7.5/10
109,104
705 user 171 critic

Pleasantville (1998)

Two 1990s teenage siblings find themselves in a 1950s sitcom where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world.

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3,032 ( 139)

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ON DISC
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Christin
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Paul Morgan Stetler ...
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Storyline

David Wagner is a kid whose mind is stuck in the 1950s. He's addicted to a classic 50's sitcom television show called "Pleasantville". Pleasntville is a simple place, a place where all of its citizens are swell and simple-minded folks, a place where the word "violence", and life outside of Pleasantville, is unbeknown to its inhabitants; things are perfect down in Pleasantville. One evening, the life of David and his obnoxious sister Jennifer take a bizarre turn when an eccentric repairman hand them a supposed magical remote. After a quarrel between the siblings, they inexplicably zap themselves into the world of "Pleasantville". Now, David and Jennifer must adjust to a 50s lifestyle of repressed desires and considerably different societal values while trying to find their way home. Written by Kyle Perez

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Pleasantville - It's Just Around the Corner See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements emphasizing sexuality, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

23 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amor a colores  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,855,063, 25 October 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$40,568,025, 28 March 1999

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$49,789,066
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the bowling alley scene when the elder men decide to do something about the chaos unfolding around them, a very popular black and white cinematic trick known as the "Dutch Tilt" or "Dutch Angle" - often noticed in Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock shows - was utilized. The camera is tilted to create a crooked, dark, disorienting shot emphasizing madness and discontent, thus making the viewer feel uneasy. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film when David/Bud returns to his own world, his hair changes from when he is in the living room to when he is in the kitchen with his mom. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[David is gazing admiringly at a pretty blonde girl]
David: *Hi*
[chuckles]
David: I mean, Hi. Uh, look, you probably don't think I should be asking you this. I mean, not knowing you well and all? I mean, you know, I, I, I know you, 'cause everybody knows you. I just don't know you technically. Uh, anyhow. Uh, I don't know what you're doing this weekend, but my mom's leaving town, and she's letting me borrow the car.
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The New Line logo plays in complete silence. See more »

Connections

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

The Gang That Sang Heart of My Heart
Written by Ben Ryan
Performed by The Four Aces
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
floored
16 February 2003 | by See all my reviews

Some critics here are saying the movie takes itself too seriously - but I believe some people are taking it too literally. ... Saying that the topics that are addressed have no impact on society anymore, clearly misses the point. ... The 50s -- or more specifically, 50s TV -- is used as a metaphor, because of the way 50s TV portrayed life in America. ... Thematically, this movie is about "Living Life" to the fullest, whatever that means. More specifically, to live life to the fullest -- to truly feel "alive" -- you need to take the good with the bad. Sweeping things under the rug and just acting "pleasant" all the time, is no way to live. That's what Tobey McGuire's speech at the end to his "real" mother is all about. Bad things happen, it's part of life. Having passion brings with it positives and negatives -- but suppressing true feelings for the sake of "pleasantness" is an empty life. THAT is the key ... and that "issue" is everlasting to the human condition.

Another point: People fear change. This is universal from the start of time until the end of time. The film suggests that changing and growing as a society and as people -- even if scary -- is good. Just because the 50s were used as a metaphor for that, don't believe for a minute this isn't a universal issue that exists today and forever.

Another issue common for people critical of this film is the sexual issue. They say that Gary Ross is promoting sexual promiscuity, sex out of wedlock, etc... Again, I believe it misses the point. Is Ross suggesting that premarital sex is OK? Yes, and I'd agree - and I'm sure there's plenty of people who don't agree with that, and that's OK too. But, again, the sex is just part of the theme - used as a high-profile example to making the overall point about "openness" - and not suppressing one's feelings. Note that the Reese Witherspoon character was already promiscuous, and her transformation was actually something completely different.

I can't make everyone like this film - I'll just say that, on a personal note, I was so floored by this film, I had to see it again the next day. That had never happened to me before, or since. Ross' commentary goes on to speak of everything I felt about the film when I first saw it. It was great to hear that his reasons for what he did, meshed exactly with how I took it. I had to write him a letter to tell him so - another thing I'd never done before or since.

This is not a perfect film. I liked its subtlety, but then the racism correlation, and the censorship stuff, got a bit more overt. The courtroom scene at the end is a bit cliche ... and I also agree with one poster who said that, to make the point about taking the good with the bad, we should've seen a bit more about the consequences of their actions.

Those are merely nitpicks in the grand scheme of things. This is a 10 out of 10.


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