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A Perfect World (1993)

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A kidnapped boy strikes up a friendship with his captor: an escaped convict on the run from the law, headed by an honorable U.S. Marshal.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
T.J. Lowther ...
Phillip 'Buzz' Perry
...
Terry Pugh
...
Tom Adler
...
Dick Suttle
...
Bobby Lee
...
Bradley
...
Gladys Perry
Leslie Flowers ...
Naomi Perry
Belinda Flowers ...
Ruth Perry
...
Mr. Hughes
Jay Whiteaker ...
Billy Reeves
Taylor Suzanna McBride ...
Tinkerbell
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Storyline

After escaping from a Huntsville prison, convict Butch Haynes and his partner Terry Pugh kidnap a young boy, Philip Perry, and flee across Texas. As they travel together, Butch and Philip discover common bonds and suffer the abuses of the outside "Perfect World." In pursuit is Texas Ranger "Red" Garnett and criminologist Sally Gerber. Written by James Yu <jamestyu@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 November 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un mundo perfecto  »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£3,034,130 (UK) (14 January 1994)

Gross:

$31,160,784 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of Clint Eastwood's favorite films that he has directed. See more »

Goofs

Terry Pugh fires his revolver two times at the kidnap site, two times at the water tank and shoots two bullets through the car roof. So the revolver is empty when Phillip has to aim it at Pugh. When Pugh recovers the revolver he checks to see whether it is really empty. It is, but not only the bullets but also the empty shells are gone. See more »

Quotes

Chief Red Garnett: [interrupting a confrontation] How you take your steak, Sally?
Sally Gerber: Rare.
Chief Red Garnett: Well, I'll just wipe its ass, hurl it through and you can tear off a slab. How'd that be?
Sally Gerber: On second thought, maybe medium-rare.
See more »

Connections

References Martin's Day (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Sea of Heartbreak
Written by Hal David and Paul Hampton
Performed by Don Gibson
Courtesy of the RCA Records Label of BMG Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Undervalued a decade ago, this film is better than Eastwood's other heralded directorial efforts.
24 July 2004 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Do not confuse any of the archived reviews by national critics labeling this movie as "mediocre" and merely "watchable" as accurate statements. This movie is one of Eastwood's most interesting and controlled efforts behind the camera. There is less blatant scenery chewing in "A Perfect World" than contained in Eastwood's unduly praised "Mystic River." And although "Unforgiven" brought Eastwood an Oscar, "A Perfect World" is much more effective in its employment of Eastwood's usual methodical pacing and his ability create empathy for men who are "bad, but not the worst" of society.

For those that are not Costner-philes, this is one of the few movies that viewers should be unable to find ways to deride Costner as an actor. Costner's performance as Butch is by far the best of his career. Actually, it would be better to note that his performance is nomination worthy (er... was) simply for the fact that I know many people view Costner as a flat actor that is not really on par with other actors of his generation. The scenes between Costner and his young costar are extremely interesting. Butch is given almost all the dialogue because eight-year-old Phillip is more or less a pupil of Butch's (or surrogate son if one thinks of the blatant implications); thus, this movie almost entirely belongs to Costner and the development of his character and he does a pitch perfect job.

The movie itself has some simplicities in its other characters, such as Eastwood's Ranger, Dern's criminologist, and the gaggle of law enforcement personal tracking Costner's character. John Lee Hancock's script is not the strongest when focusing in on their additions to the narrative. Plus there are some overly simplistic social commentaries on the role of the penal system, but those are far outweighed by the mass of the film. And Eastwood works around the few weaknesses of the script much better than he did in Hancock's adaptation of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

Considering that Eastwood is a competent director who has created mostly middling works or has been praised for efforts that are far exceeded by the scripts themselves, such as "Unforgiven" and "Mystic River," "A Perfect World" is quite a good film. Also of note is the cinematography and framing of all the shots. Almost all of Eastwood's films, regardless of the shot and lighting conventions of the genres in which he has worked, are terribly sloppy and poor in their presentation. Jack N. Green has been his longtime cinematographer of choice; therefore, it is not as if a new voice was thrown into the mix adding to the success of this film visually in comparison with Eastwood's other works. Nonetheless, Eastwood succeeds in much of his direction in this film and

Costner's performance makes this film a nice little gem that was undervalued a decade ago.


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