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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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1,690 ( 2)
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
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Melinda (as Christy Ward)
Sarah Boss ...
Kathy Sue Brown ...
Wendell Rafferty ...
Melvin
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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:

Sometimes a hero comes from the most unlikely place. 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:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$890,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$24,475,416 (USA) (25 July 1997)
 »

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

Nominated for 14 awards, and only five lost. See more »

Goofs

While Karl talks to his father about his little brother, the father's left arm changes position between shots. See more »

Quotes

Karl: There was a boy. We made friends.
Charles Bushman: Ha ha, I'll bet you did. 'Course I was never bent that way, I was always bent the other way.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to Jimmy Don Thornton See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Tina Fey/Ellie Goulding (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Shenandoah
Performed by Emmylou Harris
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User Reviews

 
The one that made Billy.
3 January 2002 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Thornton plays victim to a cruel society where he is released from a long stint in prison and becomes a guardian angel for a young boy who is abused by his mother's lover. A slow sombre piece that gives you time to enter the mental state of Thornton's character. Once you are in there, you realise the humanity that justifies the end actions. Theatrical in style with powerful performances and a haunting music score.


33 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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