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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


Life is a terrible thing to sleep through. 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?


This film is John C. Reilly's eighth movie appearance. See more »


While Becky and Gilbert are talking, she's wet up to her chest, but her hair is dry. When Gilbert walks into the water towards Becky, her hair is wet for just a moment, then in the next shot it's dry again. See more »


Arnie Grape: I killed him Gilbert , I killed him!
See more »


Referenced in All the Pieces Together (2004) See more »


Music from "Sorry, Wrong Number"
by Franz Waxman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The family that binds us
8 March 2006 | by (the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids) – See all my reviews

Truly, this is one beautiful movie. It doesn't go for cheap tears but in the end you must feel something, otherwise you simply don't have a heart. It's about a town, Endora, where nothing ever happens. In that town live the Grapes, a fatherless family that consists of a mother of elephant-like proportions, two sisters and two brothers (one of them being retarded).

All the acting ranks from very good to excellent. Johnny Depp is so lovable as Gilbert Grape, the twenty-year-old son who tries to do good for everyone but doesn't know quite what he wants for himself yet. Leonardo DiCaprio is simply amazing as the retarded Arnie. He rightfully got an Oscar-nomination for his roll. At the time I saw this movie, I didn't know him yet, so at some moments I actually thought that he really could be a retarded actor (that's a big complement, isn't it?).

The plot isn't too spectacular, but keeps you interested 'cause actually a lot of things do happen to certain character's in this sleepy town. A lot of things the characters say and do seem superficial, but actually aren't meaningless as they lead to other events in the story. And the arrival of Becky (Juliette Lewis) and her mother make things interesting for Gilbert. The ending is unexpected, very solid and sad. And then there's the little epilogue...

This simply is a great movie: Good story, good acting, good directing. And that's all it takes. Watch it and allow yourselves to be moved by the Grapes.

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