8.0/10
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323 user 93 critic

Sling Blade (1996)

R | | Drama | 14 March 1997 (USA)
Trailer
1:51 | Trailer
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
2,334 ( 763)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Terence is played by musician Vic Chessnutt, who wrote several songs with and recorded an album with Widespread Panic, whom Billy Bob Thornton is a fan of. One song Chessnutt wrote with Panic is Aunt Avis, which Billy Bob Thornton directed the music video for. 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

Bill Cox: Hey, Scooter, did I tell you the one about the two ol' boys pissing off a bridge?
Scooter: I don't believe you did.
Bill Cox: Well, there were these two ol' boys and they hung their peckers off a bridge to piss. One ol' boy from California, the other from Arkansas. The ol' boy from California says, "Boy, this water's cold", and the ol' boy from Arkansas says, "Yeah, and it's deep too". Get it?
Scooter: [laughs] That's a good one. I do believe you told me that one before. I've heard that one a bunch.
Bill Cox: Yep. That's classic.
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits start about 18 minutes into the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

The Director's Cut runs 12 minutes longer than the original theatrical releases. See more »


Soundtracks

The Maker
Written and Performed by Daniel Lanois
Courtesy of Warner Special Products & Opal Music Inc./Upala Music Inc. (BMI)
See more »

User Reviews

 
Billy Bob's Break
3 March 2007 | by Smells_Like_CheeseSee all my reviews

I was watching I love the 90's with my sister last night and the mentioned Sling Blade, I remember trying to watching this when I was younger, but I couldn't get through it. Figuring now that I'm a little older to give it a chance and I'm glad I did, I just watched it last night and I was extremely impressed with the fact that this was Billy Bob's first movie, not only did he act in it, but he also wrote and directed it as well. It was like Forrest Gump meets Silence of the Lambs, it was a movie that kept your nerves up and your curiosity going into what would happen next.

Karl is a slow man who has just been released from the mental institution for killing his mom and her boyfriend when he was a child. When he is released into town, he has no where to stay, but then he meets a young boy who he befriends, the boy has no father and asks his mom if Karl can stay with them, she agrees to it. But their lives are far from perfect, they have an extremely abusive man in their lives, Doyle, who threatens their lives on a daily basis. Karl wants to protect them, but it may lead him back into the life that he was just told he was "well" from.

Sling Blade is a very well acted movie that despite it's length, it keeps you going. The characters are so well thought out, it's hard to choose who was the break out actor of the film. But Billy in his first major role, he was just amazing, he looked so calm and relaxing, but yet you didn't know what he was going to do next. John Ritter was also amazing, his character was so sympathetic and beautiful. I would highly recommend this movie, it's a terrific dark drama that deserves it's praise.

9/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,139, 1 December 1996

Gross USA:

$24,444,121

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$24,444,121
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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