A Perfect World (1993)

PG-13  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  24 November 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 55,015 users  
Reviews: 121 user | 57 critic

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


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


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 November 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un mundo perfecto  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£3,034,130 (UK) (14 January 1994)


£4,092,432 (UK) (4 February 1994)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Clint Eastwood was not originally going to act in the movie - Kevin Costner talked him into it. See more »


When Butch is at Dotty's restaurant talking to the waitress, his glass suddenly goes from less than half full to three-quarters full between shots. See more »


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 »


Referenced in Heaven (2002) See more »


Please Help Me, I'm Falling (in Love with You)
Written by Don Robertson and Hal Blair
Performed by Hank Locklin
Courtesy of the RCA Records Label of BMG Music
See more »

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User Reviews

A Perfect World Is Perfectly Watchable!
27 September 2003 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Some aspects of this film work better than others, but overall A PERFECT WORLD is a highly watchable film. Kevin Costner delivers a fine performance as escaped convict Butch Haynes. The film primarily focuses on the relationship between Haynes and an innocent 8 year old boy named Phillip whom he kidnaps and befriends (well played by TJ Lowther). Haynes has killed two people thus far and gives the impression of a being a loose cannon, but Eastwood evokes sympathy for the character as the audience learns about Haynes troubled childhood (raised without a father by a prostitute mother - killed a man by the age of 8) and observe his genuine care and concern for the boy. Their relationship is reminiscent of Allan Ladd and the young boy in SHANE. As he slowly feeds us more information about Hayne's history, and lets the audience wrestle with its ambivalent feelings towards Costner's character, Eastwood keeps the film moving with lots of close brushes with the law, car chases and shoot'em ups.

Where the film doesn't work quite is when Eastwood himself is in front of the camera, playing a minor role - Chief Red Garnett - a Texas Ranger who's in charge of Haynes' capture. The primary function of his character, and Laura Dern's (who plays Sally Gerber - a criminologist the Governor forces upon the Chief) in the script is to supply further information about Haynes' past. Unfortunately, Eastwood tries to flesh out the relationship between these characters through antagonistic chauvinist attitudes towards Gerber and creating a power struggle between the two which (big surprise!) over the course of the film, gradually leads to a mutual respect between them! Granted Eastwood and Dern have marquee value - especially Eastwood, are fine in their roles, and, of course, chauvinism was alive and well in 1960's Texas, but I mostly found these minor subplots annoying and unnecessary. It's the scenes and issues focusing on Costner's character that are the life blood of this picture. This criticism aside, Eastwood does a solid job directing, weaving action, suspense and thought provoking human drama into a well knit weave and Costner delivers one of the best acting performances of his career.

7 1/2 out of 10

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