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Lawless (2012)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  29 August 2012 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 171,743 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 273 user | 352 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits.



(screenplay), (novel)
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1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Tolin ...
Deputy Jeff Richards
Sheriff Hodges
Tizwell Minnix


In 1931, in Franklin County, Virginia, Forrest Bondurant is a legend as immortal after surviving the war. Together with his brothers Howard and the coward Jack, the Bondurant family has a distillery and bootlegging business. When the corrupt District Attorney Mason Wardell arrives in Franklin with the unscrupulous Special Deputy Charles Rakes, the Bondurant family refuses to pay the required bribe to the authorities. Rakes pursues the brothers and unsuccessfully tries to find their distillery. Meanwhile Forrest hires the waitress Maggie, a woman with a hidden past in Chicago, and they fall in love with each other. Jack courts the preacher's daughter Bertha Minnix and deals a great load of alcoholic liquor with the powerful gangster Floyd Banner. Jack shows off in Franklin attracting the attention of Rakes that finds the location of their distillery. When he kills the crippled Cricket Pete, the locals join forces to face the corrupt authorities. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When the law became corrupt, outlaws became heroes.


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 August 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Promised Land  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,001,566 (USA) (31 August 2012)


$37,397,291 (USA) (21 November 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Actor Shia LaBeouf drank moonshine in order to gain as authentic an appearance as possible. By his own admission his drinking and over-aggressive attitude caused co-star Mia Wasikowska to try and leave the film. See more »


Corrugated cardboard boxes of this durability, seen here when new, unused moonshine jars were unpacked, were not available and utilized until the 1950's. See more »


Floyd Banner: [after knocking out Gummy Walsh with a shovel] I've got every lawman in three fucking states up my ass. The last thing I need is some hard-ass crackers pulling a blood feud on me! Now get this sack of shit out of here!
See more »


Written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
Performed by The Bootleggers
Featuring Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris appears courtesy of Nonesuch Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Something's went wrong
11 September 2012 | by (North Lanarkshire, Scotland) – See all my reviews

'Lawless' is definitely a great film but there's something missing.

The acting is really strong; Tom Hardy's performance is probably his best so far. His voice is so different to his normal voice which really highlights how he has worked hard on his performance. I was really surprised by Shia LaBeouf's performance, he's never really impressed me but he gave a great performance here. He really proved that he could do some proper acting in the future and hopefully move away from the 'Transformers' series. Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain both perform well but their roles are wasted here. They have no real purpose in the film and are merely there as love interests. It wouldn't have been such an issue if they had gotten any actress for these roles but they instead chose two of the best rising stars with huge amounts of talent. Guy Pierce is outstanding here but his role becomes almost comical towards the end. He gives a great performance though and is quite disturbing. Gary Oldman gives a really good performance but has only 5 minutes screen time! It seems like such a waste, it would have been interesting to see his character included in the plot a lot more.

Overall this film was fantastic but there was a few things that director John Hillcoat could have improved that would have made this film truly brilliant, such as giving more characters some crucial screen time. The violence was not really an issue; I don't think it diverted the film away from anything which is good. It contained the right amount of violence for the film and shouldn't put anyone off from watching this.

72 of 116 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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