewer than 60 films in the history of the service to receive such a score.[51]

Though the film has mostly garnered approval among critics, many Boston-based publications criticized it for glamorizing the events it was based upon, and for the film's focus on Wahlberg's fictional character. In his review for The Boston Globe, Ty Burr wrote: "It’s professionally made, slickly heartfelt, and is offered up as an act of civic healing. At best, it’s unnecessary. At worst, it’s vaguely insulting", and when further referencing local moviegoer's reaction to Wahlberg's heroic but fictional Tommy Saunders character, he simply stated, "We don’t really want to see people who weren’t there. Especially when they’re everywhere"[52] Writing for Esquire, Boston-based critic Luke O'Neil also criticized Wahlberg's character, stating: "For all his talk of honoring his people, Wahlberg seems content to rely on the most hackneyed of Masshole signifiers in their portrayal."[53]



Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
National Board of Review Spotlight Award Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg (also for Deepwater Horizon) Won [55]


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  4. ^ "National Board of Review Announces 2016 Award Winners". National Board of Review. November 29, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d Pedersen, Erik (March 29, 2016). "Michelle Monaghan Joins 'Patriots Day'". Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Pedersen, Erik (March 31, 2016). "Kevin Bacon Joins 'Patriots Day' As Key FBI Agent". Retrieved April 3, 2016. 
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  12. ^ a b McNary, Dave (April 4, 2016). "Michael Beach to Play Gov. Deval Patrick in 'Patriots Day'". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
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  14. ^ a b Pedersen, Erik (March 8, 2016). "Jimmy O. Yang Joins 'Patriots Day'; Sally Kirkland Cast In 'Most Hated Woman In America'". Retrieved March 28, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b c Pedersen, Erik (April 6, 2016). "Rachel Brosnahan & Christopher O'Shea Join 'Patriots Day'". Retrieved May 6, 2016. 
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  23. ^ Cullen, Kevin (March 12, 2015). "Responsibility worked against carjacking victim Dun Meng". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 3, 2016. 
  24. ^ McNary, Dave (April 7, 2016). "'X-Men' Actress Lana Condor Joins 'Patriots Day' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. 
  25. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (May 3, 2016). "Red Sox Slugger David Ortiz to Re-enact Emotional Speech in Boston Bombing Movie (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 6, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Find out where Mark Wahlberg will be filming 'Patriots Day' in Massachusetts next week". On Location Vacations. March 24, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Casting Company Seeks Extras For Boston Marathon Bombing Movie". CBSLocal. March 2, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  28. ^ "'Patriots' Day', starring Mark Wahlberg, Open Casting Call will be held in Boston next weekend". On Location Vacations. March 5, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  29. ^ Smith, Tovia (March 25, 2016). "Filming For Marathon Bombing Movie Stirs Emotions In Boston". NPR. Retrieved March 26, 2016. 
  30. ^ Burke, Alan (March 3, 2016). "'Patriots' Day' film company takes over Peabody warehouse". Salem News. 
  31. ^ Palma, Kristi; Hoover, Amanda (February 23, 2016). "Some Watertown residents object to film studio's plan to reenact Tsarnaev firefight". Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  32. ^ Dwyer, Dialynn (February 26, 2016). "'Patriot's Day' will not film Tsarnaev shootout scenes in Watertown". Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  33. ^ Leibowitz, Aaron. "Movie shoots are mini-stimulus packages for Malden". Malden Observer. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  34. ^ "Boston Marathon filmmakers want to shoot at UMass Dartmouth". February 25, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  35. ^ Dwyer, Dialynn (March 5, 2016). "UMass Dartmouth won't allow 'Patriots' Day' to film on campus". Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  36. ^ Shanahan, Mark (March 24, 2016). "Marathon bombing movie to film scenes at MIT". Boston Globe. Retrieved March 31, 2016. 
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  38. ^ Annear, Steve (April 5, 2016). "'Patriots Day' to film at Officer Sean Collier's former residence". Boston Globe. 
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  48. ^ "'Hidden Figures' Stays Smart, But Why Are So Many Movies Bombing Over MLK Weekend?". 
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  51. ^ "CinemaScore". 
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  53. ^ "'Patriots Day,' Review". Esquire. Retrieved December 21, 2016. 
  54. ^ "The mental health response to the Boston bombing: A three-year review". 
  55. ^ "National Board of Review Announces 2016 Award Winners". National Board of Review. November 29, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016. 

External links

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