On Tuesday, the cult classic film Donnie Darko passed 20 years since its first theatrical release. Jake Gyllenhaal, who played Donnie, took to Instagram to celebrate the major milestone, showing fans that he still had the original script and some other memorabilia. Gyllenhaal posts a series of photos with his highlighted lines, Donnie’s letter to Roberta Sparrow, and even some old Polaroid photos. Alongside the post, he writes;

Pulled out my script and some artifacts from Donnie Darko… It was released 20 years ago today. It’s a film that changed my life and my career and it’s been unreal to watch this story find afterlives with new audiences and new generations, and yet, what Donnie said to Roberta Sparrow is still true: ‘there is so much to look forward to.’ Thank you to all the fans who’ve come up to me over the years with that confused look on their faces and asked me: ‘what the f**k is Donnie Darko about??’ Happy 20th Donnie! Let’s keep confusing people. Here’s to 20 more.”


Donnie Darko was a hit during the 2000s, making many people’s “best of all time” lists and cementing itself as a late-classic. Even 20 years later, the confusing and mind-bending film continues to resonate with younger generations, showcasing the transitional period of the late 80s, Raegan’s presidency, and the War on Drugs.

When asked about where Donnie Darko came from, director Richard Kelly stated, “I think it was very much an expression of my internal anxieties as an adolescent, first and foremost. It’s probably much more of an autobiographical film than people realize, and I’ve pretty much been able to reconcile that now that I’m much older.”