Convicts (1991)

 |  Drama  |  6 December 1991 (USA)
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In 1902 Texas, 13-year-old Horace goes to work on old Soll's farm to earn enough money to buy a headstone for his father's grave. Unfortunately for Horace, Soll's senility, ill health, and ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Soll Gautier
Ben Johnson
Martha Johnson
Calvin Levels ...
Mel Winkler ...
Sherman Edwards
Bob Edmundson ...
Overseer (as Robert Edmundson)
John McConnell ...
Guard #1
Jerry Biggs ...
Guard #2
Martin F. Schacker ...
Guard #3
Walter Breaux Jr. ...
Singing Convict
Tony Frank ...


In 1902 Texas, 13-year-old Horace goes to work on old Soll's farm to earn enough money to buy a headstone for his father's grave. Unfortunately for Horace, Soll's senility, ill health, and obsession with the convict labor he uses to work the farm, make it unlikely that Horace will ever be paid the $12.50 Soll owes him for 6 months work. Written by

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Release Date:

6 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Horton Foote's Convicts  »

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Did You Know?


When Soll thinks he hears someone in the closet he shoots three times and we see three bullet holes. But when Jackson opens the closet door to investigate, there are four holes. See more »


Horace Robedaux: Martha, are you afraid of dying?
Martha Johnson: No, I ain't afraid. Just not ready to go yet.
See more »


Followed by Lily Dale (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Slight movie has some appeal
19 September 2011 | by (Boulder, CO) – See all my reviews

Soll (Robert Duval) is a sugar plantation owner in southern Texas, 1902. We catch up with him on the last day of his life when he is not doing so well, having become quite senile. He repeats himself, relives old events, asks the same questions multiple times (getting the same answers). As might be expected, Duval creates a believable character, but I have to admit that spending an hour and a half with Soll served mainly to convince me of how difficult it would be to deal with such a person.

I wasn't there, so I don't know what things were like in southern Texas at the turn of the century, but the atmosphere created in this movie struck me as believable. I had never understood that some of the southern plantations were sugar cane plantations, so that was interesting to see portrayed. At the time of this movie the workers in the field were leased convicts, almost exclusively black. It seems that over three decades after the Civil War the only change in plantation workers was from slaves to leased convicts, who were treated as slaves. Soll did trust one black man (played by James Earl Jones) to help run the plantation. You got the feeling from this film that a certain era was slowly nearing an end from a time when people like Soll proudly wore his Confederate uniform and convicts were treated like slaves to somewhat better times (convict leasing was abolished in Texas in 1910). Soll can be seen as a symbol for a way of life that had grown old and no longer viable.

I was impressed with how Horace, a teenage white boy in the house, was so patient with Sol. The relationship between Soll and Horace was a key element in the movie--as one man was leaving the earth a young man who was more understanding and patient was taking his place. I imagine Horace's experiences on the plantation were something for him to sort through for the rest of his life, particularly the racial issues.

The movie is based on a play and much of it gives evidence to that fact.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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