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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.

Directors:

Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)

Writers:

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

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 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)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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 »
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Details

Country:

UK | France | USA

Language:

English

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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$26,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£564,064 (United Kingdom), 17 September 2000, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$195,104, 25 December 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$45,512,588

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$75,769,783
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

References to Homer's "Odyssey": The names of George Clooney and Holly Hunter's characters (Ulysses and Penelope) one-eyed Big Dan as the Cyclops (blinded with a burning pole) the three girls by the river as the Sirens Ulysses' wife marrying someone else when he comes home the old-man disguise the changing of one of Ulysses' companions into an animal The Baptists made people become loyal to God when they were baptized as the Lotus Eaters in The Odyssey became loyal to the people of the island when they ate the Lotus Flowers the Ku Klux Klan has a rank of Grand (or Exalted) Cyclops they catch a ride on a railway hand cart that is being operated by a blind prophet, who tells them that they will not find the treasure they seek. The prophet character in "The Odyssey" was Teiresias, whom Odysseus consulted in the underworld when he needed information on how to get home again the movie theater scene as the trip through the Underworld. Odysseus nearly drowned, but clings to a piece of wood. Odysseus and Everett both reveal themselves by performing an act no one else could: Odysseus strings a special bow and fires it through seven rings; Everett sings "Man of Constant Sorrow" as only the leader of the Soggy Bottom Boys can. "Pappy's" given name, Menelaus, is the same as the king who declared war on Troy in the first place. the Latin equivalent of the Greek name Odysseus is Ulysses. "Sing in me O Muse . . . ", the line at the beginning of the film, is the first line of the Odyssey. the killing of the cattle of Helios by the "fools" in the Odyssey is mirrored by Baby Face Nelson shooting the cows. every time Ulysses falls asleep something bad happens. the song which plays throughout the movie is called "Man of Constant Sorrow," Odysseus means "man who is in constant pain and sorrow." Pappy's opponent for governor is named Homer when Ulysses first meets Big Dan in the restaurant there is a statue of Homer in the background. There is a "Blind Bard" who pays the boys to "sing into his can." Homer was often (and probably erroneously) thought to be a blind bard who told his stories verbally to his students. Much like the Ku Klux Klan scene, Odysseus and his men hide from the Cyclops by dressing as sheep.-Everett's task of "Finding one little ring, in the middle of all that water" is an impossible deed not unlike Odysseus' final task of carrying an oar to a "land that knows nothing of the sea." -In many occasions, Everett, denies the existence of God and sometimes he even insults God. Odysseus insulting Gods (Hubris) was the reason for all the obstacles in his journey. A visual connection to the Odyssey appears during the evening following Baby Face Nelson's third bank robbery, when Ulysses is seen sitting on a destroyed Greek column, the bottom of which is still upright besides him. *Odysseus is the name of the hero, hence the word odyssey* Ulysses is the Roman incarnation of the story See more »

Goofs

When the guys come out of the recording studio after recording "Man of Constant Sorrow" Delmar is covered in a white powder, but when they go in and while recording the song he is not. Also, while they boys are walking down the road before Baby Face Nelson picks them up, Delmar is again covered in the same white powder, but is not after they get into the car. See more »

Quotes

[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

Title Design and Other Cool Stuff Balsmeyer & Everett, Inc. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dinner for Five: Episode #3.3 (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

You Are My Sunshine
(1940)
Written by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell
Performed by Alan O'Bryant
Also performed by Charles Durning, George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, Chris Thomas King, and Chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hillbilly hi-jinks. Bluegrass music. Laugh out loud funny!
16 February 2002 | by michaelRokeefeSee all my reviews

The Coen Brothers have done it again. Three depression era convicts(George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson)escape a Mississippi chain gang and head off in search of buried treasure that will fund their new lives. Along the way, they sing on the radio and become much sought after stars as well as escapees. Great laughs and a soundtrack that is a lesson/introduction to bluegrass music.

Clooney is outstanding as the fast talking, quick witted Ulysses Everett McGill. Holly Hunter plays his estranged wife. Turturro and Nelson are flawless stumblebums. Also in the cast are John Goodman and Charles Durning.

Dan Tyminksi provides the singing voice for George Clooney on "I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow", the Soggy Bottom Boys song that serves as a template for the bluegrass laden soundtrack that also features Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley, The Whites, John Hartford, The Cox Family and Gillian Welch. Toe tapping, knee slapping fun for the whole family. You'll be surprised with how relaxed and funny this movie is.


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