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A Time to Kill (1996)

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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.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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1,979 ( 298)
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:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$108,706,165 (USA) (22 November 1996)
 »

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

Matthew McConaughey was originally cast as Freddie Lee Cobb. After reading the script, he preferred the role of Jake Brigance. He went to director Joel Schumacher, who granted him a private screen test. 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

Tim Nunley: Sure am sorry about your brother, Freddie. Ol' Willard too... good boys both.
Freddie Lee Cobb: Ten years ago, that n*gger'd be hanging by the end of a rope with his balls in his mouth. Now you tell me what's wrong with this country.
Winston: Klan would know what to do.
Freddie Lee Cobb: My granddaddy, he was Klan.
Tim Nunley: Ain't been no Klan around here for years.
Winston: Ah they's still some boys around.
Tim Nunley: What you mean them skinheads that want to blow up the government?
Winston: No sir, good god-fearing Klan... I got a friend, used to be active, could give him a ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Chicago Hope: A Time to Kill (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Ain't Got Time To Die
Traditional spiritual arranged by Randolph Watson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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.


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