299 user 83 critic

Secondhand Lions (2003)

2:27 | Trailer

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A coming-of-age story about a shy, young boy sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas.


Tim McCanlies


Tim McCanlies
2,539 ( 137)
1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Garth
Robert Duvall ... Hub
Haley Joel Osment ... Walter
Kyra Sedgwick ... Mae
Nicky Katt ... Stan
Josh Lucas ... Adult Walter
Michael O'Neill ... Ralph
Deirdre O'Connell ... Helen
Eric Balfour ... Sheik's Grandson
Christian Kane ... Young Hub
Kevin Haberer ... Young Garth
Emmanuelle Vaugier ... Jasmine
Adam Ozturk Adam Ozturk ... The Sheik
Jennifer Stone ... Martha
Mitchel Musso ... Boy


A boy named Walter is dropped by his mother Mae at his great-uncles' house. Later,Walter will find out his great-uncles' big secret. And rumors say that Hub & Garth, Walter's great uncles, have stolen much gold & money. (some say they stole it from Al Capone) Did they really steal that money or not? Written by Christina ^_^

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic material, language and action violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

19 September 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Afrikas hemligheter See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,139,832, 21 September 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$41,407,470, 9 November 2003
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?


Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County) drew the cartoons seen on the adult Walter's desk. See more »


When the family comes to visit Hub in the hospital scene, the youngest boy is seen entering the doorway first in one shot, then in the following shot he is seen pushing past his sister to enter again. See more »


[first lines]
Adult Walter: [answering the phone] Hello?
Sheriff: Walter?
Adult Walter: Yes.
Sheriff: This is Sheriff Brady. I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. It's about your uncles.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, the adult Walter's cartoons depict a variety of adventures. See more »

Alternate Versions

For the UK cinema release, the distributors requested a PG certificate from the BBFC and 21 secs of footage was cut to remove shots of flick knives and violence. DVD releases were upgraded to a 12 certificate and the cuts were reinstated. See more »


Featured in On the Set with 'Secondhand Lions' (2004) See more »


Help Me
Written by Ralph Bass, Sonny Boy Williamson (as Willie "Sonny Boy" Williamson) and Willie Dixon
Performed by Sonny Boy Williamson
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

Staying with the Uncles in Texas
27 February 2012 | by pkarnoldSee all my reviews

The first thing I noticed in this film was the farmhouse, a caliche road, and the mailbox--and I knew it was rural Texas. Then I noticed a couple of uncles sitting on their front porch with shotguns, and a young teenage boy not knowing exactly what to think. I was hooked immediately when flipping through the TV channels and seeing Secondhand Lions.

This film was made in Pflugerville, a suburb northeast of Austin, and of course there is a rural road, a farm house, and stock tank (pond). It was the first thing that caught my attention, and it felt like Texas. And then there was Michael Cain and Robert Duval playing characters in Texas. I've seen this movie five times or so, and it is not difficult to imagine Robert Duval playing a character from Texas. However, Michael Cain, well if his Texas accent wasn't perfect, his character was perfectly played! And as brilliant as Cain might have been, Robert Duval was just as good as Robert Duval can be, and that's about as good as it gets. Cain plays Garth, and Duval plays Hub and the 13-or 14-year-old Walter is basically dumped with the uncles by his mother one afternoon. The uncles aren't happy about the situation. Walter's not happy about the stranding with the uncles. But the audience is in for a treat as this story develops.

While Haley Joel Osment played a believable Walter, and Kyra Sedgwick was also excellent as Mae the mom, the movie's writer and director Tim McCanlies has to be given credit for a realistic setting, and an amazing story that allows character development, and what might be a pretty bad situation, child abandonment with strange relatives, to become a wonderful story.

Yes, Cain and Duval play curmudgeonly uncles, but they also play loving and caring uncles who grow so close to Walter, they try to figure out how to protect him from his irresponsible mother. Work in some traveling salesmen, that occasionally succeed in getting past the shotgun blasts from the front porch, to sell garden seeds (in a variety of packages, but only corn grew), or to sell a sickly lioness, and this plot is wonderful.

The lioness is nurtured back to health by Walter, but one day she escapes and heads into the garden of fully grown corn. I probably would have named this movie "Lions in the Cornfield," because that is an extremely strong image from this movie, and seeming ridiculous situation. But Secondhand Lions actually uses the symbol of the uncles as aging, yet protective lions who have had better days, and Jasmine the lioness, to communicate all that is quirky and good in life.

As strong as Duval and Cain may be in their acting roles, the story is equally as idealistic in siding with right, and opposing evil. When a movie is idealistic, and believable, and fun, I can't help but give this film a solid recommendation (9 of 10 stars).

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