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Boys Don't Cry (1999)

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Female-born Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.

Director:

Kimberly Peirce
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Popularity
3,593 ( 112)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 47 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hilary Swank ... Brandon Teena
Chloë Sevigny ... Lana Tisdel
Peter Sarsgaard ... John Lotter
Brendan Sexton III ... Tom Nissen
Alicia Goranson ... Candace
Alison Folland ... Kate
Jeannetta Arnette ... Lana's Mom
Rob Campbell ... Brian
Matt McGrath ... Lonny
Cheyenne Rushing Cheyenne Rushing ... Nicole
Robert Prentiss Robert Prentiss ... Trucker
Josh Ridgway Josh Ridgway ... Kwik Stop Cashier
Craig Erickson Craig Erickson ... Trucker in Kwik Stop
Stephanie Sechrist Stephanie Sechrist ... April
Jerry Haynes ... Judge
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Storyline

Based on actual events. Brandon Teena is the popular new guy in a tiny Nebraska town. He hangs out with the guys, drinking, cussing, and bumper surfing, and he charms the young women, who've never met a more sensitive and considerate young man. Life is good for Brandon, now that he's one of the guys and dating hometown beauty Lana; however, he's forgotten to mention one important detail. It's not that he's wanted in another town for GTA and other assorted crimes, but that Brandon Teena was actually born a woman named Teena Brandon. When his best friends make this discovery, Brandon's life is ripped apart. Written by Zhe

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A true story about finding the courage to be yourself.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence including an intense brutal rape scene, sexuality, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Fox Searchlight

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 March 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Take It Like a Man See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$73,720, 10 October 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$11,533,945, 21 May 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many of the night shots of the road were filmed by director Kimberly Peirce and cinematographer Jim Denault. When the filming stopped for the day, they used to drive to collect material. See more »

Goofs

October 27, 1993 fell on a Wednesday, not a Friday. See more »

Quotes

Tom Nissen: [about John] Doctors say he got no impulse control. I'm the only one who can control that fucker.
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Crazy Credits

Thanks to ... everyone who volunteered to speak about his or her experiences and help with research. See more »

Alternate Versions

The double rape caused some big problems with the MPAA and had to be trimmed to avoid an NC-17 rating. The European version is more explicit (especially with the first rapist.) See more »

Connections

Referenced in South Park: The China Probrem (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Haunt
Written by Roky Erickson
Performed by Roky Erickson
Published by Orb Music Co./Bleib (as Bleid) Alien Saucer Publishing (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Roky Erickson
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User Reviews

 
Swank is not a lesbian at all but a transgendered individual, thus blurring the sexual divide in the best queer tradition…
10 December 2008 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Teena Brandon (Hilary Swank) is a girl who wishes to become a boy… Arriving in the small Nebraska town of Falls City, Teena binds her breasts, cuts her hair and calls herself Brandon Teena…

When Brandon meets Lana (wonderfully played by Chloë Sevigny), a love affair develops in the course of which sexual identities and gender stereotype is turned upside down…

Eventually Lana comes to realize Brandon is anatomically female, but by then she does not care… Brandon offers her a caring relationship such as she has never known… Unfortunately, Brandon's secret is eventually discovered by two young men, John and Tom, who have befriended him… The knowledge that they have been deceived is deeply disturbing to their male pride…

The film is based on a true story, which also the subject of a documentary, 'The Brandon Teena Story' (1998). But it is less its status as a true-crime document, more its subtle power to subvert our usual assumptions about sexuality that makes this a notable film, and a key text of the so-called 'queer' cinema…

Unlike militant films which proselytize for homosexuality, 'queer' films adopt a more insidious strategy, seeking to undermine such rigid categories as gay and straight… Thus Brandon, in Hilary Swank's excellent interpretation of the role, alert to all the ambiguities, is not a lesbian though he/she has sex with women… And while he/she has adopted some of the physical attributes of a man (clothes, hair-style, certain mannerisms), Brandon has retained a softness and sensuality which implies a critique of conventional masculinity, and which is the secret of his/her sexual success with women… No wonder he arouses the rage of other men…


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