The Slaughter Rule (2002)

R  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  11 January 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 1,976 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 32 user | 17 critic | 13 from

A young man finds solace with a young woman, his mother, and a high-school football coach who recruits him to quarterback a six-man team.

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gideon Ferguson
Skyla Sisco
Tracy Two Dogs
Evangeline Chutney
Ken White ...
Russ Colfax
Waylon Walks Along
Kim DeLong ...
Lem Axelrod
Gretchen Two Dogs
Uncle Peyton
Cody Harvey ...
Coach Motlow
Melkon Andonian ...
J.P. Gabriel ...


In Blue Springs, Montana, high school student Roy Chutney is beginning to lose his way in life largely the result of two simultaneous events. The first is that his father, Nelson Chutney, dies. Roy hadn't seen his father much since his parents divorced and his father remarried. Nelson was run over by a train, but Roy's mother, Evangeline Chutney, with who Roy has a somewhat emotionally distant relationship, believes he committed suicide. The second is that because funding to the school has reduced the football program to just a varsity team with no junior varsity, Roy, along with half the other players, is cut from the football squad, as his coach doesn't believe he is mentally tough enough despite he being a skilled player. The two incidents combined make the situation even worse for Roy as football was his primary connection to his father. Into Roy's life enters Gideon Ferguson, the local newspaper seller, who asks Roy to be part of his newly formed football team, which will play in... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexual content | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 January 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drive to Dream  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,461 (USA) (10 January 2003)


$13,134 (USA) (28 March 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Screenplay was developed in the Sundance Lab. See more »


Roy Chutney: My father told me if I was hard enough, I wouldn't break. He lied. Everything breaks.
See more »


Featured in The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2003) See more »


Silver Wings
Written by Merle Haggard
Performed by David Morse and Wylie & The Wild West
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User Reviews

A Compelling Story Beautifully Told
13 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie has recently been playing on Showtime in my area and I was interested in watching it because I am a fan of both Ryan Gosling and David Morse. I first became a Ryan Gosling fan after seeing him in The Notebook. I have to say his performance in this film did not disappoint. David Morse's performance was one of his best. After reading all the comments and replies here I just wanted to add some of my thoughts about the film and what I felt the filmmakers were going for.

First of all, I am not a fan of movies that are neatly bundled into a happy ending by the end of the film. I like those films that portray life as it really is and that make you THINK. The most memorable aspect of this film, indeed the most heartbreaking, is Gid's torment and loneliness in life. I don't think he was gay, just a lost soul looking for acceptance, friendship, indeed reciprocal love if you will, and a sense of purpose in life. Roy's character seemed to be looking for most of the same things. He had a father who wasn't there for him in life and a mother so bitter over the divorce that she was too busy trying to find love of her own to take the time to nurture her own son.

I found the comments regarding the relationship between Gid and Studebaker very interesting re: were they homosexuals? Just because two men form a friendship in life doesn't mean they are gay. To me, Studebaker's jealousy over Gid's interest in Roy is just a natural human emotion. Haven't you at times been jealous when a friend of the same sex showed interest in someone new? Does that make you gay? Also, it doesn't seem there was anyone else in the town who gave a damn about him (Studebaker) so any threat to that bond frightened him. Their friendship was most likely just that of two lost souls trying to get by in life. It made me think so much more of Gid that he did not pass judgement on Studebaker -- he cared enough about his well being to try to stop his drinking, to give him his insulin injections, to try to get a room for him at the shelter on that last bitterly cold night.

The scene in which Gid is hugging Roy and won't let go was very powerful. Roy, who had been told by others that Gid was gay, must have had that thought foremost in his mind and misinterpreted Gid's demonstration of affection. Perhaps Gid, remembering that Roy had just lost his father, wanted to show him that he is not alone, that there are people in the world who really care. Perhaps Roy reminded Gid of the boy who drowned and he was transferring his feelings of guilt over that tragedy into that embrace. For whatever the reason, Roy's embarrassment which quickly progressed to rage that Gid might be demonstrating some sort of homosexual intent, are a damning indictment of our society. Homophobia at it's worse.

The scene in the hospital at the end of the movie when Gid takes Roy's hand and places it on his forehead was very moving. Roy did not pull his hand away; instead, in this simple, gentle gesture, the filmmakers were showing us that Roy had overcome his fear of demonstrating affection toward another as well as overcoming any homophobic thoughts he might have had about Gid.

The acting was first rate all around. Compelling story line. Beautiful Montana scenery. Sound quality not the best but I would definitely recommend this film to others.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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