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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ON DISC
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)
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Popularity
2,404 ( 356)
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:

Resplandor en la noche See more »

Filming Locations:

Benton, 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

Other than Karl, the last line of all of the principal characters is "Karl?" See more »

Goofs

When Karl is talking to the Frostee Cream Boy, there are no cars on the road behind him. But whenever the camera is aimed at the Frostee Cream, there is a lot of traffic on the road reflected in the window. Billy Bob Thornton points out in the DVD commentary that this is because the local police had another pressing issue the day they filmed Jim Jarmusch, and they couldn't be there to stop traffic. See more »

Quotes

Old Man: I wish you'd all lay off for tonight! I can't hear myself think with that racket!
Doyle: Hey! HEY!
Old Man: Knock it off or I'm calling the police!
Doyle: I told you three times already, the law's on my side! I play cards with J.D. Shelnut, chief of PO-lice! So kiss my ass, you old bastard!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to Jimmy Don Thornton See more »


Soundtracks

Softly and Tenderly
(uncredited)
Written by Will L. Thompson
[Sung by the congregation after the baptism]
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User Reviews

Thoroughly Thornton!
28 April 1999 | by DeeDee-10See all my reviews

A magnificent film! Watching Billy Bob, I was reminded of Bo Radley (Robert Duvall)in To Kill a Mockingbird. The irony of seeing Duvall in Sling Blade made it that much more rewarding. Yes, it's true, the ending was inevitable, but so what? The journey to the end was what made this film the gem that it is. Dwight Yoakam made my skin crawl, and Lucas Black as little Frank brought out my motherhood instinct. Protect that boy, Karl! And he did. This had all the elements of a great film: an unselfish hero who brings about changes in the lives of others in a meaningful way. Granted, had his mental capabilities been greater he might have made another choice. Given the circumstances of the film, there was no other choice.


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