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O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

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In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.


Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)


Homer (epic poem "The Odyssey"), Ethan Coen | 1 more credit »
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A Guide to the Films of the Coen Brothers

From Blood Simple to the new The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, we take a look at the offbeat stylings of Academy Award-winners Joel and Ethan Coen.

Dude, let's go bowling

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
George Clooney ... Everett
John Turturro ... Pete Hogwallop
Tim Blake Nelson ... Delmar O'Donnell
John Goodman ... Big Dan Teague
Holly Hunter ... Penny
Chris Thomas King ... Tommy Johnson
Charles Durning ... Pappy O'Daniel
Del Pentecost Del Pentecost ... Junior O'Daniel
Michael Badalucco ... George Nelson
J.R. Horne J.R. Horne ... Pappy's Staff
Brian Reddy ... Pappy's Staff
Wayne Duvall ... Homer Stokes
Ed Gale ... The Little Man
Ray McKinnon ... Vernon T. Waldrip
Daniel von Bargen ... Sheriff Cooley (as Daniel Von Bargen)


Loosely based on Homer's "Odyssey," the movie deals with the picaresque adventures of Ulysses Everett McGill and his companions Delmar and Pete in 1930s Mississipi. Sprung from a chain gang and trying to reach Everett's home to recover the buried loot of a bank heist they are confronted by a series of strange characters--among them sirens, a cyclops, bank robber George "Baby Face" Nelson (very annoyed by that nickname), a campaigning governor and his opponent, a KKK lynch mob, and a blind prophet who warns the trio that "the treasure you seek shall not be the treasure you find." Written by Armin Ortmann <armin@sfb288.math.tu-berlin.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They have a plan, but not a clue. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



UK | France | USA



Release Date:

2 February 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Brother, Where Art Thou? See more »

Filming Locations:

Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA See more »


Box Office


$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$195,104, 25 December 2000

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Danny DeVito were considered for the role of Delmar O'Donnell. See more »


The group singing "Keep on the Sunny Side" at the rally is prominently accompanied by a Dobro (a resonator guitar) being played with a slide... but there is none to be seen. There are other people on stage, but it becomes clear that none of them has an instrument. See more »


[first lines]
Ulysses Everett McGill: Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credit for Alan J. Schoolcraft, the president of operations for Mike Zoss Productions, is all in Spanish: "El Encargado de Mike Zoss Productions" See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #33.103 (2017) See more »


O Death
Performed by Ralph Stanley
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Fun and entertaining Coen film with three convicts set out on an Odyssey-like journey through Depression-era bound for home
20 January 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

In the deep south during the 1930s , Ulysses (George Clooney) leads a chain escapee along with fellow escapees (John Turturro , Tim Blake Nelson) , all of them find themselves caught up in extraordinary situations . The three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while merciless lawmen (Daniel Von Bargen , Royce D. Applegate) pursues them . Along the way the trio meets curious characters as the historical Baby Face Nelson (Michael Badalucco) who was a homicidal gangster named Lester M. Gillis, he was known for his hot temper and itchy trigger finger ; and Governor Pappy O'Daniel (Charles Druning) who is based on W. Lee (Pappy) O'Daniel, who served as Governor of Texas (not Mississippi) from 1939-41 and later as U.S. Senator . As the main starring getaways bound for home , where waits his wife Penny or Penélope (Holly Hunter) . Sometimes, you have to lose your way to get back home .

¨O Brother, Where Art Thou?¨ is an enjoyable film by Cohen Brothers that packs thrills , dry humor , action , wonderful songs and numerous references to Homer's "Odyssey" . "O Brother Where Art Thou?" comes from the title of the movie-within-a-movie in Preston Sturges' Sullivan's travels (1941) . Starred by three rare characters suffering several Coanesque adventures ; what the trio encounter along the way are a number of surprising situations and weird roles that , when all is said and done , seem like just that individual incidents that never really add up to a whole plot . 3 Protagonists fit well enough to comprise a pretty agreeable yarn , though relies heavily on their peculiar and continuous relationship . The film includes characters or places with the stereotypes of the regions they take place in , as the Southern accents and dust-bowl landscape from Mississippi . The whole concept is loosely based on author Howard Waldrop's novella "A Dozen Tough Jobs," which recounts the labors of Hercules in a similar Mississippi setting , albeit ten years earlier ; another possible link comes from the William Faulkner short novel, "Old Man" . Sympathetic acting by main stars accompanied by a magnificent plethora of secondaries as Charles Durning , Thomas King , Ray McKinnon , Lee Weaver , Ed Gale , Stephen Root , Musetta Vander , as well as Coen regulars as John Goodman and special mention for John Turturro . The picture had big success , being nominated for 2 Oscars and another 7 wins & 35 nominations and won five Grammys . Highly keen soundtrack by T Bone Burnett , in which mundane sounds are made to seem eerie or used for absurd effect . George Clooney practiced his singing for weeks, but in the end his singing voice was dubbed by country blues singer Dan Tyminski . The film's soundtrack became an unlikely blockbuster, even surpassing the success of the film . By early 2001, it had sold five million copies , spawned a documentary film, three follow-up albums . Colorful as well as evocative cinematography by Roger Deakins , Coen's usual , the whole film was graded digitally on computer , the negative was scanned and then colors were digitally fine-tuned .

The motion picture was well written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen . They have shared these duties on all of their films, but Joel has always been listed as director and Ethan as producer . The first Coen brothers film where both he and brother Ethan Coen are given directing and producing credits was Ladykillers (2004). Both of whom are part of the prestigious group of individuals to have won Oscars for writing , directing and producing in the same year, for the film No Country for Old Men (2007). Their career is splendid from first film : Blood simple (1984) to Arizona Baby (1987), Miller's crossing (1990) , Barton Fink (1991), the great Lebowski (1998), The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) , Intolerable Cruelty (2003) , Burn After Reading (2008) , A Serious Man (2009) , True grit (2010) ,among others .

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