8.0/10
75,183
310 user 104 critic

Sling Blade (1996)

R | | Drama | 14 March 1997 (USA)
Karl Childers, a simple man hospitalized since his childhood murder of his mother and her lover, is released to start a new life in a small town.

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(play), (screenplay)
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2,117 ( 62)

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ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Natalie Canerday ...
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Karl's Father
Rick Dial ...
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Melinda (as Christy Ward)
Sarah Boss ...
Kathy Sue Brown ...
Wendell Rafferty ...
Melvin
Bruce Hampton ...
Morris (as Col. Bruce Hampton Ret.)
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Storyline

A partially handicapped man named Karl is released from a mental hospital, about 20 years after murdering his mother and another person. Karl is often questioned if he will ever kill again, and he shrugs in response saying there is no reason to. Now out of the mental institution, Karl settles in his old, small hometown, occupying himself by fixing motors. After meeting a young boy named Frank, who befriends him, Karl is invited to stay at Frank's house with his mother Linda, who views Karl as a strange but kind and generous man. However, Linda's abusive boyfriend, Doyle, sees things differently in the way rules ought to be run- normally insulting Linda's homosexual friend Vaughan as well as Karl's disabilities, and having wild parties with his friends. As Karl's relationship with Frank grows, he is watchful of Doyle's cruel actions. Written by commanderblue

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A simple man. A difficult choice. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, including descriptions of violent and sexual behavior | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

14 March 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Resplandor en la noche  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$890,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$36,644 (USA) (29 November 1996)

Gross:

$24,475,416 (USA) (25 July 1997)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Karl says "Alright then" 19 times. See more »

Goofs

When Randy, one of the guitarists, reacts to Doyle's demands to leave, Randy is seen from behind putting on his coat. However, when he walks out the door, the coat is draped over his arm. See more »

Quotes

Bill Cox: [lawnmower won't start] Karl, see if you can figure out what's wrong with this. It won't crank up and everything seems to be put together right.
Karl: It ain't got no gas in it.
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Crazy Credits

Dedicated to Jimmy Don Thornton See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bowfinger (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Plunger
Written by Pete Anderson
Performed by Titty Twister
Courtesy of Peter Anderson & Jesse Lee Music (BMI)
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User Reviews

 
Probably one of Thornton's finest movies
25 August 2005 | by (Tessenderlo, Belgium) – See all my reviews

I guess the main reason why I wanted to see this movie was because it was written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, who also played a role in it. Even though the man hasn't really been able to prove a lot with his work as a director, I must say that I almost always appreciate him as an actor. He's perhaps not the most popular actor in Hollywood, but in my opinion he sure is one of the better ones.

In this movie he plays the role of Karl Childers, a grown, but simple man who is released from the psychiatric hospital where he has been hospitalized since the age of twelve. He had to stay in that hospital for so long because he murdered his own mother and her lover, believing that they were doing something wrong. He returns to the town where he lived the first twelve years of his life and it doesn't take long for him to get a job as a mechanic, fixing all kinds of small motors at a local repair shop. In the same town he also meets Frank, a young and friendly boy who immediately seems to like this strange man. Soon Karl is invited by Frank's mother to stay in their garage, much against the will of her alcoholic and abusive boyfriend Doyle. While Karl's friendship with Frank gets stronger, the tension between him and Doyle keeps building up, until reaching its final climax...

Now that I've finally seen this movie, I can only say that it's too bad that I didn't give it a try earlier. Especially thanks to the magnificent performance by Billy Bob Thornton, this is a movie that is more than just worth a watch. But also the other actors like Dwight Yoakam, Natalie Canerday,... did a very good job. The entire movie feels very realistic, is quite sober and never tries to be too dramatic. This is the kind of movie that could have become very preachy, but it hasn't and that's something that I really appreciate. Add to this some good directing and you know that Thornton has done a very nice job with this movie.

This isn't exactly a typical Hollywood movie, not in its story and certainly not in its approach towards the subject. This could easily have become some kind of cheesy TV-movie, but Billy Bob Thornton has made a very good movie out of it instead. I really appreciated his work as a director, actor and writer in this movie, liked the story and was intrigued by the acting of all the actors. That's why I give it a 7.5/10, maybe even an 8/10.


36 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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