8.0/10
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310 user 104 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
880 ( 713)
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:

Sometimes a hero comes from the most unlikely place. 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

Nominated for fourteen awards, and only lost five. See more »

Goofs

When Jerry and Karl walk up to Bill Cox's repair shop for the first time, the Steadicam operator's reflection can easily be seen in the right front hubcap of Jerry's car. He is visible during the entire shot, which lasts about 10 seconds. See more »

Quotes

Vaughan Cunningham: [about potted meat] They aren't moving too well, but I'll tell you what, I'll give a couple cans free to the right kid.
Frank: I don't like potted meat. Daddy used to say they was made out of lips, peckers and intestines.
Linda: Frank, don't talk that way.
[about Karl]
Linda: Who's that strange looking man? He follow you in here?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to Jimmy Don Thornton See more »

Connections

Referenced in Two and a Half Men: Gumby with a Pokey (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Soul Dressing
Written by Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson Jr., Lewie Steinberg (as Lewis Steinberg)
Performed by Booker T. & the M.G.s
Under license from Warner Special Products & Irving Sounds
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User Reviews

 
Convincing and thought provoking.
1 March 2004 | by theENKSee all my reviews

Sling Blade is a very well acted, well displayed, and interesting masterpiece. I just loved it from beginning to end.

First I would like to comment on the excellent acting across the board, especially the late John Ritter and Billy Bob Thornton's ensemble portrayal of Karl. I could not help but feel very attached to Karl from the opening scene, his release from the mental institution, his struggles with the outside world, and how he related to the town people. Sling Blade is one of those movies that I would love to sit down and talk about for hours with a friend. I would also love to hear others' perspectives about what made this movie great.

It seems that every scene was worked to perfection. From the lighting and camera's viewpoint to the acting and music. I enjoyed every scene, but thought that three really stood out. Without giving too much away, they are as follows. No spoilers here:

1. Inside the house after band practice where Karl does not move from the couch.

2. When Karl is visited at work and we see him make eye contact for the first time.

3. The scene where Karl is in the garage late at night. The chilling music really captures the mood. My heart was pounding during this one!

I hold Mr. Thornton to a very high respect. He created a masterpiece that is emotional, thrilling, dramatic, humorous, and entertaining.


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