The Gingerbread Man (1998)

R  |   |  Thriller  |  23 January 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 9,066 users   Metascore: 65/100
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Lawyer Rick Magruder has a one-night-stand affair with caterer Mallory Doss. He becomes hooked on her, and when he learns her nut-case father Dixon is threatening her, he puts the weight of... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay) (as Al Hayes)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Clyde Hayes ...
Carl Alden
Libby Magruder
Jeff Magruder
Konnie Dugan (as Troy Beyer)
Julia Ryder Perce ...
Cassandra (as Julia R. Perce)
Danny Darst ...
Sheriff Hope
Sonny Seiler ...
Phillip Dunson
Walter Hartridge ...
Edmund Hess


Lawyer Rick Magruder has a one-night-stand affair with caterer Mallory Doss. He becomes hooked on her, and when he learns her nut-case father Dixon is threatening her, he puts the weight of his law firm behind Mallory, has Dixon arrested and subpoenas her ex-husband Pete to testify against Dixon in court. Dixon is sent to an asylum, but escapes from there and the lives of many people are in danger. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gingerbread Man  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$118,278 (USA) (23 January 1998)


£449,552 (UK) (7 August 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The screenplay is credited to "Al Hayes". This pseudonym covers for John Grisham who objected to the foul language that Altman added to his original screenplay. See more »


At the party early in the movie, Rick and Lois are talking head-to-head on the sofa. Mallory walks behind them and you can hear Lois talking, but we see their heads at opposite ends of the sofa and they aren't talking. The camera immediately cuts back to them sitting close and talking like before. See more »


Lois Harlan: I'm simply curious, you just keep propositioning people until somebody says yes?
See more »


Referenced in Who Is Alan Smithee? (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

6 February 2004 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

******SPOILERS****** Film Noir type movie set in Savannah Georgia that tries hard to stay afloat but it's waterlogged plot sinks it in the last fifteen minutes.

"The Gingerbread Man" is not at all a boring or bad movie it really holds your attention and you want it to deliver the goods via a surprise and film noir like ending. The movie like "Hurricane Geraldo" that lashes the Georgian coast during the entire film instead just sinks under it's wind swept waves.

"Gingerbread Man" has all the right ingredients for a film noir classic. It's directed by legendary director Robert Altman but it's story gets so muddled and confused that by the end instead of packing a wallop it just fizzles out like a balloon with a hole in it.

The chance meeting and later relationship between Rick Magruder, Kenneth Branagh, and Mallory Doss, Embeth Davidtz, at the start of the film is incredibly unconvincing and contrived that you can easily sense that Rick is being set up to be used for some unknown purpose. You can see Mallory constantly staring and trying to get close to Rick at the party before they meet outside in the rain.

Mollary's crazy and religious father Dixon Doss, Robert Duvall, who is being manipulated to be the villain in the film also doesn't seem at all that convincing of a being a heavy. If anything Dixon seems to be more normal then most of the people in the movie, like he so perfectly made clear to the court at his sanity hearing. And it doesn't surprise anyone that he like Rick is being set up for some reason known only by the villain or villains in the film.

Kenneth Branagh is very good as the person who's being used to unwittingly do the dirty work to clear the way for a 10-15 million dollar grab of fifteen acres of valuable black walnut trees. So is Robert Duvall as the person who they belong to and are the main reason for the crimes being committed in the film.

Besides the top stars in the movie there are also very good performances by Tom Berenger, Pete Randel, as Mallory's ex-husband and Famke Janssen, Leeanne, as Rick's ex-wife as well as Daryl Hannah, Louis Harlan, as Rick's law partner. Robert Downey Jr.,Clyde Pell, sparkles is a small but important role as the detective that works for Rick's law office. Still the illogical and contrived ending in the movie as well as some of the sub-plots that lead to it wastes their efforts and spoils what could have been a very good crime/mystery film.

24 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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