Joe the King (1999)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  22 January 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 2,302 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 53 user | 31 critic | 23 from

A disadvantaged, abused, neglected, exploited but basically decent kid slips into criminality while trying to cope with his harsh, inescapable reality.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Theresa Henry
Bob Henry
Max Ligosh ...
Mike Henry
James Costa ...
Richard Bright ...
Mr. Brazer
Robert Whaley ...
Little Joe (as Peter Tambakis)
Harlee Ott ...


A destitute 14-year-old struggles to keep his life together despite harsh abuse at his mother's hands, harsher abuse at his father's, and a growing separation from his slightly older brother. Petty thefts for food grow into more major takes until he steals a cash box from the diner where he works. Although Joe uses the money to pay off some of his father's debts and to replace his mother's records that his father smashed in a fit of temper, Joe gets no thanks. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and abusive situations concerning a child | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pleasant View Avenue  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,793 (USA) (15 October 1999)


$59,014 (USA) (5 November 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Near the end of the movie where Henry is making an attempt to tell Joe how much he really cares, the lullaby music coming form the ice cream truck was unintentional. But Whaley liked the way it felt, so he left it in. See more »


Toward the end of the movie when Joe's father is driving to pick him up, he passes a driveway with a Jeep Wrangler parked in it. If it were the 1970s, it would have been a Jeep CJ-5 or CJ-7. See more »


Roy: While you're in the bathroom, put some toilet paper in there.
Joe: You do it. It's your jerk-off room.
Roy: I'll jerk your head off!
See more »


Referenced in Return to Innocence (2001) See more »


Around The Town
Written by Ray Davies
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User Reviews

The dethroned king
7 January 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This movie came as a total surprise the other night. Intrigued with the prospect of watching Frank Whalley's take on the film, we decided to watch and it paid off royally. Mr. Whalley has learned his lesson well, both in front, and behind the camera. Frank Whalley is a man capable of getting a lot out of his cast, having been in that position himself.

The film is a disturbing account on a family that appears to be beyond dysfunctional. The father, Bob Henry, is a man that life has passed him by and has sought company with the bottle; he is the janitor in his children's school. As seems to be the case with men in this situation, Bob vents his frustrations with whoever crosses him, as we watch in horror the way he beats his wife.

Joe, the sensitive young son, is ridiculed in school by a teacher at a tender age, where compassion for his state in life would have worked better. As he grows, he becomes a a young man that will do whatever in order to get what he wants. He begins stealing from the stores he is sent on errands as well as from the restaurant where he is employed as a dishwasher. We watch him as he eats hungrily the leftovers that come his way before washing those plates. Eventually, Joe will go to stealing from his boss and getting into trouble that will scar him for life. The only kindness Joe receives is from the teacher counselor in his school.

The best achievement for the director is the acting quality he gets from his cast. Noah Fleiss, who portrays Joe, is the best thing in the film. He is a young talent to watch. Val Kilmer is seen as the father who seems to live in a permanent fog caused by his heavy drinking. Karen Young is Theresa, the suffering wife. Ethan Hawke plays the kind hearted teacher and Camryn Manheim is the horrible one.

"Joe the King" deserves a viewing because of the excellent direction of Frank Whalley.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Great movie, with real situations of life joadelav
Last shot on Val jazzgrass
aka 'The 400 Blows' shephrd
Mike Henry pete2141
What year was this suppose to be set in? konflikt_causer
okay i need a little help the_office_addict
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