8.0/10
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313 user 105 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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2,268 ( 558)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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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Country:

Language:

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

Robert Duvall appearing as Karl's father was a kind turn to Billy Bob Thornton, who would play a small role in Duvall's The Apostle (1997) for free in exchange. See more »

Goofs

When Karl is talking to the Frostee Cream Boy, there are no cars on the road behind him. But whenever the camera is aimed at the Frostee Cream, there is a lot of traffic on the road reflected in the window. Billy Bob Thornton points out in the DVD commentary that this is because the local police had another pressing issue the day they filmed Jim Jarmusch, and they couldn't be there to stop traffic. See more »

Quotes

Charles Bushman: Karl, who'd you kill? Was it the boy?
Karl: Don't you say another word about that boy. Fact'o business, don't you say another word to me. I ain't listening to you no more.
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Crazy Credits

Dedicated to Jimmy Don Thornton See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Haunted House (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Softly and Tenderly
(uncredited)
Written by Will L. Thompson
[Sung by the congregation after the baptism]
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User Reviews

 
Convincing and thought provoking.
1 March 2004 | by (Washingtin, DC) – See all my reviews

Sling Blade is a very well acted, well displayed, and interesting masterpiece. I just loved it from beginning to end.

First I would like to comment on the excellent acting across the board, especially the late John Ritter and Billy Bob Thornton's ensemble portrayal of Karl. I could not help but feel very attached to Karl from the opening scene, his release from the mental institution, his struggles with the outside world, and how he related to the town people. Sling Blade is one of those movies that I would love to sit down and talk about for hours with a friend. I would also love to hear others' perspectives about what made this movie great.

It seems that every scene was worked to perfection. From the lighting and camera's viewpoint to the acting and music. I enjoyed every scene, but thought that three really stood out. Without giving too much away, they are as follows. No spoilers here:

1. Inside the house after band practice where Karl does not move from the couch.

2. When Karl is visited at work and we see him make eye contact for the first time.

3. The scene where Karl is in the garage late at night. The chilling music really captures the mood. My heart was pounding during this one!

I hold Mr. Thornton to a very high respect. He created a masterpiece that is emotional, thrilling, dramatic, humorous, and entertaining.


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