7.0/10
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A Family Thing (1996)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 29 March 1996 (USA)
Earl Pilcher, Jr., runs an equipment rental outfit in Arkansas, lives with his wife and kids and parents, and rarely takes off his gimme cap. His mother dies, leaving a letter explaining ... See full summary »

Director:

Richard Pearce
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Drama

A road movie centered on the experiences a guy has with a gal he meets during his trip.

Director: Billy Bob Thornton
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Duvall ... Earl Pilcher Jr.
James Earl Jones ... Ray Murdock
Michael Beach ... Virgil
Irma P. Hall ... Aunt T.
Grace Zabriskie ... Ruby
Regina Taylor ... Ann
Mary Jackson ... Carrie
Paula Marshall ... Karen
James N. Harrell James N. Harrell ... Earl Pilcher Sr. (as James Harrell)
Lauren Leigh Phillips Lauren Leigh Phillips ... Kindra
Ashleigh Jordan Ashleigh Jordan ... Danielle
David Keith ... Sonny
Sandra Quarterman Sandra Quarterman ... Young Aunt T. (as Saundra Quarterman)
Patrice Pitman Quinn Patrice Pitman Quinn ... Willa Mae
Don James Don James ... Junior Turner
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Storyline

Earl Pilcher, Jr., runs an equipment rental outfit in Arkansas, lives with his wife and kids and parents, and rarely takes off his gimme cap. His mother dies, leaving a letter explaining he's not her natural son, but the son of a black woman who died in childbirth. Plus, he has a half-brother Ray, in Chicago, she wants him to visit. Earl makes the trip, initially receiving a cold welcome from Ray and Ray's son, Virgil. His birth mother's sister, Aunt T., an aged and blind matriarch, takes Earl in tow and insists that the family open up to him. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

United Artists Pictures invites you on a journey... you will not soon forget. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language, brief violence and a childbirth scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 March 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un asunto de familia See more »

Filming Locations:

Covington, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,020,662, 31 March 1996

Gross USA:

$10,125,417

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,125,417
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | DTS-Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The North Fork & Southern railroad doesn't run in Arkansas. See more »

Goofs

When Virgil and Ray are saying goodbye for the first time in front of Ray's house. Virgil is standing behind the car and the car moves before the engine starts. The next frame shows the car still in place then moving forward. See more »

Quotes

Earl Pilcher, Jr.: I used to play a little ball. I was small, but I made up for it by being slow.
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Memo to the Academy - 1997 (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Freedom Road
Written by Les Pierce
Produced by Nick Trevisick and Les Pierce
Performed by Vose Street Singers
See more »

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User Reviews

What a great movie.
16 October 2001 | by billybrown41See all my reviews

I saw this movie back when it first came to video. I didn't know anything about it, but I put it in anyway and sat back with an open mind. What followed for the next two hours was a fascinating story of a bigoted, Mississipi tractor salesman who finds out that he is half black. While this might not sound like a big deal, let me explain a bit. I grew up down in the delta, near the location that this movie was filmed. It is a big deal down there. Unfortunately, the majority isn't quite as color-blind as they are in other parts of the united states and bigotry is still a pretty common thing. I'm sad to say that there is still a little bit of a barrier there, and if more people were to see this movie, then I'm sure things would be a little bit different.

You see, Robert Duvall plays a fellow (not the most open-minded of sorts) named Earl. In the opening, we get to see the events that make up a typical day for Earl (coffee drinking, shooting the breeze, and selling tractors). We also learn that Earl's Mom isn't in the best health as she passes away ten minutes into the film. She also leaves a note behind telling Earl that she isn't his real mother. His real mother was black and Earl is the result of an affair that costs his blood mother her life. Since Earl came out looking white, he was raised up like nothing ever happened.

I can see it as a shock. One, Earl appears to be in his mid-fifties. (that's quite a big shock to a guy in the prime of his life) two, he discovers that not only is he a b**tard child to a mother he never knew, he also has an older half-brother. After all of this, Earl needs to take a road-trip to get himself together and maybe meet the brother he never knew. What follows next is a journey (both physical and spiritual) that will show ol'Earl a thing or two about life and love.

Written by Tom Epperson and none other than Ol' Billy Bob Thornton himself, "A Family Thing" is one of the best feel good movies I have ever seen. I highly reccommend it. It's pretty rare that a movie comes along that is good enough to change one's life. This oughta be required viewing for high-school students. What a film. 10/10


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