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What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  4 March 1994 (USA)
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Reviews: 283 user | 72 critic

Gilbert has to care for his brother Arnie and his obese mother, which gets in the way when love walks into his life.



(novel), (screenplay)
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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 ...
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


A story about the love you find...in the last place you look. See more »


Drama | Romance

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?


Johnny Depp dared costar Leonardo DiCaprio to sniff a rancid pickled egg and paid DiCaprio $500 when he did. See more »


At the start Gilbert says his dad died 17 years ago but then says that his youngest sister, Ellen just turned 15. Therefore their dad could not have fathered Ellen. See more »


Gilbert: I had a nice time tonight.
Becky: I know.
See more »


Referenced in American Dad!: Tearjerker (2008) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Grateful for Gibert Grape!
29 July 2005 | by (New Orleans, La.) – See all my reviews

A remarkable film that once viewed, will leave an indelible impression on your heart, your mind, your spirit. Set in a run down, going nowhere town, amidst a population of largely rundown, going nowhere people, Gilbert Grape takes us on a journey through the everyday life of one family in which each member is struggling to find his identity. Johnny Depp as Gilbert is at his finest, sensitive and lovingly protective of his mentally challenged younger brother, Arnie, less understanding of the plight of his grossly overweight mother played brilliantly by Darlene Cates. Gilbert just wants a normal life, a life he seems resigned to being deprived of. He seeks solace in the attentions of a wandering housewife played by Mary Steenburgen. Enter Juliette Lewis as Becky, who captures his heart, personifying all the passion for life and freedom of spirit Gilbert aspires to. There are many memorable moments in this film, moments you cannot forget, but suffice it to say, What's Eating Gilbert Grape will leave you feeling grateful for everything you ever took for granted, especially those you love!

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