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Killer of Sheep (1978)

 |  Drama  |  20 June 2008 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,100 users   Metascore: 94/100
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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 & 2 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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



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
See  »

Did You Know?


Completed in 1975, not released until 1977. 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 ...
See more »


Mean Old World
Written by Little Walter (as Walter Jacobs)
Performed by Little Walter
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User Reviews

This bitter earth
24 January 2012 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Yes, can be cold. Young, soon too old. What a wonderful song and film as this song.

This is the picture here; a life of drab, interminable drudgery, hard work when it does come by and small pleasure, perhaps only the slow dance before the window. They will tell you the attempt here is for neorealism, and you will maybe note how the palette and commentary has been later studied by other prominent directors, black or not. Not so here. Our gain is that it's by a filmmaker who still hasn't learned too much about the craft to lose the innocence of looking and the commitment to keep doing so. Who doesn't have a hell of a lot to say and just wants to film. And who maybe knows this life and neighborhood intimately enough to take us to where it's ordinary and real.

All things considered, it's an evocative portrait of life at the outskirts. It's raw and affective in ways that Malick had to train himself over the years to accomplish. And that Jarmusch and Gordon Green (George Washington) only mechancically repeated in later years. It is about nothing in the sense that every life is, there is no story outside what we choose to remember as one.

So this earth can be cold. But maybe not so bitter after all. It's a moment of happiness that new life is finally on the way. Are they crazy? Who'd be happy to bring a child into this? Things don't work when they should, it's all an uphill struggle to even drive to the racetrack. Love grows distant and sullen. But the kids are playing everywhere you can find them. Young, soon too old. But happy that each one gets to go through it this once?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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