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Pleasantville (1998)

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Two 1990s teenage siblings find themselves in a 1950s sitcom, where their influence begins to profoundly change that complacent world.


Gary Ross


Gary Ross
1,705 ( 1,750)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Tobey Maguire ... David
Reese Witherspoon ... Jennifer
William H. Macy ... George Parker
Joan Allen ... Betty Parker
Jeff Daniels ... Bill Johnson
J.T. Walsh ... Big Bob
Don Knotts ... TV Repairman
Marley Shelton ... Margaret Henderson
Jane Kaczmarek ... David's Mom
Giuseppe Andrews ... Howard
Jenny Lewis ... Christin
Marissa Ribisi ... Kimmy
Denise Dowse ... Health Teacher
McNally Sagal ... Science Teacher
Paul Morgan Stetler ... College Counselor


David Wagner is a kid whose mind is stuck in the 1950s. He's addicted to a classic 50's sitcom television show called "Pleasantville". Pleasantville is a simple place, a place where all of its citizens are swell and simple-minded folks, a place where the word "violence", and life outside of Pleasantville, is unbeknownst to its inhabitants; things are perfect down in Pleasantville. One evening, the life of David and his obnoxious sister Jennifer take a bizarre turn when an eccentric repairman hand them a supposed magical remote. After a quarrel between the siblings, they inexplicably zap themselves into the world of "Pleasantville". Now, David and Jennifer must adjust to a 50s lifestyle of repressed desires and considerably different societal values while trying to find their way home. Written by Kyle Perez

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Nothing Is As Simple As Black And White. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements emphasizing sexuality, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

23 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amor a colores See more »

Filming Locations:

Petaluma, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,855,063, 25 October 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$40,568,025, 28 March 1999

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Early appearances of color: the red rose, after the encounter at Lover's Lane; pink bubblegum seen in the hallway at school; one girl's pink tongue; the red hearts of the cards in the bridge hand; the subtle green of the car in front of the diner; the jukebox in the diner becomes multicolored, the guy in front of the jukebox combs his hair with a yellow comb, Jennifer's red cherry on her shake in the diner; the pink cherry blossoms reflected in the side mirror of the car; the subtle green of the grass at Lover's Lane before it turns completely colorized. See more »


On their way to school on the first day, Jennifer/Mary Sue gets angry and pulls her hair clips out - just before Skip pulls up in his car. After Skip drives away her hair is suddenly clipped back again. See more »


[first lines]
[David is gazing admiringly at a pretty blonde girl]
David: *Hi*
David: I mean, Hi. Uh, look, you probably don't think I should be asking you this. I mean, not knowing you well and all? I mean, you know, I, I, I know you, 'cause everybody knows you. I just don't know you technically. Uh, anyhow. Uh, I don't know what you're doing this weekend, but my mom's leaving town, and she's letting me borrow the car.
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Crazy Credits

The New Line logo plays in complete silence. See more »


Features I Married Joan (1952) See more »


Donna Reed Show Theme
Written by John Seely and William Loose
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

More films should be like this
23 December 2017 | by bowmanblueSee all my reviews

There are some films which seem to come and go and no one ever really seems to notice. With all the big-budget movies out there which are predicable, laden with annoying CGI effects and follow a formula where you know exactly what will happen at all times, 'Pleasantville' is a real breath of fresh air. Yet, for some reason, no one really talks about it even though it's held in high regard seemingly with everyone who's seen it.

It's rare that a film's tagline sums it up so well, but you may see on any marketing 'The Truman Show meets Back to the Future.' And it's hard to put it any better (although I saw a hint of 'The Last Action Hero' in the plot, but it's barely noticeable!). Two of today's American teens are - for reasons you'll soon find out - 'beamed' into an old black and white TV show from yesteryear. It's safe to say that things worked differently in the days before cell phones and Instagram. Back then firemen constantly rescued stranded cats from trees, teens holding hands was still a taboo and the most exciting thing the youth of the time could do was hand out the local milkshake bar. Therefore, our two young protagonists (played by Tobey Maguire and Reece Witherspoon) find it a challenge to blend in with the locals.

However, things really start to go wrong when their influence - literally - bring new life to the fictional telly town. Their modern influence slowly starts seeping into the people and environment and the black and white world they've found themselves in starts to become colour. Now, that wouldn't be so bad, but the locals start engaging in - what they consider - to be 'immoral' behaviour (which you'd probably find on kids' TV in today's times). What follows is a tale about whether our two teens can actually escape their TV-prison and, what will happen to the residents they leave behind.

It's truly one of the most clever - vaguely mainstream - films to come out of Hollywood in recent times and, if you're in the mood for something that doesn't involve superheroes flying around a destroyed U.S. city, then you should definitely watch this one.

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