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What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama | 4 March 1994 (USA)
1:54 | Trailer

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After his father's death, Gilbert has to care for his mentally disabled brother, Arnie, and his morbidly obese mother, which is suddenly challenged when love walks into his life.



(novel), (screenplay)
826 ( 162)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Laura Harrington ...
Penelope Branning ...
Susan Loughran ...
Robert B. Hedges ...
Minister (as Rev. Robert B. Hedges)
Mark Jordan ...


What's Eating Gibert Grape is a beautifully shot movie of tenderness, caring and self-awareness that is set amongst the fictional working class one street town Endora. Centred around the Grape family Ellen and Amy and their two brothers Arnie and Gilbert, who, along with their morbidly obese widowed mother Bonnie Grape are striving to survive and coexist with the absence of a father figure, low wage work and seventeen-year-old Arnie's severe mental condition. It is in this awkward and extremely one sided affair that the unfortunate Gilbert has to constantly, while working for the town's slowly dying convenience store, take care of his younger brother Arnie. Gilbert's life, his future, is thwarted he knows this, but it is in this guardian angel that his love and bond for Arnie cannot, and will not, be let go. That is until the free spirit of Becky arrives in town, and with her grandmother are stranded for the week while waiting for parts for their vehicle. This realization unties new ... Written by Cinema_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Arnie knows a secret. His big brother Gilbert is the greatest person on the planet. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for elements of mature subject matter | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 March 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gilbert Grape  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)


$9,170,214 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


John C. Reilly and Crispin Glover both appeared together in 9 (2009), where Reilly played 5 and Glover played 6. They also appeared together in an episode of Drunk History (2007), where Reilly played Nikola Tesla and Glover played Thomas Edison. See more »


When Gilbert is eating watermelon, the first couple of shots show only two seeds. Then when the camera goes back to him once again, there are a lot of seeds, yet this is supposed to be the same piece. See more »


Gilbert: We don't really move. I mean, we'd like to, but... my mom is sort of attached to the house. Attached is, I guess, not the right word. She's pretty much wedged in.
See more »


Referenced in Kicking and Screaming (1995) See more »


This Magic Moment
by Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman
Performed by The Manor High School Marching Band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

can you believe Leo is not brain damaged?!
26 November 2004 | by (Jackson,Ms. USA) – See all my reviews

As many have said, the first time I saw this slice of "unusual" life film, I was certain that the actor playing Arnie was mentally handicapped. This was the performance to end all. I have been around mentally challenged people who were the carbon copy of the character that Leonardo portrayed. I do no think that anyone else could have pulled this off without looking ridiculous. Our protagonist, Mr. Johnny Depp did his usual amazing work, but it is the performance by Leo that makes this film a must see. I just saw it again tonight, and was blown away again. Acting schools must have copies of this in their files!! Will always be a Leo fan for this one film alone.

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Still Leonardo's best performance yet. paulwaabenammentorp
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