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Sling Blade (1996)

R | | Drama | 14 March 1997 (USA)
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Karl Childers, a simple man hospitalized since his childhood murder of his mother and her lover, is released to start a new life in a small town.

Director:

Billy Bob Thornton

Writers:

Billy Bob Thornton (play), Billy Bob Thornton (screenplay)
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Popularity
1,318 ( 136)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Bob Thornton ... Karl Childers
Dwight Yoakam ... Doyle Hargraves
J.T. Walsh ... Charles Bushman
John Ritter ... Vaughan Cunningham
Lucas Black ... Frank Wheatley
Natalie Canerday ... Linda Wheatley
James Hampton ... Jerry Woolridge
Robert Duvall ... Karl's Father
Rick Dial Rick Dial ... Bill Cox
Brent Briscoe ... Scooter Hodges
Christine Renee Ward ... Melinda (as Christy Ward)
Sarah Boss Sarah Boss ... Marsha Dwiggins
Kathy Sue Brown Kathy Sue Brown ... Theresa Evans
Wendell Rafferty Wendell Rafferty ... Melvin
Bruce Hampton Bruce Hampton ... Morris (as Col. Bruce Hampton Ret.)
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Storyline

A partially handicapped man named Karl is released from a mental hospital, about 20 years after murdering his mother and another person. Karl is often questioned if he will ever kill again, and he shrugs in response saying there is no reason to. Now out of the mental institution, Karl settles in his old, small hometown, occupying himself by fixing motors. After meeting a young boy named Frank, who befriends him, Karl is invited to stay at Frank's house with his mother Linda, who views Karl as a strange but kind and generous man. However, Linda's abusive boyfriend, Doyle, sees things differently in the way rules ought to be run- normally insulting Linda's homosexual friend Vaughan as well as Karl's disabilities, and having wild parties with his friends. As Karl's relationship with Frank grows, he is watchful of Doyle's cruel actions. Written by commanderblue

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes a hero comes from the most unlikely place. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, including descriptions of violent and sexual behavior | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 March 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sling Blade See more »

Filming Locations:

Haskell, Arkansas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,139, 1 December 1996

Gross USA:

$24,444,121

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,444,121
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Miramax, Shooting Gallery See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Karl was named after Billy Bob Thornton's special needs cousin, who died a month before Billy Bob wrote the movie. See more »

Goofs

When Randy, one of the guitarists, reacts to Doyle's demands to leave, Randy is seen from behind putting on his coat. However, when he walks out the door, the coat is draped over his arm. See more »

Quotes

Vaughan Cunningham: I'm just going to say it. I'm gay. Does that surprise you that I'm gay? You know what gay is, don't you?
Karl: I don't reckon.
Vaughan Cunningham: [quietly] Homosexual. I like men sexually.
Karl: Not funny 'ha-ha', funny queer.
Vaughan Cunningham: Well that's a very offensive way to put it. You shouldn't say that. You were taught that, weren't you?
Karl: I've heard it said that a-way.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits start about 18 minutes into the film. See more »


Soundtracks

Softly and Tenderly
(uncredited)
Written by Will L. Thompson
[Sung by the congregation after the baptism]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Billy Bob's Break
3 March 2007 | by Smells_Like_CheeseSee all my reviews

I was watching I love the 90's with my sister last night and the mentioned Sling Blade, I remember trying to watching this when I was younger, but I couldn't get through it. Figuring now that I'm a little older to give it a chance and I'm glad I did, I just watched it last night and I was extremely impressed with the fact that this was Billy Bob's first movie, not only did he act in it, but he also wrote and directed it as well. It was like Forrest Gump meets Silence of the Lambs, it was a movie that kept your nerves up and your curiosity going into what would happen next.

Karl is a slow man who has just been released from the mental institution for killing his mom and her boyfriend when he was a child. When he is released into town, he has no where to stay, but then he meets a young boy who he befriends, the boy has no father and asks his mom if Karl can stay with them, she agrees to it. But their lives are far from perfect, they have an extremely abusive man in their lives, Doyle, who threatens their lives on a daily basis. Karl wants to protect them, but it may lead him back into the life that he was just told he was "well" from.

Sling Blade is a very well acted movie that despite it's length, it keeps you going. The characters are so well thought out, it's hard to choose who was the break out actor of the film. But Billy in his first major role, he was just amazing, he looked so calm and relaxing, but yet you didn't know what he was going to do next. John Ritter was also amazing, his character was so sympathetic and beautiful. I would highly recommend this movie, it's a terrific dark drama that deserves it's praise.

9/10


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