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Killer of Sheep (1978)

Stan works in drudgery at a slaughterhouse. His personal life is drab. Dissatisfaction and ennui keep him unresponsive to the needs of his adoring wife, and he must struggle against ... See full summary »



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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Stan (as Henry Gayle Sanders)
Stan's Wife
Charles Bracy ...
Stan's Daughter
Eugene Cherry ...
Stan's Son
Delores Farley
Dorothy Stengel
Tobar Mayo
Chris Terrill
Lawrence Pierott
Russell Miles
Homer Jai
Johnny Smoke


Stan works in drudgery at a slaughterhouse. His personal life is drab. Dissatisfaction and ennui keep him unresponsive to the needs of his adoring wife, and he must struggle against influences which would dishonor and endanger him and his family. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

20 June 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Matador de ovejas  »

Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$31,728 (USA) (6 April 2007)


$339,884 (USA) (19 October 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Burnett encountered actor Henry G. Sanders in the elevator of the building where he worked. He immediately asked him to do a screen test for the film, because he found he had an unusual face. See more »


After Stan and his friend load the engine block on the truck, they drive away and it falls out, and a car is then seen parked along the curb. The car was not there when they carried the engine out. See more »


Man: [first lines]
Man: [to his older son] You let anyone jump on your brother again, and you just stand and watch - boy, I'll beat you to death! I don't care who started what, or whether he was winnin' or losin'; well, you get a thick oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, a goddam brick, get *anything*, and you knock the shit out of whoever fightin' your brother! 'Cause if anything was to happen to me or your mother, you ain't got nobody except your brother. And this goes for him, too - and he knows! You're the one that keep ...
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Shake Hands
Written by Joseph L. Morris (uncredited)
Performed by Faye Adams
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User Reviews

Remarkable independent portrayal of Black urban life...
11 April 2000 | by (Cambridge, USA) – See all my reviews

Somewhat reactionary to the black exploitation films that usually define the Black cinema experience in the 70's, Killer of Sheep presents a realistic portrait of a Black urban L.A. community. Burnett's method of telling a story, using the camera in the most unobtrusive manner, enlivens the film and draws the viewer into a world not frequently seen on film. Stan, the depressed insomniac lower middle-class worker struggles to provide for his family, love his wife and maintain responsibility to his community while haunted by the historical futility and impotence of the African American male. In Killer of Sheep, Burnett aptly demonstrates his knowledge of the cinema aesthetic and his proficiency with the camera while telling a most compelling story about the Black experience in America.

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