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Lawless (2012)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  29 August 2012 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 171,717 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?


Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke appear together again in Child 44 (2015). See more »


Heavy kudzu growth is visible in many scenes - this is an invasive plant species introduced to the United States in the early 20th century, and it's much more common in Georgia where the film was shot, than Appalachian Virginia where the film was set. And it probably wouldn't have been in either of those areas at all in the 1930's. See more »


Forrest Bondurant: It is not the violence that sets men apart, alright, it is the distance that he is prepared to go.
See more »


Referenced in Film 2015: Episode dated 12 November 2014 (2014) See more »


Midnight Run
Words and music by Marc Copely, James Bernard Dolan and Adam Levy
Performed by Willie Nelson
Produced by Buddy Cannon
Licensed courtesy of The Weinstein Company, LLC
Willie Nelson appears courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Brilliant drama
7 August 2013 | by (England) – See all my reviews

A lot of people are giving Lawless fairly negative reviews so I think I need to explain why it's such a great film. First of all it's really unique because of the specific setting of it during the prohibition in the United States which made it interesting viewing.

It is about three brothers who are running an illegal but successful business which soon attracts attention they don't want and trouble ensues. There is quite a lot of action in this film but it is mostly about the drama and the different things each character goes through.

There are some fantastic actors in this film who all show their versatility and most notable for me was Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf who did an amazing job of making their characters real to the audience and made you really care for them.

It is quite a long film but so many different things happen and it kept me glued from start to finish. There are some very grim scenes, some intense action, emotional scenes and of course romance and even a few comical moments - I think this film has a bit of everything.

This film is not all about the action so don't expect it to be, but the main element is the theme of brotherhood which I loved. Also the fact that Lawless is based on a true story made it really interesting for me.

It won't be for everyone but I thought this film was brilliant and would recommend it.

21 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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