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Pleasantville (1998)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  23 October 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 98,993 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 690 user | 164 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

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



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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 40 nominations. See more awards »



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


David, single, lonely and not happy with his life, flees reality by watching Pleasantville - a 1950's b&w soap opera, where everything is just that... pleasant. His sister Jennifer, sexually far more active than her brother, gets in a fight with him about a very strange remote control. The remote was given to them just seconds after the TV broke, by an equally strange repair man. They suddenly find themselves in Pleasantville, as Bud and Mary-Sue Parker, completely assimilated and therefore black and white, in clothes a little different and with new parents... pleasant ones. David wants to get out of the situation as well as his sister, but whereas he tries to blend in (effortlessly, with his knowledge), she does whatever she wants to do. One event leads to the other, and suddenly there is a red rose growing in Pleasantville. The more rules are broken, the more colorful life gets in Pleasantville, USA. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Nothing Is As Simple As Black And White. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amor a colores  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,855,063 (USA) (23 October 1998)


£790,203 (UK) (26 March 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Feature film debut of Maggie Lawson. See more »


When David looks through the window down at his mother loading her car there is one shutter half down. Seen from outside all shutters are up. See more »


[first lines]
[David is gazing admiringly at a pretty blonde girl]
David: *Hi*
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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Spider-Man (2002) See more »


Rave On
Written by Norman Petty, Bill Tilghman and Del 'Sonny' West
Performed by Buddy Holly
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Colors of Modern Life seems Brighter than ever before
11 October 2009 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

Three movies of the late '90s -The Truman Show, EdTv and Pleasantville- specifically examined how television made an impact on our world, our culture and our values. They both showed larger than life happenings and captured our minds with their perspectives. In EdTv there was a humble video store clerk guy having his life filmed for a reality show, which was happening in present time. Though in Truman Show very futurist and fantastically, Truman Burbank was not even aware that his life is being filmed, offering the viewer the vision of life from God's perspective. Distinctively here in Pleasantville, there is a journey which starts with materializing a TV-series into life and ends up with materializing the life into this TV-series.

The cheerful 1950s' TV sit-com Pleasantville is revived in the '90s on cable. A homebody teen, David Wagner, escapes from the daily rush of the real unpleasant world by watching this show. He doesn't even miss the reruns, memorizes the scripts and speaks them out before the actors in the show say their part. One day after school, he and his sister Jennifer can't agree on the right TV channel to watch. Then they fight over the remote control and it breaks. The new remote, which will zap them inside Pleasantville, given them by a strange TV-repairman.

When they entered Pleasantville, they become the part of the show and turn to black-and-white as the TV show displays. David and Jennifer take up residence as the son and the daughter of the sit-com family. Soon, they realize that there the life is always pleasant; the temperature is always lukewarm and the seasons are always spring with no rain no snow no hot no cold weather, books have no words, roads end where they start, nothing burns and matches are useless, married couples sleep in twin beds, sex does not exist, nobody gets sick, nobody gets hurt and nobody ever questions this hassle-free life. David fits right in as he always dreamt to be, while her sister persists on him to try to figure out what should they do to escape from there. Though she changes her mind when he gets a boyfriend from school. Her attempts of putting her lifestyle on effect causes Pleasantville gets colors. Thus wonderful and frightening changes start to take place.

Pleasantville is a truly original film that soars with dynamism and aesthetic. From a social and deeply political perspective; it has deep meaning and relevance in today's society. Consequently, it should serve as a reminder for most that the world is made up of how its residents think and act. "You can't stop something that's inside you." says David, and that could be summation of all that Pleasantville stands for.

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