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Walk the Line (2005)

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A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

Director:

James Mangold

Writers:

Johnny Cash (book), Johnny Cash (book) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,142 ( 158)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 44 wins & 46 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joaquin Phoenix ... John R. Cash
Reese Witherspoon ... June Carter
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Vivian Cash
Robert Patrick ... Ray Cash
Dallas Roberts ... Sam Phillips
Dan John Miller ... Luther Perkins
Larry Bagby ... Marshall Grant
Shelby Lynne ... Carrie Cash
Tyler Hilton ... Elvis Presley
Waylon Payne ... Jerry Lee Lewis (as Waylon Malloy Payne)
Shooter Jennings ... Waylon Jennings
Sandra Ellis Lafferty ... Maybelle Carter
Dan Beene Dan Beene ... Ezra Carter
Clay Steakley ... W.S. 'Fluke' Holland
Johnny Holiday ... Carl Perkins
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Storyline

While growing up in the Great Depression era, Johnny Cash takes an interest in music and eventually moves out of his Arkansas town to join the air force in Germany. While there, he buys his first guitar and writes his own music, and proposes to Vivian. When they got married, they settled in Tennessee and with a daughter, he supported the family by being a salesman. He discovers a man who can pursue his dreams and ends up getting a record with the boys. Shortly after that, he was on a short tour, promoting his songs, and meets the already famous and beautiful June Carter. Then as they get on the long-term tours with June, the boys, and Jerry Lee Lewis, they have this unspoken relationship that grows. But when June leaves the tour because of his behavior, he was a drug addict. His marriage was also falling apart, and when he sees June years later at an awards show, he forces June to tour with them again, promising June to support her two kids and herself. While the tour goes on, the ... Written by kayleigh

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love is a burning thing.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language, thematic material and depiction of drug dependency | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

18 November 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cash See more »

Filming Locations:

Arkansas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,347,341, 20 November 2005, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$119,519,402, 4 May 2006

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$186,438,883, 12 March 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended cut)

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

It took four years for the producers to secure the rights to the story from James Keach, who is a friend of Johnny Cash and his family. After Keach agreed, it took another four years to get the film made. See more »

Goofs

When Johnny is hanging pictures, he begins to put a nail in the wall just above a line in the wood. In the very next shot, he bangs a nail several inches higher. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Warden: M-Mr. Cash? M-Mr. Cash?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, Robert Patrick's name appears to pass through the prison bars, like his T-1000 character did in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released on DVD in its theatrical incarnation. An extended cut, adding about 16 minutes worth of additional footage into the movie, was released later on. The French Blu-Ray version contains the extended cut, while the American version contains the theatrical version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.131 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Wildwood Flower
Written by A.P. Carter
Performed by Reese Witherspoon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
worthy of its subject matter, truthful
19 November 2005 | by hollingsworth76See all my reviews

Whenever I see so much "Oscar worthy" tags/blurbs in an ad campaign I get nervous, see Cinderella Man. Usually you look closely at the fine print and see that the esteemed critic lauding the film is Joe Schmoe from the One Stop Light Bugle Press in Buttcreek, Illinois or a low level flunky who just happens to work for the media conglomerate that is distributing the film. So my heart sank a little when a film I have been eagerly awaiting was swaddled with such praise when the ads hit the air.

But they're right for once.

Joaquin Phoenix wears Johnny Cash like a suit. He isn't doing a Rich Little impersonation, you don't rub your eyes in disbelief, but he channels a man so distinct in appearance and voice to a level that is beyond admirable. One of the traits that made Johnny Cash a legend was that nobody sounded or looked like him. Short of a computer generated Cash walking around in his own bio-pic like one of those John Wayne beer commercials this is the definitive representation.

And yet Phoenix may not give the best performance in the film.

Reese Witherspoon more than holds up her end in a role that easily could have been reduced to a clichéd bumpkin. Witherspoon portrays the on-stage June in the way June portrayed her own "character", the stage persona that people adored, while giving her the resolve and inner strength to be the woman who tamed a hell-bent, grizzly bear of a man like John.

The chemistry of Phoenix and Witherspoon together in any scene, but their on-stage duets in particular, are truthful in a way that resonates long after the credits. I know that unless you have been living in a cave for the past week you have likely been bombarded with the word that the actors sing themselves without use of lip syncing. I have never been a fan of musicals, or even musical performances in a film. They generally seem forced and uncomfortable to me, the moment when I stop experiencing the story and feel reminded that I am watching a movie. I never felt that in this film. I never felt that their singing took the focus of the film, but the performances work with the story like no other music bio I have ever seen. I never felt as if I was being led through the catalog, the songs felt as organic and natural as any spoken dialog in a great narrative.

This film far exceeded my expectations and afforded me the first trip home from a theater with a true feeling of satisfaction in a very, very long time. Highly recommended.


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