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Lee Daniels' The Butler (I) (2013)
"The Butler" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  16 August 2013 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 72,691 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 299 user | 285 critic | 47 from Metacritic.com

As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society.

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 15 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Mr. Jenkins (as John Fertitta)
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White Usher
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Storyline

Cecil Gaines was a sharecropper's son who grew up in the 1920s as a domestic servant for the white family who casually destroyed his. Eventually striking out on his own, Cecil becomes a hotel valet of such efficiency and discreteness in the 1950s that he becomes a butler in the White House itself. There, Cecil would serve numerous US Presidents over the decades as a passive witness of history with the American Civil Rights Movement gaining momentum even as his family has troubles of its own. As his wife, Gloria, struggles with her addictions and his defiant eldest son, Louis, strives for a just world, Cecil must decide whether he should take action in his own way. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One quiet voice can ignite a revolution

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

16 August 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lee Daniels' The Butler  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$24,637,312 (USA) (16 August 2013)

Gross:

$116,631,310 (USA) (7 February 2014)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Brothers Pictures, owners of a 1916 silent short film called The Butler (1916), filed a claim with the MPAA to rename this film. The MPAA allowed the Weinstein Company to add Lee Daniels' name in front of the title, under the condition that his name was "75% the size of The Butler". On July 23, 2013, the distributor unveiled a revised film poster, with the title "Lee Daniels' The Butler". See more »

Goofs

During the dinner scene, Cecil claims that Sidney Poitier won the Academy Award in 1968 for In the Heat of the Night. That is not true. It was Rod Steiger who won the Academy Award for the same film. The film also won Best Picture. Poitier won the Award in 1964 for Lilies of the Field, so Cecil may have confused the two. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Cecil Gaines: The only thing I ever knew was cotton. It was hard work.
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Connections

Referenced in Tosh.0: We Buy Golf (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Family Reunion
Written by Kenny Gamble (as Kenneth Gamble) and Leon Huff (as Leonard Huff)
Performed by The O'Jays
Courtesy of Philadelphia International Records and Sony Music Entertainment
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
absorbing and rewarding drama
14 November 2013 | by See all my reviews

The Butler looks at the civil-rights movement from the point of view of ordinary African-American people. The genius of this film is the choice of a white house servant and his life as a focal point to the historical events portrayed.

The drama is both absorbing and emotionally rich. What is surprising is the way that sympathy for Whitaker's central character, Cecil Gaines, is so strong that the events, though sprawling, always resonate as intricate pieces of his life; because of this anchor, the film remains intimate and personal, even when the fate of an entire nation is involved.

Each actor excels here, the reason for this is that they, while obviously being highly talented individuals, are led by a commanding director who knows exactly what he's saying at all times, while keeping all the complexity of his subject matter.

You could say this is an African-American Forrest Gump: the story of an everyman whose fate collides repeatedly with historical figures and events, but The Butler is far more mature and subtle work which, beyond race, questions our roles as men and women in our daily lives. It questions and explores moral responsibility and how from generation to generation we can all search for what is the right moral conduct in the face of opposition, oppression and evil. It also shows how we can make a profound difference in life through dedication, integrity and love.


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Why did the director put his own name in the title? Effervesce
What was with the random Obama propganda? starcraftbw88
I almost stopped watching soon as... airborne_trooper
Who else found the casting too distracting ? Dubdub1974
Editing of Scenes- Crude Joke tieuellegacy
How was Warner able to supress the Black staff's salaries for so long? angus052394
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