A Family Thing (1996)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  29 March 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,602 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 26 user | 26 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

Earl Pilcher Jr., runs an equipment rental outfit in Arkansas, lives with his wife and kids and parents, and rarely takes off his gimme cap. His mother dies, leaving a letter explaining ... See full summary »


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3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Aunt T.
Mary Jackson ...
James N. Harrell ...
Earl Pilcher Sr. (as James Harrell)
Lauren Leigh Phillips ...
Ashleigh Jordan ...
Sandra Quarterman ...
Young Aunt T. (as Saundra Quarterman)
Patrice Pitman Quinn ...
Willa Mae
Don James ...
Junior Turner


Earl Pilcher Jr., runs an equipment rental outfit in Arkansas, lives with his wife and kids and parents, and rarely takes off his gimme cap. His mother dies, leaving a letter explaining he's not her natural son, but the son of a Black woman who died in childbirth; plus, he has a half brother Ray, in Chicago, she wants him to visit. Earl makes the trip, initially receiving a cold welcome from Ray and Ray's son, Virgil. His birth mother's sister, Aunt T., an aged and blind matriarch, takes Earl in tow and insists that the family open up to him. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


United Artists Pictures invites you on a journey... you will not soon forget. See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language, brief violence and a childbirth scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

29 March 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un asunto de familia  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$10,118,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Robert Duvall plays a bigot coming to grips with the fact that he has previously unknown black ancestry and relatives. Duvall's real family tree includes the fact that he is distantly related (eighth cousins twice removed) to Barack Obama, the first black U.S. President, albeit through Obama's mother Stanley Ann Dunham, who was white. See more »


When Virgil and Ray are saying goodbye for the first time in front of Ray's house. Virgil is standing behind the car and the car moves before the engine starts. The next frame shows the car still in place then moving forward. See more »


Earl Pilcher, Jr.: Being happy ain't nothin' more than havin' something to look forward to.
See more »


Features Red Dawn (1984) See more »


Gonna Get Faded
Written by Les Pierce
Produced by Nick Trevisick and Les Pierce
Performed by Les Pierce
See more »

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User Reviews

Poignant, intimate movie
3 June 2001 | by (Bronxville, NY) – See all my reviews

Robert Duvall is great as the Southern man who is in for a surprise when his daddy dies. James Earl Jones matches him ever step of the way in magnificent interaction. But Irma P. Hall as the mother, really steals the film. If you haven't seen this, rent it. If it doesn't make you cry and laugh, you have no emotions.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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