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Courier Wood is a 1997 American Drama Thriller film written by Michael Cooney and directed by James Mangold starring James Spader, Julianne Moore, Uma Thurman, Doug Jones, Kenneth Branagh, Melissa Leo, Kurt Sutter, Kelly LeBrock, Bernie Mac, Ben Kingsley and Viola Davis.

The film's principal cast of youngsters consisted of Max Irons, Dave Franco, Daniel Sharman, Edwin Hodge and Freddie Highmore.

The film first screened at the 1997 Cairns film festival on April 19th, 1997 to phenomenal success and praise garnering it the Palm D'Or award nomination for truly moving picture.

BAFTA nominations also went to head actress Thurman and youngsters Irons and Franco who head up as the protagonist and antagonist respectively.

The film draws inspiration from Sir WIlliam Golding's acclaimed book Lord Of The Flies and deals with controversial elements of violence among children, sexual assault and disillusionment.

The film ran theatrically on April 29th, 1997 and was released on video and DVD format on September 16th, 1997, it later secured a blu-ray release on January 20th, 2010.

The film is set in Glasgow, England and was shot there over the hard winter of 1996.


The year is 1959 and six boys: James Harvey, Gavin Horvin, Colby Bennett, Blake Carasan, Lucas Brown and James Brown conspire to gather evidence to use against their all boy grammar school's P.E professor Coach Foster, whom has been sexually and physically abusing them and whom has resulted in the suicide of their friend and fellow student Harold Harper.

James comes from an uptight upper class family with two older brothers and an older sister, Gavin possesses a father who like their coach sexually and physically abuses him unbeknownst to his mother.

Colby is attending St. Peter's Grammar School on his mother's inheritance after she passed due to cancer and left him in the care of the physically abusive, drunk foreman boyfriend of hers.

Blake comes from two loving parents who despite their poverty were able to get him into St. Peter's on the mother's illicit activities with the school's dean.

The boys plan to break into Coach Foster's house to secure the evidence they need but Gavin has something completely different in mind.

Gavin decides to play a revenge prank on Coach Foster to scare him as penance for what he has done to them and their late friend.

The prank however results in Coach Foster taking a violent tumble down his house's lobby stairway and snapping his neck.

The boys flee the scene and run into the Courier Wood: a large woodland surrounding the Coach's out of the way home which borders on the St. Peter's running track he would constantly have them running on them.

As their parents desperatley seek to find them along with an officer Judy Truman who lost her only child, a 12 year old son to a paedophile who six years prior proceeded to abduct, sexually assault and slaughter him.

In the Courier the boys deteoriate into madness and anarchy, in particular James and Gavin who ignite a destructive conflict.

Gavin's paranoia leads to impulsive, murderous madness and James falls into disillusionment unable to distinguesh what is and what is not reality.

A bodycount rises as a powerful climax culminates between James and Gavin and he breaks down and confesses his father had also been sexually abusing him like Coach Foster.

They are discovered by Officer Truman who also discovers the bodies of Blake Carasan and Colby Bennett.

She deduces the killing of Colby Bennett was merely self-defence dealt out by James as he advanced him on Gavin's instructions and Blake's killing was a murder perpertrated by Gavin and Colby.

Jimmy's demise the result of accidental manslaughter as a heated argument broke out between him and his brother Lucas which resulted ultimately in his death, Lucas then afterwards unable to deal with being responsible for his brother's death commits suicide with Coach Foster's confiscated revolver.

Gavin is apprehended and sent to a juvenile detention centre whilest his father is discovered as being sexually and physically abusive which lands him in jail.


  • James Spader as Thomas Harvey
  • Julianne Moore as Ilene Harvey
  • Doug Jones as Lionel Bennett
  • Kenneth Branagh as Rueben Horvin
  • Melissa Leo as Jane Horvin
  • Kurt Sutter as Gordon Harper
  • Kelly LeBrock as Tamara Harper
  • Bernie Mac as Julius Carasan
  • Viola Davis as Elizabeth Carasan
  • Max Irons as James Harvey
  • Dave Franco as Gavin Horvin
  • Daniel Sharman as Colby Bennett
  • Kevin Connolly as Lucas Brown
  • Skylar Astin as James "Young Jimmy" Brown
  • Edwin Hodge as Blake Carasan
  • Freddie Highmore as the Boy Who Committed suicide Harold Harper
  • Uma Thurman as Officer Judy Truman
  • Ben Kingsley as Coach Foster


  1. Sweet Little Sixteen- Chuck Berry
  2. Tutti Fruitti- Little Richard
  3. Johnny B. Goode- Chuck Berry
  4. It's So Easy- Buddy Holly
  5. Mambo Rock- Bill Haley
  6. Rip It Up- Bill Haley
  7. Mona Lisa- Nat King Cole
  8. You Send Me- Sam Cooke
  9. You Belong To Me- Jo Stafford
  10. How High The Moon- Les Paul & Mary Ford
  11. The Little Drummer Boy- The Harry Simeone Chorale