In 1995 Director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) returned to rural Southern Illinois to reconnect with Stevie Fielding, a troubled young boy he had been an 'Advocate Big Brother' to ten years earlier.


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Cast overview:
Himself (as Stephen Dale Fielding)
Tonya Gregory ...
Bernice Hagler ...
Verna Hagler ...
Brenda Hickam ...
Doug Hickam ...
Judy James ...


He began a film, a search, to discover not only what had happened to Stevie over the past ten years but to understand the forces that had shaped his entire life. Part way through the filming, Stevie is arrested and charged with a serious crime that tears his family apart. What was to be a modest profile turns into a intimate four and half year chronicle of Stevie, his broken family, the criminal justice system and the filmmaker himself, as they all struggle with what Stevie has done and who he has become. Written by Anonymous

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and descriptions of abuse | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 March 2003 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

O Stevie  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$9,383 (USA) (28 March 2003)


$97,044 (USA) (2 May 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Stephen Fielding: [to his baby niece, lovingly] Hey, you got your new face there, don't you? You got your new face there, don't you?
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The Maker
Written by Daniel Lanois
Performed by Willie Nelson & Emmylou Harris
Courtesy of Polygram Records
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User Reviews

Decent premise, well directed, great access to principals, but entirely too long
3 February 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Like in most of my reviews, I don't get too heavily invested in talking "plot". I know that sounds counter intuitive, but everybody gives you the plot, it's all over the Internet, it's all the trailers, the previews, the talk shows.... everywhere. So the plot is not too hard to find. What I do is get a little bit more into the technical aspects of the film and I think that's because I tend to watch films a bit more analytically than other people. This is unfortunate for me because while other people are enjoying a usually good movie, I'm sitting there thinking that couldn't be done because of this, or that's not realistic because of that, etc. Just watch "Speed", it's an homage to cinematic frustration for me, along with many others. Anyway this movie briefly is obviously about a 20-something (Director Steve James who plays himself, as does everyone else) who, at the urging others, befriends a young child Stevie (Steven Fielding - the identical first names was painful for me for some reason) in a "big brother" type of relationship, with honestly the best intentions in mind. Several years later the James, now also a film maker, returns to glean what he can about what ever happened to little Stevie from years ago, only to find out he's lived a life of crime; everything from innocuous to petty to questionable to downright disturbing. The viewer, though it is not verbalized, is left to wonder whether James feels as though his imprint on this young life did in some manner negatively affect it. It couldn't have. James and his wife are obviously wonderful people. Regardless, It's no secret that about halfway through the movie Stevie, the one time little brother, gets arrested for sexually assaulting his female little cousin. Now normally I don't get into this in this forum, but it seems appropriate here. Anyway, I normally tend to be a bit more liberal in cases such as this, however I simply don't get the outcry for leniency and compassion for this offender with myriad, wide ranging crimes spanning a lifetime despite a loving fiancé and supportive family (despite issues that were Dmittedly ghastly when he was a baby involving parenting-by-absentia etc. He admitted what he did, of course recanted but did so after a good amount of time had passed. After he subsequently told James that he wasn't going to prison, nor would he ever register as a sex offender (the implication being that he would kill himself before either of these two whatever occur), James had to fight valiantly to hold this thing together - and it was going down quickly. I don't mean in terms of quality of the movie, i just mean in the "tough-guy" rhetoric of the real-life players. Look, these guys are probably great fellows (one even boasts to be the head of the Aryan Brotherhood. Yup, the HEAD and everything! Now that can't be all bad, can it?) As I was saying, as far as career criminal sexually deviant incestuous child molesters and heads of Aryan Brotherhoods go, these guys are probably good neighbors. But I'm not in to guys who brag about striking women (particularly family members), I don't think the phrase "That's what she said" it's funny anymore, besides I bet she never said it to him anyway. These guys are big talkers and I'm just not interested in big talkers. They bore me. Like my dad says, one of his best ever, they never seem to have anything interesting to say, and they're always the loudest ones in the room. It's the same thing over and over and over again that everyone pretends to laugh at like it's the first time they heard it - that's what you're watching when you watch this. It's painful. Like I said, it's well-made I have no problems or issues there . It's the subject matter, it's the content, it's the irascible and obnoxiousness of the characters. Stevie gets his in the end and James makes a difficult to watch film if, like me, you're not into big talkers. But on rainy Sunday afternoon when your team has a bye, it's probably worth a watch, albeit 30 minutes too long. That's the most endorsements I can give this one.

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