6.2/10
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88 user 46 critic

Needful Things (1993)

A mysterious new shop opens in a small town which always seems to stock the deepest desires of each shopper, with a price far heavier than expected.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Leland Gaunt (as Max Von Sydow)
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Nettie Cobb
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Father Meehan (as W. Morgan Sheppard)
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Eric Schneider ...
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Storyline

Castle Rock, New England, is a nice place to live and grow and Sheriff Alan Pangborn moves from the big city to the town expecting a quiet life. When Leland Gaunt opens the store Needful Things, he seems to have the object of desire for each dweller. He charges small amounts to the things but requests a practical joke for each of them against another inhabitant. Soon hell breaks loose in town with deaths, violence and riot and Sheriff Pangborn discovers that Leland Gaunt is the devil himself. Further, Gaunt is manipulating the population like puppets exploring the weakness and greed of each person. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and strong language | See all certifications »

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 August 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Begærets butik  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$5,202,478 (USA) (29 August 1993)

Gross:

$15,185,672 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sheriff Alan Pangborn, played here by Ed Harris, also appears in The Dark Half (1993), released earlier the same year, in which the part is played by Michael Rooker. See more »

Goofs

There are inconsistencies in how Polly's arthritis is portrayed. When she introduces herself to Mr. Gaunt, she says she doesn't shake hands; later, she is unable to put on the silver charm; and the degree of her pain is frequently alluded to in dialog. However, she is shown carrying a nearly full coffee pot, carrying a cup and saucer, holding a phone receiver: a person with advanced arthritis would be unable to do any of those things. See more »

Quotes

[Alan is trying to break up an argument between Deputy Norris and Danforth]
Alan: You know, guys, I moved here and I thought, Great! I'm outta the big city and I'm finally in a place where everybody isn't gonna be crawling up everybody's asshole every day! A place where maybe my biggest nightmare is gonna be getting some goddamn cat out of a tree! But forget that! EVERYBODY IS INSANE, EVERYWHERE!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Great Balls Of Fire
Written by Otis Blackwell, Jack Hammer
Performed by Jerry Lee Lewis
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Markets
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Could have been better, could have been worse
20 August 2006 | by (Austria, Vienna) – See all my reviews

"Needful Things" is a typical mediocre Stephen King adaptation. The drawn out book itself isn't among King's best work. Still, the fascination of the story lies in the detail and that had to be trimmed down for a 2 hours-movie version (there is another cut of the movie that's one hour longer, by the way). A lot of things had to be kicked out, but there was way too much changing around of events, items and characters. Ace Merril, a very important character for the novel's big finale, was ignored completely, for instance. I could understand things like that if they improved the movie. Kubrick made a lot of changes with his version of "Shining" and at least one could see why. With "Needful Things" the changes seem totally random and that's rather annoying for someone who has read the book.

If you don't know the story beforehand the movie will probably still seem rushed. You can't really make a connection with the many characters and Sheriff Alan Pangborn finding out what's going on in the town seems unbelievable. It didn't really work in the book, but in the movie it's just stupid that he would draw such far fetched conclusions so quickly.

The acting, on the other hand, is solid. Max von Sydow is a good choice for the part of Leland Gaunt, and Ed Harris is great as ever, although he has to work with a rather mediocre script. The sidecharacters are okay for the most part, even though Polly Chalmers and Wilma Jerzyck are maybe exaggerated.

Unlike a lot of latter King adaptations this one seems to have been made with a decent budget. The locations look good and there are a few nice special effects. At times the explosions and the score can be too much, though. It's as if director Fraser Clarke Heston realized his movie wasn't turning out as exciting as he hoped, so he decided to blow it up with some dramatic music and fire.

Well, as I've said in the headline. This movie could have been a lot better, but it could also have been a complete failure. As it is, it's good for one viewing but if you've read the novel you're going to be disappointed.


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