7.4/10
8,605
80 user 39 critic

Tender Mercies (1983)

A broken-down, middle-aged country singer gets a new wife, reaches out to his long-lost daughter, and tries to put his troubled life back together.

Director:

Bruce Beresford

Writer:

Horton Foote
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Duvall ... Mac Sledge
Tess Harper ... Rosa Lee
Betty Buckley ... Dixie
Wilford Brimley ... Harry
Ellen Barkin ... Sue Anne
Allan Hubbard ... Sonny
Lenny von Dohlen ... Robert (as Lenny Von Dohlen)
Paul Gleason ... Reporter
Michael Crabtree Michael Crabtree ... Lewis Menefee
Norman Bennett ... Reverend Hotchkiss
Andrew Scott Hollon Andrew Scott Hollon ... Larue
Rick Murray Rick Murray ... Jake - Slater Mill Boys Member
Stephen Funchess Stephen Funchess ... Bertie - Slater Mill Boys Member
Glen Fleming Glen Fleming ... Steve - Slater Mill Boys Member
James Aaron James Aaron ... Henry - Slater Mill Boys Member
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Storyline

Alchoholic former country singer Mac Sledge makes friends with a young widow and her son. The friendship enables him to find inspiration to resume his career. Written by Stefan Halldorsson <ms@vortex.is>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Robert Duvall is Mac Sledge, His fight for respect was just beginning. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 June 1983 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

El precio de la felicidad See more »

Filming Locations:

Arlington, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$46,977, 6 March 1983

Gross USA:

$8,443,124

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,443,124
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 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

In the final scenes, Sonny is shown with empty farmland behind him, then after a cut to a wider shot, suddenly the gas station and motel are behind him. See more »

Quotes

Mac Sledge: [to Rosa Lee] I don't know why I wandered out to this part of Texas drunk, and you took me in and pitied me and helped me to straighten out, marry me. Why? Why did that happen? Is there a reason that happened? And Sonny's daddy died in the war, my daughter killed in an automobile accident. Why? See, I don't trust happiness. I never did, I never will.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Howard Stern on Demand: Robert Duvall (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

We Have Heard The Joyful Sound
(1882) (uncredited)
Words by Priscilla Owens
Music ("Jesus Saves") by William J. Kirkpatrick
Sung by church choir and congregation
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Drama With Realism, Heart & Dignity
21 July 2007 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This is a movie with a lot of "dignity." It has such realistic people, it kept me fascinated because it seemed so different from most films I've watched.

There aren't a lot of dramatic things that happen in the story yet, as a whole, it's a wonderful tale that stays with you. It's a lot more than just seeing an Oscar-winning performance by Robert Duvall as Texan and former C&W singer and writer, "Mac Sledge." It's simply good storytelling

I can't say I am a fan of Duvall's country singing, but that is the only thing I didn't like. Well, maybe "Dixie" (Betty Buckley), who played a bitter ex-wife of Duvall's in here. She was not pleasant, but others were really nice, likable people. Yet, this is not some sappy movie just because most of the people are good folks.

As in film noirs in which the viewer has a sense of dread, knowing something bad is around the corner, I felt the same thing in this film, even though it didn't necessarily happen. I mean with the main characters: Mac, Rosa Lee and Sonny. There was underlying tension, probably because of Sledge's alcoholic and violent past, that made me fear that any minute he was going to ruin the nice setup he had with a good woman and nice stepson.

Duvall, as usual, makes his role a fascinating and unpredictable one. With many of the people he has played over the years, you never am sure what his characters are going to do next. Tess Harper, as Mac's new wife, and Alan Hubbard, as her son, are two of the most realistic characters I've ever seen on film. It helped they were from the area so their accents were real.

This is a just straight drama, with a solid screenplay by Horton Foote and direction by Bruce Beresford ("Driving Miss Daisy"). In addition, actors Buckley (who can sing, too), Wilford Brimley and Ellen Barkin all give memorable supporting performances.

It was an interesting tale of something I have rarely seen on film in the past 50 years: a good Christian woman lifting up a man to her level. She never had to do it verbally, never nagged or preached to the man, just set example of how to act and be a loving, supportive spouse. There is a lesson for people here with how well "Rosa Lee" handled situations. Nice.....very nice.


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