7.4/10
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239 user 74 critic

A Time to Kill (1996)

In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, inciting a revolt by local racist groups.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

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.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 July 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tiempo de matar  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$108,706,165 (USA) (22 November 1996)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bruce Dern was the original choice for the role of Judge Noose, but he had other commitments. See more »

Goofs

As the verdict is announced, the nurse in Roark's room sees a shot of Jake, Lucien and Harry Rex on TV. This event is outside the courthouse and doesn't occur in the movie for another full minute. See more »

Quotes

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Mr. Haley, before you *stepped outside of yourself* and watched yourself shoot Mr. Willard and Mr. Cobb, were you aware that' if convicted, they could be free in ten years?
Carl Lee Hailey: Yes sir. I've heard some people say that. Yes sir.
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think men who kidnap a child should be free in 10 years?
Carl Lee Hailey: No sir.
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think two men who rape a child should be free in 10 years?
Carl Lee Hailey: No sir.
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think two men who hang a child should be free in 10 years?
Carl Lee Hailey: No sir.
D.A. Rufus Buckley: Well what do you think should happen? What would be a ...
[...]
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Connections

Spoofed in American Dad!: Every Which Way But Lose (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't Got Time To Die
Traditional spiritual arranged by Randolph Watson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I was surprised this movie was this good after reading the book.
30 August 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was very much drawn into the book, and thought that it would be hard to get the same feeling out in a movie.

At the beginning I thought I was right. From the beginning I was thinking "they left out a whole mess of details." I was irritated that they did not develop the characters better like in the book.

But by the 3rd quarter of the movie this was the last thought in my mind. And by the end I understood that the screenwriter had very skillfully budgeted his (limited) screen time for the most important parts of the movie, where it is well spent.

I think the acting of the principals was very good, and I found especially for Sandra Bullock as Ellen Roark - who was the most believable character. Although the rest of the acting was very good, I felt she was the most believable.

Which raises the main weakness of the movie, as good as it was, having read the book, I could not help being reminded that most of the characters were in fact, actors in a movie. Except for Ms. Bullock, there was a bit of woodeness to the "folk" in this small southern town. Also the plot is a bit contrived (but true to the novel). Most important is that (for me) it worked. I was moved. Its a very good movie.


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