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A History of Violence (2005)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  30 September 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 178,671 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 1,113 user | 435 critic | 37 from Metacritic.com

A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core.



(graphic novel), (graphic novel), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 34 wins & 60 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheriff Sam Carney
Bobby Singer
Gerry Quigley ...
Deborah Drakeford ...
Sarah Stall
Charlie Roarke
Bill MacDonald ...
Frank Mulligan


This is the story of a mild-mannered man, named Tom Stall, who becomes a local hero through an act of violence, he lives a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana. But one night their idyllic existence is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner. Sensing danger, he takes action and saves his customers and friends in the self-defense killings of two-sought-after criminals. Heralded as a hero, Tom's life is changed overnight, attracting a national media circus, which forces him into the spotlight. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a mysterious and threatening man who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who wronged him in the past. As Tom and his family fight back against this case of mistaken identity and struggle to cope with their changed reality, they are forced to confront their relationships and the... Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Everyone has something to hide. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence, graphic sexuality, nudity, language and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

30 September 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una historia violenta  »

Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$515,992 (USA) (23 September 2005)


$89,838 (Chile) (31 March 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The mobsters were originally supposed to be Italian, but after the casting of Ed Harris and William Hurt, David Cronenberg decided to change the mob to Irish. He felt Harris and Hurt wouldn't make convincing Italians. See more »


When Edie drives up to the shopping center, the shadow of the camera and crane is visible in the driver window as she opens the door. See more »


[first lines]
William Orser: So we keep headin' east?
Leland Jones: Yeah, that's the idea.
William Orser: Stay out of the big cities?
Leland Jones: Uh-huh.
See more »


References Larry King Live (1985) See more »


Life of a Fool
Written by Paul Burch
Performed by Paul Burch
Courtesy of Bloodshot Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A History of Violence is a stunningly intelligent picture.
16 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

David Cronenberg is a very accomplished director - what with "The Fly" (1986), "Naked Lunch", "Scanners", and of coarse "Dead Ringers" he has done a marvelous job directing numerous pictures with different subjects and genres. However all his films carry on thing through and that is emotional impact of events on the individuals depicted. "A History" once again follows through with that in images and feelings almost on par with "Dead Ringers". This is a study of violence, through an incident and how it's effects play on those affiliated with the committer. Viggo Mortenson turns in a tour-de-force performance as Tom Stall, without his acting abilities the film would fall under the weight of it's subject matter. The script is a wide, breathing, and alive, it conveys and allows every emotion to weave through it, without detouring from the main theme. Cronenberg's directing is as excellent as ever, and though some may argue this is his most "main-stream" film his style and presence is felt throughout. From the beginning lingering shot of the hotel room, you will be hooked and entranced throughout. The only negative thing available to be said would be that the son's (Ashton Holme's) acting is very stilted throughout and when he is set to deliver an emotional outcry, he falls slightly below expectation, especially amongst such well equipped and experienced actors as Maria Bello (Edie Stall). Howard Shore's score is very subdued, but it should be, and it elevates the ever encompassing dread and tension that is on full display through the film (aside from the beginning). All in all, I just must say great film.

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