Up 1,441 this week

A Time to Kill (1996)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  24 July 1996 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 92,714 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 232 user | 69 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the K.K.K.



(novel), (screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.

Director: F. Gary Gray
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, David Morse
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A defense attorney has a crisis of conscience when he represents a wealthy client who has a foolproof plan to beat the system.

Director: Brad Furman
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe
The Client (1994)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young boy who witnessed the suicide of a mafia lawyer hires an attorney to protect him when the district attorney tries to use him to take down a mob family.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Renfro
Outbreak (1995)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Extreme measures are necessary to contain an epidemic of a deadly airborne virus. But how extreme, exactly?

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman
Runaway Jury (2003)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A juror on the inside and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer.

Director: Gary Fleder
Stars: John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Gene Hackman
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A woman framed for her husband's murder suspects he is still alive; as she has already been tried for the crime, she can't be re-prosecuted if she finds and kills him.

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Greenwood
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A law student uncovers a conspiracy, putting herself and others in danger.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Sam Shepard
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A woman suffering from amnesia begins to recover her memories after trouble from her past finds her again.

Director: Renny Harlin
Stars: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Yvonne Zima
Sleepers (1996)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After a prank goes disastrously wrong, a group of boys are sent to a detention center where they are brutalized; over 10 years later, they get their chance for revenge.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Robert De Niro, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A man against capital punishment is accused of murdering a fellow activist and is sent to death row.

Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney
Primal Fear (1996)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.

Director: Gregory Hoblit
Stars: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A nun, while comforting a convicted killer on death row, empathizes with both the killer and his victim's families.

Director: Tim Robbins
Stars: Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Robert Prosky


Cast overview, first billed only:
Carla Brigance
Tonya Hailey (as RaéVen Larrymore Kelly)
Darrin Mitchell ...
Skip Hailey
LaConte McGrew ...
Slim Hailey


In Canton, Mississippi, 10-year-old Tonya Hailey is viciously brutalized by two white racist rednecks -- James Louis "Pete" Willard and Billy Ray Cobb. Almost immediately after Tonya is found and rushed to a hospital, Pete and Billy Ray are found at a roadside bar, where they had been bragging about what they did to Tonya. Tonya's understandably distraught and enraged father, Carl Lee Hailey, remembers a case from a year ago, when four white men raped an African-American girl in a nearby town, and got acquitted. Carl is determined to not let that happen in this case. While deputy Dwayne Powell Looney is escorting Pete and Billy Ray up a flight of stairs to a court room, Carl emerges from the building's basement with an assault rifle, and he kills Pete and Billy Ray for what they did to Tonya. Carl is later arrested at his house by African-American sheriff Ozzie Walls, and Carl is scheduled to be placed on trial. Despite the efforts of the NAACP and local African-American leaders to ... Written by Todd Baldridge

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A lawyer and his assistant fighting to save a father on trial for murder. A time to question what they believe. A time to doubt what they trust. And no time for mistakes.


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and some graphic language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 July 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tiempo de matar  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$19,630,000 (USA) (26 July 1996)


JPY 419,223,800 (Japan) (24 January 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film cast includes six Oscar winners: Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey, Brenda Fricker, Chris Cooper and Octavia Spencer; and one Oscar nominee: Samuel L. Jackson See more »


Lucien enters the courtroom while Jake is giving his final summation. He stands at the back, disappears, then returns at the end of the summation. See more »


Ellen Roark: I keep thinking, what would Jake do? What would my father do? What would Lucien do?
Harry Rex Vonner: Well see, there's your problem. What you should be thinking is, what would Harry Rex do?
Ellen Roark: What would Harry Rex do?
Harry Rex Vonner: Cheat. Cheat like crazy.
See more »


Featured in Waking in Mississippi (1998) See more »


Written by Richard Paddison
Performed by Jesse Johnson
Courtesy of Dinosaur Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A very taut racial thriller !
13 August 2010 | by (Chicago IL) – See all my reviews

This one had me sitting on the edge of my seat. The 90s weren't as polite as the late 50s/ early 60s when we were riveted by "To Kill a Mockingbird", a book and film that author John Grisham credits as an influence to this story. Two "Good Ol Boy" racists go on a red-neck spree, disrespecting all things Black...men, women, and children. Their beer guzzling binge culminates in the rape and near murder of a 10 year old black girl. Samuel L Jackson plays her father...and he goes out for revenge, killing the two miscreants and seriously wounding a deputy sheriff in the process. The film there-after revolves around the very basic points : A. Can a Black man receive a fair trial even in the so-called "New South" after killing two white men...even though their crime was and is considered reprehensible by every decent human being? And B: Will the Black man receive competent legal representation and receive justice irrespective of his "vigilante" action which appears to many to be justified? What will be the fallout? Matt McConaughey's performance as the lawyer is slightly reminiscent of Gregory Peck in "Mockingbird". He has a moralistic reverence for the law, and endures the taunts of the townsfolk and his other encumbrances with fortitude. Sandra Bullock is convincing as the law student who wants to chime in and lend a hand for the experience. Don and Keifer Sutherland deliver solid support...the elder being a dis-barred lawyer who is ready with advice, the younger playing a racist Klansman out to get revenge for the two dead rednecks. The atmosphere hinges on the explosive as the racial tension builds, and it is a movie that is worth watching with a message worth pondering and remembering. See the film.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Matthew M. Character should've hooked up with Sandra Bullock dutchlevin69
Do you think they deserved to die?! stenlis
Aquittal Not as Far Fetched as everyone thinks... Proof included. BitterHateFilledMovieGuy
'I would have done the same thing' cameron-whyte
Swedish parody of this movie (and American south in general) okram666
ending bv-j
Discuss A Time to Kill (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: