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King of the Hill (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama, History | 20 August 1993 (USA)
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1:02 | Trailer
A young boy struggles on his own in a run-down motel after his parents and younger brother are separated from him in 1930s Depression-era Midwest.

Director:

Steven Soderbergh

Writers:

A.E. Hotchner (memoir), Steven Soderbergh (screenplay)
7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jesse Bradford ... Aaron
Jeroen Krabbé ... Mr. Kurlander
Lisa Eichhorn ... Mrs. Kurlander
Karen Allen ... Miss Mathey
Spalding Gray ... Mr. Mungo
Elizabeth McGovern ... Lydia
Cameron Boyd ... Sullivan
Adrien Brody ... Lester
Joe Chrest ... Ben (as Joseph Chrest)
John McConnell ... Patrolman Burns
Amber Benson ... Ella McShane
Kristin Griffith ... Mrs. McShane
Chris Samples ... Billy Thompson
Peggy Freisen Peggy Freisen ... Mrs. Thompson
Katherine Heigl ... Christina Sebastian
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Storyline

A boy whose mother is forced into a sanitarium and father gets a job as a traveling salesman. The boy fends for himself in a seedy SRO hotel. Written by Mark Allyn <allyn@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When the world turns upside down, the trick is coming out on top.

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 August 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A hegyek ura See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$46,476, 20 August 1993, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,299,318
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the author A.E. Hotchner's book " Paul and Me" ( about his lifetime friendship and business partnership with Paul Newman) he says that "King of the Hill" is his own autobiography. Newman asked him to write a screenplay from it, so they could produce the film, but Hotchner said he just couldn't do it, implying he was too close to it... the story of his parents, and himself as a child. Paul Newman replied... "A Pity". Then Hotchner goes on to mention that this film, Steven Soderbergh's version, produced by Robert Redford, was excellent, named one of the top ten films of the year, and praised the remarkable performance of 14 yr old Jesse Bradford. See more »

Goofs

When Aaron and Lester break into the hotel room to find a dress for Aaron to wear in graduation, Lester picks the door lock with a single pocket knife. However no locks can be opened with a single instrument, he should have had at least a wrench too. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Kurlander: [sighs] Listen to me, Aaron. You're going to be okay, huh? You're a smart boy. You're very smart. I tell you how smart you are. Once, when you were less than a year old, your mother was in the sanitarium with consumption; and you would cry every night. So, the first few times, I picked you up and you stopped crying. So, I realized you just wanted attention. So, the next time you cried, I got a glass of cold water, and I stood over the crib and I said, 'You see this? This is a glass of cold water...
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film was re-recorded in a Swelltone theater See more »


Soundtracks

Rain
(1927)
Written by Eugene Ford
Period piano song Arranged and Performed by Nathan Birnbaum
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Spielberg eat your heart out, this is a real feel good movie
12 March 2005 | by ztruk2001See all my reviews

Not to be confused with that T.V. show thing. King of the Hill is one of the most vivid film experiences I remember as a child. No, I wasn't lucky enough to catch it on the big screen. Instead I rented it and watched it one night and was totally absorbed into it. Jesse Bradford, despite his current film career, did a damn fine job as Aaron Kurlander, a young boy struggling to survive during the Great Depression. He uses his wits and imagination to make the best out of the worst of times. Bradford was 12 or 13 years old at the time he filmed the movie and as an actor it must've been a heavy burden. The main focus is on him as its his story and shown from his point of view. Bradford doesn't let the ball drop once and more than carries his weight. It's another one of those rare great child performances. Jeroen Krabbé plays Aaron's (Bradford) father who is a struggling traveling salesman. Lisa Eichhorn plays his mentally unstable mother who goes in and out of various institutions. Rounding out the cast of the interesting people that fill Aaron's life are Karen Allen as the warm and understanding school teacher, Cameron Boyd his younger brother, Adrien Brody as the "cool" big brother figure, John McConnell as the fat and troublesome patrol cop, Elizabeth McGovern as a prostitute working in the same hotel Aaron lives at, and Spalding Gray as her creepy, manipulative, and suicidal pimp. So yes the film is filled to the brim with worth while supporting players adding so much depth and dimension to Aaron's world.

Soderbergh had double duty as writer and director. He scripted the novel by A.E. Hotchner and I think it's his best film. As I mentioned it takes place during the Great Depression in St. Louis Missouri. Watching Aaron fight for survival is one of the best charms of the film. It's done realistically. The audience is able to believe his methods. There's a nice mix of drama, dark somber humor and dire situations, but there's also enough humanity and hope in the movie to send an uplifting message. For those who enjoy Andy Dufresne's message of hope and persaverence in the more widely known The Shawshank Redemption, seek out this film. I would argue it's even superior to Frank Darabont's movie. It's one of the great and underrated modern films and ranks with the best using the Great Depression setting. Sadly King of the Hill isn't released yet on DVD and it's not very likely that you'll be able to find it at your local video store. Especially if all you have is the local communist Blockbuster near you. Anyway, King of the Hill should be regarded and known far more highly than what it is. It's a sin for a movie this great to not get its due.

Grade: A+


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