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311 user 105 critic

Sling Blade (1996)

R | | Drama | 14 March 1997 (USA)
Trailer
1:52 | Trailer

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Karl Childers, a simple man hospitalized since his childhood murder of his mother and her lover, is released to start a new life in a small town.

Director:

Billy Bob Thornton

Writers:

Billy Bob Thornton (play), Billy Bob Thornton (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
2,838 ( 288)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Bob Thornton ... Karl Childers
Dwight Yoakam ... Doyle Hargraves
J.T. Walsh ... Charles Bushman
John Ritter ... Vaughan Cunningham
Lucas Black ... Frank Wheatley
Natalie Canerday ... Linda Wheatley
James Hampton ... Jerry Woolridge
Robert Duvall ... Karl's Father
Rick Dial Rick Dial ... Bill Cox
Brent Briscoe ... Scooter Hodges
Christine Renee Ward ... Melinda (as Christy Ward)
Sarah Boss Sarah Boss ... Marsha Dwiggins
Kathy Sue Brown Kathy Sue Brown ... Theresa Evans
Wendell Rafferty Wendell Rafferty ... Melvin
Bruce Hampton Bruce Hampton ... Morris (as Col. Bruce Hampton Ret.)
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Storyline

A partially handicapped man named Karl is released from a mental hospital, about 20 years after murdering his mother and another person. Karl is often questioned if he will ever kill again, and he shrugs in response saying there is no reason to. Now out of the mental institution, Karl settles in his old, small hometown, occupying himself by fixing motors. After meeting a young boy named Frank, who befriends him, Karl is invited to stay at Frank's house with his mother Linda, who views Karl as a strange but kind and generous man. However, Linda's abusive boyfriend, Doyle, sees things differently in the way rules ought to be run- normally insulting Linda's homosexual friend Vaughan as well as Karl's disabilities, and having wild parties with his friends. As Karl's relationship with Frank grows, he is watchful of Doyle's cruel actions. Written by commanderblue

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A simple man. A difficult choice. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, including descriptions of violent and sexual behavior | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 March 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sling Blade See more »

Filming Locations:

Haskell, Arkansas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$890,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$36,644, 1 December 1996

Gross USA:

$24,475,416, 27 July 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Miramax, Shooting Gallery See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fellow independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch appears as the "Frostee Cream" worker in the beginning. His name tag reads "Deke", the name of the film's Electrical Best Boy. See more »

Goofs

When Karl and Scooter are looking under the "hood" of a push mower, Karl suggests checking the points. Lawnboys were two strokes and as such, had no points. See more »

Quotes

Doyle: Your buddy Karl here is going. We can't be no normal family with him living in the garage and comin' in the damn bedroom at 4:00 in the morning, carryin' hammers and shit.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to Jimmy Don Thornton See more »

Connections

Referenced in Crap Shoot: The Documentary (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Darlin'
Written and Performed by Bambi Lee Savage
Courtesy of Daniel Lanois, Bambi Lee Savage Music Inc./BMI, Daniel Lanois Songs/Socan
See more »

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User Reviews

 
You Ought Not Pass on this Movie
8 October 2015 | by view_and_reviewSee all my reviews

I remember first watching Sling Blade and thinking, "Oh no, here is a Forest Gump copycat." After all, the main character, Karl (Billy Bob Thornton) was mentally challenged and they were in the South. In reality, that's where the similarities stopped, but I didn't know that at the time. The second detractor for me was Billy Bob Thornton. I had only seen Billy Bob in one movie before Sling Blade and that was Bad Santa (yes I saw Sling Blade for the first time that many years later) and I thought that movie was dreadful, hence my impression of Billy Bob was also negative.

Sling Blade was a welcome surprise. Billy Bob did an excellent job with the role and of course I was doubly surprised to see that he had written and directed the movie.

Sling Blade was terrific in its simplicity. Karl was a simple man, he lived with simple folks in a simple town. That's not to say that they were without problems. Karl's mental handicap, Linda Wheatley's (Natalie Canderday) man issues, Frank Wheatley's (Lucas Black) fatherless issues, Doyle's (Dwight Yoakam) drinking problem, et al. For the simplicity of it all it was simply perfect.


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