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Sling Blade
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Sling Blade (1996) More at IMDbPro »

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Sling Blade -- 25 Years after commiting an unthinkable crime, a quiet man named Karl(Thornton) finally returns home. Once there, he's befriended by a fatherless boy and his mother. But when his newfound peace is shattered by the mother's abusive boyfriend, Karl is suddenly placed on a collision course with his past!
Sling Blade -- HV
Sling Blade -- 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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8.0/10   69,252 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 8% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
View company contact information for Sling Blade on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 March 1997 (USA) See more »
Sometimes a hero comes from the most unlikely place. See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Won Oscar. Another 14 wins & 10 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Probably one of Thornton's finest movies See more (308 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Billy Bob Thornton ... Karl Childers

Dwight Yoakam ... Doyle Hargraves

J.T. Walsh ... Charles Bushman

John Ritter ... Vaughan Cunningham

Lucas Black ... Frank Wheatley
Natalie Canerday ... Linda Wheatley

James Hampton ... Jerry Woolridge

Robert Duvall ... Karl's Father

Rick Dial ... Bill Cox

Brent Briscoe ... Scooter Hodges

Christine Renee Ward ... Melinda (as Christy Ward)
Sarah Boss ... Marsha Dwiggins
Kathy Sue Brown ... Theresa Evans
Wendell Rafferty ... Melvin

Bruce Hampton ... Morris (as Col. Bruce Hampton Ret.)
Vic Chesnutt ... Terence

Mickey Jones ... Monty Johnson
Ian Moore ... Randy Horsefeathers
Judy Pryor Trice ... Mrs. Woolridge
Scott Stewart ... Bubba Woolridge
Betty Lynn Hall ... Woolridge Daughter

Jim Jarmusch ... Frostee Cream Boy
Gary Don Fletcher ... Preacher
Tim Holder ... Albert
Tom Kagy ... Freddy
Stacy Barrow ... Woodridge Secretary
Jackie Stewart ... Walter
Jamie Stewart ... Teenage Boy
D.J. Royston ... Housekeeper
Lacy Bailey ... Karen
Raymond Lewallen ... Ticket Agent
Bill Glasscock ... Old Man (voice)

Directed by
Billy Bob Thornton 
Writing credits
Billy Bob Thornton (play)

Billy Bob Thornton (screenplay)

