The Master (2013)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 17 mins

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After returning from the Second World War, having witnessed many horrors, a charismatic intellectual creates a faith-based organization in an attempt to provide meaning to his life. He becomes known as "The Master". His right-hand man, a former drifter, begins to question both the belief system and The Master as the organization grows and gains a fervent following.
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Did you know? Amanda Seyfried, Emma Stone and Deborah Ann Woll were considered for the role of Elizabeth during the production stage in 2010. Read More
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Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actress
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Supporting Actress
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Supporting Actress
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor
Supporting Actor



Story Writer
Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Sound Effects Editor
Boom Operator


Production Designer
Set Decorator


Casting Director

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer


Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist

Special Effects

Special Effects Coordinator
Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Datasat Digital Sound, Dolby Digital
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Archival Source:
QubeVault (Real Image Media Technologies) [Digital]
In the "pacing" scene, as Quell goes from wooden paneled wall to window and back, the second time he goes to he wooden paneling, he breaks out a panel when he pounds it with rage. In the numerous successive shots, the wood panel is restored.

When Freddie starts undergoing processing at Helen's house, Lancaster Dodd has a handkerchief in his left hand but as the camera switches to a different angle, the handkerchief has shifted to his right hand.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Lancaster Dodd is challenged by a skeptic, the shadow of a boom microphone is visible on the wall behind Dodd.

Errors in Geography
The architectural style of the house where they stay in Philadelphia is known as California craftsman, which is not found anywhere in or near Philadelphia.

Factual Mistake
Although some of the nurses in the hospital scenes could have been at a V.A., the doctors could not. The V.A. is not staffed by military, and the doctors do not wear military uniforms.

Factual Mistake
At the beginning of the film, when the end of WW-II is announced (August 15, 1945) the United Nations did not yet exist. It was established October 24, 1945.
During the jail cell scene, Joaquin Phoenix breaks a real toilet. His actions were entirely improvised. Due to the historical past of the building where the scene took place, the toilet was considered "historical." Joaquin had no intentions to break the toilet, nor did he think it was possible.

After a few days of shooting, Paul Thomas Anderson noticed that Joaquin Phoenix would use the whole space where they were filming, even if it was outside the marks, so he told the lightning crew to have the whole space ready to follow Phoenix with the camera if necessary.

Drinking Jug-Juice, the NAVY slang for imbibing fuel mixed with cans of fruit, was detailed by the staff of the Aircraft Carrier, USS Hornet Museum - one of the locations utilized for the shoot. The scene in which Freddie gets ethanol out of the torpedo on the ship is also based on a true story told by Jason Robards to Paul Thomas Anderson.

Paul Thomas Anderson has acknowledged that L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology served as partial basis for the character of Lancaster Dodd and his cult, "The Cause." This revelation sparked much discussion in the press, as the Church of Scientology has a long history of litigation against critics of Hubbard. Though the Church released no official comment on the film, Anderson claims that when he screened the film for his friend Tom Cruise an outspoken Scientology advocate, Cruise erupted with anger, specifically objecting to scenes where Dodd's son Val admits that Dodd made up the tenants of "The Cause," which parallel's real-life admissions by Hubbard's son. Anderson has admitted to a heated exchange with Cruise, though both the actor and director have kept details of their argument, and the outcome private.

The trailers for the film were edited by Paul Thomas Anderson himself without any permission from the studio. The trailers were notable for consisting mostly of footage not featured in the final cut of the film.

The primary influence for the film was John Huston's 1946 Documentary: Let There Be Light (1946). Director Paul Thomas Anderson has stated that he was taking material from the film "left, right, and center". Producer JoAnne Sellar has also stated that they also used the film as a reference for production design and costume design.

Philip Seymour Hoffman had his first drink in 23 years at the wrap party for this film, leading to a relapse of his alcoholism.

The Rorschach "Ink Blot" cards in the hospital scene with the psychologist are real ones. However, he skips from card I to card IV which violates the very strict rules of Rorschach administration.

The very first line in the film, where Freddie is talking on the beach, was entirely improvised.

Paul Thomas Anderson initially wanted to put his own children in the film during the early scenes set at the portrait studio, but he decided against it because his mixed-race children did not have a period appropriate look.

Paul Thomas Anderson wanted a workprint to match the Avid cut, so he had his editors assemble the physical film daily to match the digital edit by hand. Anderson also bypassed the use of a Digital Intermediate instead color grading the film with a photochemical timer, which resulted in a higher film resolution due to less manipulation of the filmed image.

The ship carrying the cult is named "Alethia", the Greek word for "Truth".

In order to achieve the effect of clenching his mouth and talking out of one side, Joaquin Phoenix had his dentist attach metal plates to his teeth with rubber bands to hold them shut. The rubber bands weren't strong enough to hold his mouth shut, so he removed them. But the metal plates, complete with screws that slightly cut up the inside of his cheek, were enough of a constant reminder that it allowed him to play that aspect of the character.

The jail cell scene that is used in the film was the first take of the scene. Three takes were filmed.

According to the editor of the film, Leslie Jones, the hardest part of post-production for the film was the editing of the Window to the Wall sequence.

Jillian Bell was cast in the film because Paul Thomas Anderson was a fan of her show Workaholics.

The decision to shoot in 65mm came from a desire to replicate the look of photos taken by vintage Pressman cameras, which use large-format 4x5-inch film. This also led to the use of the narrower 1.85:1 aspect ratio (65mm has a native aspect ratio of 2.2:1). Anderson initially suggested shooting the film in VistaVision, and test footage was shot in that format, but the shallow-focus effect was not pronounced enough.

The Master is Philip Seymour Hoffman's last film with Paul Thomas Anderson following his untimely death in 2014. Hoffman acted in 5 of Anderson's films.

The first motion picture in 16 years to be filmed on 65mm format using Panavision's System 65 camera. Around 85% of the film was shot in this format, with the rest shot on 35mm. The last full-length motion picture to be shot in 65/70mm was Kenneth Branagh's 1996 adaptation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet (1996).

Jeremy Renner was originally going to play Freddy when the film was prepped to shoot years ago, but when financing fell through, and Joaquin Phoenix was available following his I'm Still Here (2010) project, the filmmakers were able to cast him.

Paul Thomas Anderson's first feature film to be in 1.85 aspect ratio, all his previous films were in 2.35.

Freddie hails from Lynn, Massachusetts, which is also where director Paul Thomas Anderson's father, Ernie Anderson was born.

Reese Witherspoon was considered to play Peggy during the production stage in 2010. Eventually, Amy Adams was cast.

The first Paul Thomas Anderson film for which Robert Elswit isn't the cinematographer. He was unavailable, having already signed on to shoot The Bourne Legacy (2012).

James Franco was rumoured to be linked for the role of Freddie Quell.

This marked Philip Seymour Hoffman's fourth and final Oscar nomination.

Amanda Seyfried, Emma Stone and Deborah Ann Woll were considered for the role of Elizabeth during the production stage in 2010.