7.4/10
5,271
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

at Amazon

3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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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

Musician/Actor Yasiin Bey took the album artwork of his 2009 album 'The Ecstatic' from a frame in this film. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywoodn't (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Unforgettable
Written by Irving Gordon (uncredited)
Performed by Dinah Washington
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A piece of humanity
13 April 2008 | by madmaxmediaSee all my reviews

It's not about blacks, it's not even necessarily about the poor, it's a piece of humanity through the eyes of a sensitive filmmaker, and as such is a subtle and delicate thing. Unfortunately, all the 'hooplah' (Library of Congress, student film, etc.) about the movie I think basically buries the beauty of this movie for many viewers.

The beauty of this movie are in the subtle details that Burnett catches. The film has been described as being 'documentary' in style, but to call it that misses the deeper beauty of many of the scenes. To call it a 'slice of life' may be a bit more accurate, but even that doesn't sit well with me- it implies a sort of haphazard, random, cutesy story meant to seem ordinary but 'mean' more, or end up wrapping itself around a common Hollywood plot and message (love conquers all, try hard and don't give up, etc.) This movie is more like a wonderfully telling and sensitive and subtle piece of poetry. Without a significant plot line, all there may be are details, but the devil is in the details. Details captured from real life, not clumsy metaphors to assigned like a color-by-number picture.

I don't like giving ratings, especially too soon after I see a movie. But I'll rate it a 9 for now, and perhaps revise later (though I doubt I will ever lower my score.) A movie like this can be challenging to watch. There's no parts to piece together or 'figure out', there are no big character arcs or big dramatic moments. I'll leave it to each own's opinion whether this is a good or bad thing, but all the hyperbole aside, in my opinion this is a great movie.


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