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Walk the Line (2005)

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A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.



(book), (book) | 2 more credits »
1,094 ( 550)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 44 wins & 43 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry Lee Lewis (as Waylon Malloy Payne)
Dan Beene ...


While growing up in the Great Depression era, Johnny Cash takes an interest in music and eventually moves out of his Arkansas town to join the air force in Germany. While there, he buys his first guitar and writes his own music, and proposes to Vivian. When they got married, they settled in Tennessee and with a daughter, he supported the family by being a salesman. He discovers a man who can pursue his dreams and ends up getting a record with the boys. Shortly after that, he was on a short tour, promoting his songs, and meets the already famous and beautiful June Carter. Then as they get on the long-term tours with June, the boys, and Jerry Lee Lewis, they have this unspoken relationship that grows. But when June leaves the tour because of his behavior, he was a drug addict. His marriage was also falling apart, and when he sees June years later at an awards show, he forces June to tour with them again, promising June to support her two kids and herself. While the tour goes on, the ... Written by kayleigh

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Love is a burning thing.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language, thematic material and depiction of drug dependency | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

18 November 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cash  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$22,347,341 (USA) (18 November 2005)


$119,518,352 (USA) (28 April 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


June Carter Cash died before production began. Reese Witherspoon's research included looking through Carter's closet for inspiration. See more »


When Johny and June are leaving the store with the fishing poles in Wheeling, WV, June says "I think there's a lake this way". There are no lakes near downtown Wheeling; however, the Ohio River runs along the entire length of the city. See more »


[first lines]
Warden: M-Mr. Cash? M-Mr. Cash?
See more »


Referenced in The Mindy Project: Santa Fe (2013) See more »


Home of the Blues
Written by Johnny Cash (as John R. Cash), Lillie McAlpin and Glenn Douglas
Sung by Joaquin Phoenix
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

worthy of its subject matter, truthful
19 November 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Whenever I see so much "Oscar worthy" tags/blurbs in an ad campaign I get nervous, see Cinderella Man. Usually you look closely at the fine print and see that the esteemed critic lauding the film is Joe Schmoe from the One Stop Light Bugle Press in Buttcreek, Illinois or a low level flunky who just happens to work for the media conglomerate that is distributing the film. So my heart sank a little when a film I have been eagerly awaiting was swaddled with such praise when the ads hit the air.

But they're right for once.

Joaquin Phoenix wears Johnny Cash like a suit. He isn't doing a Rich Little impersonation, you don't rub your eyes in disbelief, but he channels a man so distinct in appearance and voice to a level that is beyond admirable. One of the traits that made Johnny Cash a legend was that nobody sounded or looked like him. Short of a computer generated Cash walking around in his own bio-pic like one of those John Wayne beer commercials this is the definitive representation.

And yet Phoenix may not give the best performance in the film.

Reese Witherspoon more than holds up her end in a role that easily could have been reduced to a clichéd bumpkin. Witherspoon portrays the on-stage June in the way June portrayed her own "character", the stage persona that people adored, while giving her the resolve and inner strength to be the woman who tamed a hell-bent, grizzly bear of a man like John.

The chemistry of Phoenix and Witherspoon together in any scene, but their on-stage duets in particular, are truthful in a way that resonates long after the credits. I know that unless you have been living in a cave for the past week you have likely been bombarded with the word that the actors sing themselves without use of lip syncing. I have never been a fan of musicals, or even musical performances in a film. They generally seem forced and uncomfortable to me, the moment when I stop experiencing the story and feel reminded that I am watching a movie. I never felt that in this film. I never felt that their singing took the focus of the film, but the performances work with the story like no other music bio I have ever seen. I never felt as if I was being led through the catalog, the songs felt as organic and natural as any spoken dialog in a great narrative.

This film far exceeded my expectations and afforded me the first trip home from a theater with a true feeling of satisfaction in a very, very long time. Highly recommended.

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