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Monster's Ball (2001)

R | | Drama, Romance | 1 March 2002 (USA)
1:31 | Trailer

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After a family tragedy, a racist prison guard reexamines his attitudes while falling in love with the African American wife of the last prisoner he executed.


1,725 ( 444)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Taylor Simpson ...
Gabrielle Witcher ...
Amber Rules ...
Charles Cowan Jr. ...
Willie Cooper
Taylor LaGrange ...
Darryl Cooper
Ryrus Cooper (as Mos Def)
Anthony Bean ...
Dappa Smith
Georgia Ann Paynes
Phil Huggins
Tommy Roulaine
Leah Loftin ...


Set in the Southern United States, 'Monster's Ball' is a tale of a racist white man, Hank, who falls in love with a black woman named Leticia. Ironically Hank is a prison guard working on Death Row who executed Leticia's husband. Hank and Leticia's interracial affair leads to confusion and new ideas for the two unlikely lovers. Written by Anna <annachan@amazon.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A lifetime of change can happen in a single moment.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 March 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El pasado nos condena  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$174,109, 30 December 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$31,252,964, 2 June 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (unrated director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Angela Bassett purportedly turned down the role of Leticia, stating "I wasn't going to be a prostitute on film..." However, Lions Gate Production President Michael Paseornek and the film's producer Lee Daniels rebut Bassett stating that she was never even offered the role, and was already committed to another film. See more »


(at around 1h 30 mins) When Leticia is working in the diner she puts the glass top back on the cake stand twice. See more »


Sonny Grotowski: You hate me. You hate me, don't you? Answer me! You hate me don't you!
Hank Grotowski: Yes, I hate you. Always have.
Sonny Grotowski: Well I've always loved you.
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Crazy Credits

Thanks to Sam, Austin, Gabrielle. Scott Lambert is thanked twice. See more »


Referenced in The Chase Australia: Episode #2.61 (2016) See more »


I'm Your Man
Performed by The Jayhawks
Written by The Jayhawks
Published by Abstinthe Music/Warner Tamerlane Publishing Co.
Courtesy of American Recordings
Produced by Asche & Spencer (as Asche and Spencer)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Excellent Acting Fills Out Taut Small Town Story
20 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

"Monster's Ball" is the fourth of the 2001 movies for grown-ups about adults dealing with death. Here the main characters find redemption through personal relationships and provide hope.

While some in the audience complained it was too slow, the original script by Milo Addica and Will Rokos feels like an expansion of a short story, as the outlines of the plot are fairly simple and not all the back story is explained, and riddled with coincidences barely made feasible by taking place in a small town.

Director Marc Forster finds a way to visually communicate the difference between sex and intimacy.

But the actors fill the spaces of inarticulate characters with complex performances, not just award-winning Halle Berry (a long way from "X Men"). Billy Bob Thornton starts out slightly less laconic than in "The Man Who Wasn't There" but very gradually finds the ability and a reason to smile.

Less attention has been paid to the excellence in smaller roles by Heath Ledger (yes hunky Heath) and Peter Boyle.

Country music is used in the background only when the radio is on; it's a nice local station they got there that plays Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

(originally written 2/17/2002)

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