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Monster's Ball (2001)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  1 March 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 68,941 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 517 user | 153 critic | 32 from

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.


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »



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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
John McConnell ...
Harvey Shoonmaker
Phil Huggins
Tommy Roulaine


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 <>

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:

$133,208 (USA) (4 January 2002)


£2,267,433 (UK) (19 July 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (unrated director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The French title of this movie literally translates as 'In the shadow of hate'. See more »


When Hank goes to clean up the backseat of his car, two of the cameramen's reflections are visible in the back window of his Ford Crown Victoria. See more »


Buck Grotowski: You ain't no man till you split dark oak.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in The Salon (2005) See more »


I Couldn't Love You (More Than I Do Now)
Performed by Jean Wells
Written by Jean Wells
Published by IZA Music Corporation (BMI)
Courtesy of Sugarooi
Licensed by The Clyde Otis Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Far More Than Just That Sex Scene
27 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This movie was not a big favorite with audiences and I figured I would be among the majority on this one......but I wasn't - I like this film. In fact, I liked it even better on the second viewing.

I found it to be one of those rare movies that deals with racism that doesn't come on too heavy-handed with all the political correctness nonsense. It handled the problem intelligently, I thought.

The cinematographer, Robert Schaefer, did a terrific job with this, too, and that is another reason I have come to really enjoy this film. The visuals - and the audio - are outstanding.

None of the characters are particularly likable but I thought Billy Bob Thornton's "Hank Grotowski" was so interesting a character that I concentrated more on that than whether I liked him or not. However, I wound up liking him, anyway, and boy, did his character change in this film. There is a steamy sex scene in here with Billy Bob and Halle Barry that was quite the talk when the film was released. I didn't think it was all that it was made out to be. I've seen steamier moments such as Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger going at it in the non-rated version of "The Getaway."

Overall, this a rough film in spots but I think it is a solid, underrated drama that offers far more than the "celebrated" sex scene. This is a well-made movie.

57 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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'Cause I really need to be taken care of... HoorayforHolly
Executed for what bgfy26
Sex Scene chrisuis
The sex scene wasn't offensive in my opinion. Scarface8890
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What's the significance of the three tombstones? p-chandarana
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