7.3/10
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55 user 25 critic

Places in the Heart (1984)

PG | | Drama | 5 October 1984 (USA)
In central Texas in the 1930s, a widow, with two small children, tries to run her small 40-acre farm with the help of two disparate people.

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Margaret Lomax
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Viola Kelsey
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Yankton Hatten ...
Frank
Gennie James ...
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Albert Denby
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Buddy Kelsey
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Tee Tot Hightower
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W.E. Simmons
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Ermine
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Wylie (as Devoreaux White)
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Storyline

Edna Spalding finds herself alone and broke on a small farm in the midst of the Great Depression when her husband the Sheriff is killed in an accident. A wandering black man, Moses, helps her to plant cotton to try and keep her farm and her kids together. She also takes on a blind boarder, Mr. Will, who lost his sight in the first World War. She must endure storms and harsh labor to try and make her mortgage payment on time. Written by Susan Southall <stobchatay@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a woman fighting for her children, for her land, for the greatest dream there is...the future.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 October 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Texas Project  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$34,901,614
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of numerous filmed collaborations of husband and wife Ed Harris and Amy Madigan. See more »

Goofs

When the sheriff is seen in the rail yard, the highway bridge in the background is constructed with precast concrete beams that had not been invented until many decades after the 1935 setting of this film. There are two plaques on this bridge. The first states that Historic Waxahachie, Inc. recognizes the bridge, built c. 1931, is worthy of preservation. The second plaque is a Department of Interior statement that the bridge, date 1931, is on the National Register of Historic Places. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Edna Spalding: [seeing her daughter's doll at the dinner table] Possum, put that up now.
Royce Spalding: Our Heavenly Father, bless this meal and all those who are about to receive it. Make us thankful for Your generous bounty, and Your unceasing love. Please remind us, in these hard times, to be grateful for what we have been given, and not to ask for what we can not have. And make us mindful of those less fortunate among us, as we sit at this table with all of Thy bounty. Amen.
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Soundtracks

In the Sweet By and By
Music by J.P. Webster (as Joseph P. Webster)
Lyrics by S. Fillmore Bennett
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User Reviews

 
Memorable Depression era tale of a rural Southern widow
15 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

This was a wonderful film which unfortunately I haven't seen for some years, so forget many of the subtleties. Sally Field is superb in the role of the Depression era Texas widow, Emma Spalding, and deserved her second Oscar which showed that yes, we really do like her. I always love this actress, who is especially compelling in the dramatic Norma Rae and charming in the romantic comedy, Murphy's Romance.

The film tells the tale of a good, kind, loving, and strong woman, the widow, Emma (who has been left with with two children to raise on her own) and the pair of disparate characters who help her to literally 'save the farm'...the black drifter, Moze, who plants her cotton, and the intriguing blind border, Mr. Will, that she is forced to take on to appease the nasty banker. Because of mortgage difficulties, Emma's farm and in fact, her life are always in the hands of the local bank manager. The unlikely bond between the trio (Emma, Moze, and Mr. Will) and their shared struggle is always the very heart of the film. There are, however, other local small town characters portrayed here, including a sub-plot revolving around a pair of married folk engaged in an adulterous affair.

It's all so much more meaningful than yet another film about a widow's romance. I don't know that the local couple's affair contributes much to the movie, unless, Hollywood style, there just had to be some sexual implications of some sort or other somewhere. Many others seem to agree that this sub-plot is superfluous.

The other major roles are well cast, with Danny Glover and John Malkovich sympathetically portraying respectively Moze and Mr. Wills. As for the man involved in the affair, Ed Harris (whom I actually kinda like) always does a brilliant job portraying any sort of somewhat sleazy character!

Memorable moments...One moving scene has lingered in my mind all these years, when the newly widowed Emma helps prepare the body of her sheriff husband, Royce, for burial. This is of course so alien to us today, when compared with our modern detached funeral parlors. There is an amazing tornado scene, wonderfully photographed, that brilliantly conveys the terror of the characters seeking shelter. Plenty of high drama there! The movie also has anti-racism themes, with a dramatic scenario involving some local Ku Klux Klan members or equivalent, in which Mr. Will plays a pivotal role. And a fabulous, touching scene where Emma dances at a community shindig with her young son, Frank. I recalled it vividly a few years later during a 'first dance' with my own son.

Certainly not an action flick, but a thoughtful, touching, heartwarming story with very sympathetic characters that will engage you and earn a place in YOUR heart. The movie has a quietly dramatic ending some have questioned, but I personally found it perfect. As another reviewer cleverly noted, it 'seals' the film.


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