7.4/10
5,324
36 user 91 critic

Killer of Sheep (1978)

Set in the Watts area of Los Angeles, a slaughterhouse worker must suspend his emotions to continue working at a job he finds repugnant, and then he finds he has little sensitivity for the family he works so hard to support.

Director:

Charles Burnett

Writer:

Charles Burnett

On Disc

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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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An improvised late '60's short-subject student film, and debut movie of Director, Charles Burnett; done in the neo-realist, documentary film style. A day-in-the-life South Central L.A. tale... See full summary »

Director: Charles Burnett
Stars: Andy Burnett, Eugene Cherry, Charles Bracy
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry G. Sanders ... Stan (as Henry Gayle Sanders)
Kaycee Moore ... Stan's Wife
Charles Bracy Charles Bracy ... Bracy
Angela Burnett ... Stan's Daughter
Eugene Cherry Eugene Cherry ... Eugene
Jack Drummond ... Stan's Son
Slim Slim
Delores Farley Delores Farley
Dorothy Stengel Dorothy Stengel
Tobar Mayo Tobar Mayo
Chris Terrill Chris Terrill
Lawrence Pierott Lawrence Pierott
Russell Miles Russell Miles
Homer Jai Homer Jai
Johnny Smoke Johnny Smoke
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Storyline

Stan works in drudgery at a slaughterhouse. His personal life is drab. Dissatisfaction and ennui keep him unresponsive to the needs of his adoring wife, and he must struggle against influences which would dishonor and endanger him and his family. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 November 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Matador de ovejas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,728, 6 April 2007, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$404,508

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$456,459
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

After Stan and his friend load the engine block on the truck, they drive away and it falls out, and a car is then seen parked along the curb. The car was not there when they carried the engine out. See more »

Quotes

Man: [first lines]
Man: [to his older son] You let anyone jump on your brother again, and you just stand and watch - boy, I'll beat you to death! I don't care who started what, or whether he was winnin' or losin'; well, you get a thick oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, a goddam brick, get *anything*, and you knock the shit out of whoever fightin' your brother! 'Cause if anything was to happen to me or your mother, you ain't got nobody except your brother. And this goes for him, too - and he knows! You're the one that keep ...
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Reasons
Written by Philip Bailey (uncredited), Charles Stepney (uncredited) and Maurice White (uncredited)
Performed by Earth Wind & Fire
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User Reviews

 
A masterpiece
23 August 2000 | by tvspaceSee all my reviews

Raw American Poetry. Killer of Sheep takes the immediacy of Italian neo-Realist cinema and shapes it into a dreamy, beautiful montage of everyday life in Watts, Los Angeles, California, in the 1970s.

The revelations, in the year 2000, are surprising: black kids in the middle of the Ghetto acted up and goofed off exactly the same as white kids in small towns across the midwest...but not like black OR white kids today. The folks in this movie have an innocence about them that survives, along with their dignity, regardless of the social decay around them. You are left with a simple fact: these are still country people, who happen to be living in a city.

For anyone, like me, who grew up in the 1970s, the movie aches with a sense of a lost era, when being a kid meant building forts out of left-over construction materials, throwing dirt clods, and laying down big fat skidmarks with your bicycle.

And all this is just the subplot. The main storyline, of a slaughterhouse-working father trying to run a stable family in the midst of urban decay, is simple, understated, and powerful. The musical sequences inside the slaughterhouse rival Kubrick's ability to juxtapose music and image in a manner that creates infinite levels of meaning and irony. You can only sit with your mouth half agape and think, 'aaah.'

Like La Jetee, this is a movie that will allow you to see life anew, with children's eyes. Never pass up a chance to see it.


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