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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
539 ( 34)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 44 wins & 47 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

Gross USA:

$119,519,402

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$186,438,883
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

When Cash calls his wife during his first show, a sign on the wall says "Ring in case of fire." See more »

Goofs

When Johnny is fighting with Vivian while he is trying to hang up pictures, he is wearing a Hanes tagless white t-shirt from the late-1990s. 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

Featured in It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle: I Walked the Line (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Candy Man Blues
Written by Mississippi John Hurt (as John S. Hurt)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Really engaging and enjoyable biopic
22 June 2008 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Growing up Johnny Cash's ambition was to make it onto the radio with his band but as an adult the reality is different. His wife and family are stuck in poor housing and he is frankly terrible at his door-to-door sales job. Unable to turn down his wife's wish to move towns and for him to take a job her father has offered, Cash turns to a local recording studio in desperation. The band's audition is unimpressive and Cash's delivery uninspiring but, giving them one last chance, the studio manager lets them do another song – which they deliver with much more passion and interest than their weak spiritual material. With a record under his belt Cash begins touring with many other rising rock and country stars as he begins a successful but storming personal and professional life.

Without a great love for country music or for that matter biopics, Walk The Line took me some time to get round to seeing but when I did I was glad that I had because it is just simple a good film that rises above the genre. The film starts with formative moments from Cash's childhood and very quickly jumps through to adulthood, marriage and a dead-end job with no future or money. From here we know where the story is heading – even if some of the viewers may not know the specifics as they apply to Johnny Cash. So we have the career rise of Cash matched with his personal fall – much of his own making in regards women, drink and drugs. However this content is presented in a solid and engaging way because we care a lot about the characters and what is happening to them.

Style-wise Mangold is relentlessly sturdy but never dull in his portrayal of the characters and he does well with the most important part – his actors. I do recall some questions being asked of the casting and for my money anytime Reese Witherspoon is cast I do ask questions myself. However the cast are roundly impressive and make their characters convincing and engaging. Phoenix is really good and he has great chemistry with Witherspoon, who is also excellent throughout. Robert Patrick was one of the few other faces I recognised and it made me realise that, for a "big" film, there are hardly any established stars here and yet this never even occurred to me till after I finished watching the film. In terms of the musical numbers I'm not sure who was really singing and who wasn't but they are all really good and well filmed to be engaging and exciting.

Walk the Line is a really good biopic and I know this because it engaged me as someone with little interest in Cash or his music. In regards narrative it ticks all the boxes that you know it will but yet still manages to make it interesting and never once was I thinking "heard it all before". Of course it also helps that both Phoenix and Witherspoon deliver really effective performances to draw the viewer into the characters from the start and throughout.


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