A Painted House (2003)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Family  |  27 April 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 776 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 2 critic

A young boy, his family, and the migrant workers they hire to work their cotton farm struggle against difficult odds to raise and sell the crop. Meanwhile, the boy dreams of living in ... See full summary »



(teleplay), (novel), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eli 'Pappy' Chandler
Kathleen Chandler
Jesse Chandler
Gran Chandler
Tally Spruill
Mr. Spruill
Hank Spruill
Stick Peters
Luis Garcia ...
Cowboy (as Luis Esteban Garcia)
Mrs. Spruill
Trot Spruill (as Luke Eberl)
Bo Spruill
Richard Crowe ...
Mr. Latcher


A young boy, his family, and the migrant workers they hire to work their cotton farm struggle against difficult odds to raise and sell the crop. Meanwhile, the boy dreams of living in better conditions. However, with this particularly tough farming season, the boy learns that his challenges guide him in discovering who he really is. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »


Desperate Times, hard truths, unexpected dangers. One extraordinary summer will change a young boy and his family...forever.


Drama | Family


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Release Date:

27 April 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: A Painted House (#52.3)  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The town scenes were filmed in Lepanto, AR and many residents of the city served as extras in the movies. See more »


When the soda fountain worker give the customer a fountain drink, the seltzer from the spigot comes out brown. Seltzer is clear. All fountain drinks, including Coca Cola, required a squirt of flavored syrup then the cup was held under the fountain spigot. The clerk would push the handle back for a pressurized squirt to mix the clear seltzer and syrup then would pull the handle forward to fill the glass. See more »


Edited into Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

Nicely done story of hard times in 1950s Arkansas
28 April 2003 | by See all my reviews

In Arkansas during the Korean War, 10-year-old Luke Chandler lives with his parents and grandparents on a farm where cotton is the primary crop. To pick the cotton, the family must hire 'hill people' and Mexicans. The hill people do not get along particularly well with those who look down on them, and sometimes they get into fights. Hank Spruill is especially prone to getting in trouble. One day in the house, he makes demands of Luke and, figuring Luke looks down on him, points out that at least his house is painted, while to Luke's family, paint is a luxury. Later in the movie, part of the house has been mysteriously painted. The prime suspect is Hank's disabled brother Trot, who can't work in the fields.

Luke witnesses a fight Hank gets into that results in a death. He is afraid to tell the truth since Hank doesn't like him anyway, but the police officer who investigates appears satisfied with the explanation of self-defense. Hank's teenage sister appears to be falling for Luke at first, but later she is seen with Cowboy, one of the Mexicans, and Hank already despises Cowboy.

The hard life on the farm is made even worse by several weather events during the second half of the movie. The promise of better times ahead is suggested when Luke's cousin shows up in a brand new Buick (Luke has never even been in a car, only trucks). His spoiled rich wife can't believe people have to live like this and is horrified by having to use an outhouse (This was one of my favorite scenes; Kiersten Warren is so good in roles like this). Also, the whole town is excited by a new thing called television and the idea of actually being able to watch the World Series. Luke is a Cardinals fan, but he gives up his dream of a Cardinals jacket for something more important.

This is almost a family movie. There are two violent scenes that result in deaths (both witnessed by Luke; the second time, the person responsible threatens Luke's mother if he tells). People get into fights a lot in this environment, but the others are no big deal. Other possible red flags for parents: the birth of a child to an unwed mother, and the identification of a possible father. Other than these incidents, this movie could be acceptable viewing for the entire family.

This movie was well done, and I thought the performances by many of the actors were good. I especially liked Luke's grandfather, who could be stern but tender. Not everyone has an easy life, and those of us who had it too soft can learn a lot from a movie such as this.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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