6.3/10
6,299
73 user 27 critic

Crazy in Alabama (1999)

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An abused wife heads to California to become a movie star while her nephew back in Alabama has to deal with a racially-motivated murder involving a corrupt sheriff.

Director:

Antonio Banderas

Writers:

Mark Childress (novel), Mark Childress (screenplay)
5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Melanie Griffith ... Lucille
David Morse ... Dove
Lucas Black ... Peejoe
Cathy Moriarty ... Earlene
Meat Loaf ... Sheriff John Doggett (as Meat Loaf Aday)
Rod Steiger ... Judge Mead
Richard Schiff ... Norman
John Beasley ... Nehemiah
Robert Wagner ... Harry Hall
Noah Emmerich ... Sheriff Raymond
Sandra Seacat ... Meemaw
Paul Ben-Victor ... Mackie
Brad Beyer ... Jack
Fannie Flagg ... Sally
Elizabeth Perkins ... Joan Blake
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Storyline

A backwoods Alabama boy named Peejoe -short for Peter Joseph- gets a quick education in grown-up matters like freedom in 1965. The catalyst is an unlikely source - his glamorous, eccentric Aunt Lucille, who escapes from her abusive husband and takes off for Hollywood to pursue her dreams of TV stardom. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes you have to lose your mind to find your freedom

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence, thematic material, language and a scene of sensuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 October 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La tête dans le carton à chapeaux See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,010,596, 24 October 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$1,954,202, 7 November 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Dakota Johnson. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Peejoe: I learned a lot of secrets that summer: you can bury freedom but you can't kill it. Taylor Jackson died for freedom. Aunt Lucille had to kill to get it. Life and death are only temporary but freedom goes on forever.
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Connections

References Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Young at Heart
Written and Performed by Daniel May
Courtesy of MasterSource
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User Reviews

A delightful surprise
10 December 2001 | by Dehlia_See all my reviews

A real treat, much better than it had any right to be. It's the 1960s in Alabama and Lucille (Melanie Griffith) murders and decapitates her abusive husband Chester, and heads to Hollywood with his head. Meanwhile back home, segregation is being fought in her small town. Our narrator is Lucille's nephew, he is living with his uncle (David Morse), witnessing the evil of the town sheriff (Meat Loaf) and trying to make sense of the civil rights movement.

This is an odd, yet ultimately successful, merging of two very different stories. The Alabama civil rights story is a gentle, human drama, while the Lucille story is broadly colored, with flashy costumes, comical characters, and tart dialogue. Lucille dazzles everyone who meets her, and everything goes her way, despite the fact that Chester's head continues to speak to her, calling her a slut who'll never amount to anything. I can't explain why the surreal comedy works so well in parallel to the small town drama, but it does. Griffith is compelling -- her husband, Antonio Banderas, directs her as he sees her, the camera keeps finding the perfect woman; thrilling, sensual and sweet.

In the "featurette" on the DVD, both Griffith and Banderas say the movie is about freedom, and the stories parallel well because Lucille's freedom from her husband's oppression parallels the blacks' freedom from civil oppression. But I saw it more as an R.D. Laing movie. The truth of Crazy in Alabama is in its title -- sanity IS a sane answer to an insane world. The nation WAS watching Bewitched and shopping for hats while blacks were beaten to death for the right to use whites-only facilities. "Crazy," in this movie, defies definition -- what is individual craziness when the world goes crazy? Lucille's craziness is sweet and understandable; the world's, less so. 9/10


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