Produced by
David L. Bushell .... producer
Larry Meistrich .... executive producer
Brandon Rosser .... producer
Original Music by
Daniel Lanois 
Cinematography by
Barry Markowitz (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Hughes Winborne 
Casting by
Sarah Tackett 
Production Design by
Clark Hunter 
Set Decoration by
Traci Kirshbaum 
Costume Design by
Doug Hall  (as Douglas Hall)
Makeup Department
Kate Biscoe .... key hair stylist (as Kate Morgan Biscoe)
Tracy Warbin .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Robert Salerno .... production manager
Laura Seymann .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
W.M. Halle .... first assistant director
Todd Jameson .... second assistant director
Daron McAfee .... second assistant director
Art Department
Jacob Alsbrook .... lead man
Joe Arnold .... on-set dresser
Max Biscoe .... assistant set decorator
Joe Cuzan .... swing art
Dwayne Grady .... propmaster
Carlton Rude .... assistant props
Sound Department
Gary Alexander .... sound re-recording mixer
Weldon Brown .... adr recordist
Eric A. Christoffersen .... foley assistant (as Eric Christoffersen)
Pete Conlin .... first assistant sound editor (as Peter Conlin)
Russell Creak .... assistant foley artist
Theodore K. Dietz .... sound production assistant
David Ellinwood .... foley recordist (as Dave Ellienwood)
Wi Ding Ho .... apprentice sound editor
Mark Howard .... dialogue loop editor
Mark Howard .... sound recordist
Ivan Hurzeler .... assistant sound editor
Lucinda Komisar .... assistant sound editor
Jeff Kushner .... sound designer
Jeff Kushner .... supervising sound editor
Paul Ledford .... production sound mixer
Ronald Matthew Lee .... additional sound effects recordist (as Matthew Lee)
Wayne Lorenz .... additional sound engineer
Alison Sanford .... sound recordist
Sila A. Soyer .... apprentice sound editor (as Sila Soyer)
James Wright .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Keenan Wyatt .... boom operator
Camera and Electrical Department
Ehab Assal .... assistant camera
Ehab Assal .... camera production assistant
Michael Audino .... grip (as Michael D. Audino)
Jonathan Brown .... Steadicam operator
Dalton .... second assistant camera
Marc Eckhardt .... grip
Edwin M. Figueroa .... key grip
Douglas W. Hill .... electrician
R. Derek Keener .... best boy electric
Robert Ortiz .... video playback operator
Stewart Wright Pallister .... grip
Tom Potoskie .... dolly grip (as Thomas W. Potoskie)
Nate Ranger .... first assistant camera
J.A. Riggs .... generator operator
John Wagner .... gaffer
Michael Yarish .... still photographer
Rob Koch .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Margaret Critz .... wardrobe production assistant
Rani Cunningham .... wardrobe supervisor
Theba Lolley .... set costumer
Editorial Department
Peter T. DaPuzzo .... post-production intern
David Hamme .... assistant colorist
Lawrence Mischel .... negative cutter (as Larry Mischel)
Dan Muscarella .... color timer
Patti Nunez .... assistant post-production supervisor
Johnny Wilson .... assistant editor
Stefan Bruck .... post-production consultant (uncredited)
Sue Mischel .... negative cutter (uncredited)
Music Department
Peter Afterman .... music consultant
Brian Blade .... additional musician: drums
Malcolm Burn .... additional musician: keyboards
Barry Cole .... music supervisor
Tim Gibbons .... musician: bass, drums and vocals
Emmylou Harris .... special guest vocalist
Mark Howard .... music programmer: drums
Ali Jennings .... additional musician: slide guitar
Darrell D. Johnson .... musician: bass, conga drum, organ and hand drum (as Darryl Johnson)
Pascal Nabit Meyer .... musician: organ
Bambi Lee Savage .... musician: vocals and guitar
Elizabeth Wendel .... music consultant
Russ Wilson .... musician: falsetto harmony, percussion piano, bass and bass pedal
Other crew
Umber Ayoob .... intern
Josh Baxter .... intern
Leonard John Bruno .... product placement (as Leonard Bruno)
Aaron Bryson .... projectionist
Brig Caldwell .... assistant caterer
Steve Carlis .... post-production auditor
Steve Carlis .... production executive
Joe Glass .... production assistant
Sheryl Glubok .... assistant location manager
Susan Jacobs .... unit publicist
Susan Jacobs .... unit publicity
Jonathan Jasay .... intern
Jason Jersey .... production assistant
Sharon Kahn .... unit publicist
Jeremy Levy .... intern
Danna Liebert .... script supervisor
Ginny Lou Litsey .... assistant production auditor
Joe McCrackin .... assistant to director
Larry Meistrich .... production executive
Kathy Morris .... craft service
Heather Mosher .... product placement assistant
Tim Olivett .... caterer
J. Robert Saettele .... key set production assistant
David Scolli .... location intern
Dena Silberstein .... product placement
Mary Sunshine .... production auditor
David Tuttle .... production executive
George Vowteras .... location manager
Benjamin Meade .... production staff (uncredited)
Daniel J. Victor .... production financing (uncredited)
Leslie Abell .... special thanks
Erskine Caldwell .... special thanks
Tom Epperson .... special thanks
John Faulkner .... special thanks
William Faulkner .... special thanks
Bob Myman .... special thanks
Jerry Myman .... special thanks
George Newcomb .... special thanks
John Fergus Ryan .... special thanks
Suzy Lilly Saettele .... thanks
Emily Gerson Saines .... special thanks
Emily Schweber .... thanks
Harry James Thornton .... special thanks
Jimmy Don Thornton .... dedicatee
Pietra Thornton .... special thanks
Virginia Faulkner Thornton .... special thanks
Brad Wilson .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for strong language, including descriptions of violent and sexual behavior
135 min | USA:148 min (director's cut)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M (original rating) | Australia:MA (re-rating) | Canada:14A (original rating) | Finland:K-12/9 | Hong Kong:IIB | Iceland:12 | Netherlands:16 (original rating) | Netherlands:6 (re-rating) | Norway:11 | Peru:18 | Portugal:M/16 | Singapore:PG (cut) | Singapore:NC-16 (re-rating) | South Korea:15 | Spain:18 | Sweden:11 | UK:15 | USA:R | USA:Not Rated (director's cut)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

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 »
Crew or equipment visible: When Jerry and Karl walk up to Bill Cox's repair shop for the first time, the Steadicam operator's reflection can easily be seen in the right front hubcap of Jerry's car. He is visible during the entire shot, which lasts about 10 seconds.See more »
Terence:We wrote one last night outside the mini mart. Morris called it "Stuart Drives A Comfortable Car" and then like in country songs, you know, in parentheses it says "There's Usually Someone in the Trunk." And, and um, I came up with a tune just a hummin'.
Doyle:See, you don't want to question the genius, Vaughan. Morris here is a modern-day poet, kinda like in olden times.
Morris:Yeah, I got a new tune in composition entitled "The Thrill." And it goes somethin' like this: "I stand on the hill, not for a thrill, but for the breath of a fresh kill. Never mind the man who contemplates doin' away with license plates. He stands alone...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Scream 3 (2000)See more »
Soul DressingSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
34 out of 40 people found the following review useful.
Probably one of Thornton's finest movies, 25 August 2005
Author: Philip Van der Veken from Tessenderlo, Belgium

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.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (308 total) »

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What scene made you cry? sagal702-3
Funniest Scene janet-conant
Things We Learned From Watching Sling Blade, Mm-hmm MierdaDeToro
Extremely creepy scene philo7772
What was it that Karl's parents told him was in the bible that wasn't? cevolatile
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