The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (French: Jeanne d'Arc) is a 1999 French historical drama film directed by Luc Besson. The film stars Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Faye Dunaway and Dustin Hoffman. The screenplay was written by Besson and Andrew Birkin, and the original music score was composed by Éric Serra.
The Messenger portrays the story of St. Joan of Arc, the French war heroine and religious martyr of the 15th century. The story begins with young Joan as she witnesses the atrocities of the English against her family, and she is portrayed as having visions that inspire her to lead the French in battle against the occupying English forces. Her success in routing the English allows Charles VII to take the throne. Eventually Joan is tried and executed for heresy.
Besson's previous film, The Fifth Element, which also starred Jovovich, was a critical and financial success, and it had a positive influence on both their careers. The Messenger was intended to follow up that success and cement the status of Besson and Jovovich in film. However, the film received mixed reviews from critics and underperformed at the box office, earning just under $67 million on an $60 million budget.
As a child, Joan has a violent and supernatural vision. She returns home to find her village burning. Her sister Catherine tries to protect her by hiding her from the attacking English forces, part of a longstanding rivalry with France. Joan, while hiding, witnesses the brutal murder and rape of her sister. Afterward, Joan is taken in by distant relatives.