MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 458 this week

Sling Blade (1996)

 -  Drama  -  27 November 1996 (USA)
8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 62,818 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 295 user | 100 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

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.

Director:

Writers:

(play), (screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 21 Dec 2011
 
a list of 46 titles
created 02 Jun 2013
 
See
a list of 23 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 39 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 28 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Sling Blade" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Sling Blade (1996)

Sling Blade (1996) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Sling Blade.

User Polls

Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two drifters, one a gentle but slow giant, try to make money working the fields during the Depression so they can fulfill their dreams.

Director: Gary Sinise
Stars: John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Ray Walston
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Upon admittance to a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients to take on the oppressive head nurse.

Director: Milos Forman
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman
Moneyball (2011)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

Director: Bennett Miller
Stars: Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill
Gran Torino (2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Christopher Carley
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto
Rain Man (1988)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
Awakenings (1990)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The victims of an encephalitis epidemic many years ago have been catatonic ever since, but now a new drug offers the prospect of reviving them.

Director: Penny Marshall
Stars: Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck
Philadelphia (1993)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When a man with AIDS is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell
Biography | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

Director: Paul Greengrass
Stars: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio
Mud (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two young boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the vigilantes that are on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.

Director: Jeff Nichols
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland
Edit

Cast

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

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 November 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Resplandor en la noche  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$890,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$24,475,416 (USA) (25 July 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Cameo by Col. Bruce Hampton Ret. of Aquarium Rescue Unit and Code Talkers during Doyle's band scene. Col. Bruce is the Tambourine player and can be seen blowing his trademark "Smokeless Smoke Ring" in a close up shot. See more »

Goofs

When Doyle drives to the county line to get more alcohol, they're in a "crew cab dually pickup", yet Doyle, Karl, and Vaughan ride in the front seats, the rest of the crew rides in the bed, and no-one rides in the back seats. See more »

Quotes

Doyle: You know what, by God?
Linda: What?
Doyle: I know what I oughta do tonight.
Linda: Please don't.
Doyle: Mmm-hmm. I'm gonna call up Morris and have him get the band together. We're gonna have a party. Party our asses off. I'd love to show them that damn Karl. They'd get a real kick out of him. You know they would.
Linda: Please, Doyle, not tonight. They always stay until morning, I'll just give out.
Doyle: You ain't gotta do nothing, Linda. Just put some chips in a bowl and run ice out to us when we look low.
Frank: Last time you got angry and...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special Thanks Emily Gerson Saines See more »

Connections

References The Simple-Minded Murderer (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Shenandoah
Performed by Emmylou Harris
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
a modern American masterpiece
24 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Set in a small, rural Southern town, Billy Bob Thornton's "Sling Blade" is so flavorful in ambiance and tone, so rich in character and theme that it's hard to believe that its roots are not to be found in any short story or novel. For while it has all the earmarks of a great work of literature, "Sling Blade" is actually an original creation by Thornton, the triple threat talent who wrote, directed and stars in the work.

Karl Childers is a marginally retarded man who's been living in a mental institution ever since, as a child, he accidentally stumbled across his mother and her lover in a compromising position and, in a moment of considerable confusion, hacked the two of them to death. After being officially declared by the state to be "rehabilitated" and "cured," Karl is thrust back out into the world where he forms a bond with a fatherless boy, his hardworking, compassionate mother and a gay storeowner who has long since become a part of their extended family. Also part of that family is the widow's twisted boyfriend, Doyle Hargraves, who physically and psychologically abuses both mother and son.

Thanks to Carl's "strangeness" and homicidal background, as well as the simmering volatility and mercurial temperament of Doyle, there is always the threat of violence hanging ominously over the work. Yet, in many ways, "Sling Blade" is really about the goodness of people in their willingness to overlook external differences and to find the similarities that unite us all in a common bond of humanity. For the most part, the people in this quiet little community try to reach out and befriend Karl, sensing a decency in him that helps to mitigate any possible fear they might have of him based solely on surface eccentricities. Even when he is eventually forced into violent action, he does so as an avenging angel bringing swift and righteous justice, not as a murderous demon acting out of hatred or malice.

The acting in the film - beginning with Thornton himself - could not be more brilliant. With his stooped shoulders, tight-lipped smile, jutting jaw, vacant expression and guttural throat-clearing, Karl became the butt of so many jokes back when the movie first came out that it's easy to forget what a truly amazing character - and job of acting - Thornton has pulled off here. The actor we've known from so many other movies is completely invisible in this role, as he literally becomes Karl in every fiber of his being and, in so doing, forces us to see the wisdom and humanity buried deep inside the person. The performance is such a touchstone of acting for our generation that it is easy to miss all the other great acting in the film, particularly on the part of Natalie Canerday, Lucas Black, John Ritter, J.T. Walsh, Robert Duvall and, most especially, Dwight Yoakam, whose portrayal of a man teetering on the edge of a psychopathic meltdown is bone-chilling and brilliant.

As a writer, Thornton has shaped his film like a modern day parable - simple, symbol-laden and allegorical. As a director, he proves himself a master of rhythm and pacing, setting the mood and allowing the scenes to play themselves out without recourse to overstatement or melodrama. In fact, this is one of those rare movies in which every moment feels just right, so confident is Thornton in his ability as a filmmaker to bring his story to life on screen. He also knows how to make the bucolic setting come across as both stark and sensuous at the same time, a place of quiet stillness that provides the perfect backdrop for the morality tale he is endeavoring to tell. Finally, Daniel Lanois has provided a haunting musical score that ever so subtly draws us into the disturbingly offbeat world of the drama.

"Sling Blade" earned a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Thornton, but he should also have won awards for his directing and his performance as Karl, not to mention the film itself which should have won the honor as Best Picture of 1996 - although Hollywood, in its infinite wisdom, failed even to nominate it. Ah well, even with that lapse in judgment, "Sling Blade" remains one of the great movie dramas of the past decade.


29 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The acting?? shahatboy
I'm taking a risk saying this.... yasmo10
What was the significance of the generator scene? djj93312
Things We Learned From Watching Sling Blade, Mm-hmm MierdaDeToro
Doyle's Best Lines birdncookie
Other girl question Squeaky_Dog_Toy
Discuss Sling Blade (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?