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O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

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, (uncredited)

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(epic poem "The Odyssey"), | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Del Pentecost ...
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J.R. Horne ...
Brian Reddy ...
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The Little Man
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Sheriff Cooley (as Daniel Von Bargen)
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Storyline

Loosely based on Homer's "Odyssey," the movie deals with the picaresque adventures of Ulysses Everett McGill and his companions Delmar and Pete in 1930s Mississipi. Sprung from a chain gang and trying to reach Everett's home to recover the buried loot of a bank heist they are confronted by a series of strange characters--among them sirens, a cyclops, bank robber George "Baby Face" Nelson (very annoyed by that nickname), a campaigning governor and his opponent, a KKK lynch mob, and a blind prophet who warns the trio that "the treasure you seek shall not be the treasure you find." Written by Armin Ortmann <armin@sfb288.math.tu-berlin.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They have a plan, but not a clue. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

2 February 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

¿Dónde estás, hermano?  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£564,064 (UK) (15 September 2000)

Gross:

$45,506,619 (USA) (3 August 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

References to Homer's "Odyssey":
  • The names of George Clooney and Holly Hunter's characters (Ulysses and Penelope)


  • one-eyed Big Dan as the Cyclops (blinded with a burning pole)


  • the three girls by the river as the Sirens


  • Ulysses' wife marrying someone else when he comes home


  • the old-man disguise


  • the changing of one of Ulysses' companions into an animal


  • The Baptists made people become loyal to God when they were baptized as the Lotus Eaters in The Odyssey became loyal to the people of the island when they ate the Lotus Flowers


  • the Ku Klux Klan has a rank of Grand (or Exalted) Cyclops


  • they catch a ride on a railway hand cart that is being operated by a blind prophet, who tells them that they will not find the treasure they seek. The prophet character in "The Odyssey" was Teiresias, whom Odysseus consulted in the underworld when he needed information on how to get home again


  • the movie theater scene as the trip through the Underworld.


  • Odysseus nearly drowned, but clings to a piece of wood.


  • Odysseus and Everett both reveal themselves by performing an act no one else could: Odysseus strings a special bow and fires it through seven rings; Everett sings "Man of Constant Sorrow" as only the leader of the Soggy Bottom Boys can.


  • "Pappy's" given name, Menelaus, is the same as the king who declared war on Troy in the first place.


  • the Latin equivalent of the Greek name Odysseus is Ulysses.


  • "Sing in me O Muse . . . ", the line at the beginning of the film, is the first line of the Odyssey.


  • the killing of the cattle of Helios by the "fools" in the Odyssey is mirrored by Baby Face Nelson shooting the cows.


  • every time Ulysses falls asleep something bad happens.


  • the song which plays throughout the movie is called "Man of Constant Sorrow," Odysseus means "man who is in constant pain and sorrow."


  • Pappy's opponent for governor is named Homer


  • when Ulysses first meets Big Dan in the restaurant there is a statue of Homer in the background.


  • There is a "Blind Bard" who pays the boys to "sing into his can." Homer was often (and probably erroneously) thought to be a blind bard who told his stories verbally to his students.


  • Much like the Ku Klux Klan scene, Odysseus and his men hide from the Cyclops by dressing as sheep.


-Everett's task of "Finding one little ring, in the middle of all that water" is an impossible deed not unlike Odysseus' final task of carrying an oar to a "land that knows nothing of the sea." -In many occasions, Everett, denies the existence of God and sometimes he even insults God. Odysseus insulting Gods (Hubris) was the reason for all the obstacles in his journey. A visual connection to the Odyssey appears during the evening following Baby Face Nelson's third bank robbery, when Ulysses is seen sitting on a destroyed Greek column, the bottom of which is still upright besides him. See more »

Goofs

The song "You Are My Sunshine" by Jimmie Davis was not written until 1939 and not recorded and released until 1940. The calendar at the radio station puts the year at 1937, three years too early. The filmmakers knew this. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ulysses Everett McGill: Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Title Design and Other Cool Stuff Balsmeyer & Everett, Inc. See more »

Connections

Version of Odissea (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Po Lazarus
Arranged by Alan Lomax
Performed by James Carter & The Prisoners
Recorded by Alan Lomax
Courtesy of Rounder Records
by arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Masterful...
20 January 2001 | by (Nashville, TN) – See all my reviews

Not being a fan of the Coen Brothers or George Clooney, anyone can see the skepticism I took into the theater. Once again, someone in Hollywood dares to create something different. This time it was those zanie (for a temporary lack of a better word) Coens doing "their thing" to one of the great works in literary history. Who would've ever thought Homer had this in mind? I don't know where this film is going to fit in the history books of Hollywood, but it will be in both mine and many others DVD or VHS library. It is one of those films that you can watch over and over. The story is brilliantly written. Clean and entertaining, with a couple of Gumpesque brushes with fame, great performances by Clooney, Turturro, Nelson, and a brief but hilarious Holly Hunter. Being born in Mississippi and raised in other parts of the south, I wish more people would poke a little fun at us like this. They even invoke a soundtrack fitting for the rural south. You are NOT doing anything better this weekend, go see this movie!


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