IMDb > Sling Blade (1996)
Sling Blade
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Sling Blade (1996) More at IMDbPro »

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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.

Overview

User Rating:
8.1/10   64,468 votes »
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Down 38% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers (WGA):
Contact:
View company contact information for Sling Blade on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 March 1997 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Sometimes a hero comes from the most unlikely place. See more »
Plot:
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 »
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 14 wins & 9 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
a modern American masterpiece See more (297 total) »

Cast

  (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
(WGA)
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)
 
Thanks
Leslie Abell .... special thanks
Erskine Caldwell .... special thanks
Tom Epperson .... special thanks
John Faulkner .... special thanks
William Faulkner .... special thanks
Suzy Lilly .... thanks
Bob Myman .... special thanks
Jerry Myman .... special thanks
George Newcomb .... special thanks
John Fergus Ryan .... special 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:
MPAA:
Rated R for strong language, including descriptions of violent and sexual behavior
Runtime:
135 min | USA:148 min (director's cut)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M (original rating) | Australia:MA (re-rating) | Canada:14A (original rating) | Chile:14 | 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?

Trivia:
Vaughan (John Ritter) is holding a copy of the book "A Confederacy of Dunces" in his final scene. The book revolves around a Southern character that is unable to fit into society.See more »
Goofs:
Boom mic visible: Shadow visible in front of a tree when Jerry and Karl are walking.See more »
Quotes:
Vaughan Cunningham:I'm just going to say it. I'm gay. Does that surprise you that I'm gay? You know what gay is, don't you?
Karl:I don't reckon.
Vaughan Cunningham:[quietly] Homosexual. I like men sexually.
Karl:Not funny 'ha-ha', funny queer.
Vaughan Cunningham:Well that's a very offensive way to put it. You shouldn't say that. You were taught that, weren't you?
Karl:I've heard it said that a-way.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Soul DressingSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
32 out of 33 people found the following review useful.
a modern American masterpiece, 24 April 2006
Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States

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.

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