7.5/10
206,432
1,133 user 442 critic

A History of Violence (2005)

Trailer
2:25 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $0.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core.

Director:

David Cronenberg

Writers:

John Wagner (graphic novel), Vince Locke (graphic novel) | 1 more credit »
Popularity
2,487 ( 319)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 37 wins & 78 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Naomi Watts, Viggo Mortensen, Armin Mueller-Stahl
The Road I (2009)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In a dangerous post-apocalyptic world, an ailing father defends his son as they slowly travel to the sea.

Director: John Hillcoat
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen
Crash (1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas
eXistenZ (1999)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A game designer on the run from assassins must play her latest virtual reality creation with a marketing trainee to determine if the game has been damaged.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ian Holm
Spider (2002)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A mentally disturbed man takes residence in a halfway house. His mind gradually slips back into the realm created by his illness, where he replays a key part of his childhood.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne
Videodrome (1983)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When he acquires a different kind of show for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: James Woods, Debbie Harry, Sonja Smits
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson
Dead Ringers (1988)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Twin gynecologists take full advantage of the fact that nobody can tell them apart, until their relationship begins to deteriorate over a woman.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske
Naked Lunch (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After developing an addiction to the substance he uses to kill bugs, an exterminator accidentally kills his wife, and becomes involved in a secret government plot being orchestrated by giant bugs in a port town in North Africa.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm
The Fly (1986)
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A brilliant but eccentric scientist begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Scanners (1981)
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A scientist sends a man with extraordinary psychic powers to hunt others like him.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Patrick McGoohan
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Viggo Mortensen ... Tom Stall
Maria Bello ... Edie Stall
Ed Harris ... Carl Fogarty
William Hurt ... Richie Cusack
Ashton Holmes ... Jack Stall
Peter MacNeill ... Sheriff Sam Carney
Stephen McHattie ... Leland
Greg Bryk ... Billy
Kyle Schmid ... Bobby Singer
Sumela Kay ... Judy Danvers
Gerry Quigley Gerry Quigley ... Mick
Deborah Drakeford Deborah Drakeford ... Charlotte
Heidi Hayes ... Sarah Stall
Aidan Devine ... Charlie Roarke
Bill MacDonald Bill MacDonald ... Frank Mulligan
Edit

Storyline

This is the story of a mild-mannered man, named Tom Stall, who becomes a local hero through an act of violence, he lives a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana. But one night their idyllic existence is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner. Sensing danger, he takes action and saves his customers and friends in the self-defense killings of two-sought-after criminals. Heralded as a hero, Tom's life is changed overnight, attracting a national media circus, which forces him into the spotlight. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a mysterious and threatening man who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who wronged him in the past. As Tom and his family fight back against this case of mistaken identity and struggle to cope with their changed reality, they are forced to confront their relationships and the... Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A film by David Cronenberg See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence, graphic sexuality, nudity, language and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | Germany | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Una historia violenta See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$515,992, 25 September 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$31,493,782, 5 February 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The mobsters were originally supposed to be Italian, but after the casting of Ed Harris and William Hurt, David Cronenberg decided to change the mob to Irish, giving Viggo's character the Irish surname Cusack. He felt that Mortensen, Harris, and Hurt wouldn't make convincing Italians. See more »

Goofs

As Edie is fumbling to load the shotgun, a white box with extra shells can be seen by the closet door. In the shot of her finally getting the gun loaded, the box is gone. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
William Orser: [Leland and Billy walk out of the motel room] So we keep headin' east?
Leland Jones: Yeah, that's the idea.
William Orser: Stay out of the big cities?
Leland Jones: Uh-huh.
William Orser: I think I'm tired.
Leland Jones: [Leland smiles] Yeah. Me, too.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Before its theatrical release in India in 2006, the film was certified A (adults only), but with cuts. Some of these including deletion of visuals showing a man's face blown off and taking off undergarment during sex were cut on the demand of the censor board, while other cuts like a lady lifting her skirt and showing her undergarment, an explicit sex scene and the sex scene on stairs, were made voluntarily by the applicant after the film's examination by the board. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Too Commercial for Cannes (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Club Hoppin'
Written by Michael Foster and Darrell 'Digga' Branch
Performed by Blinky Blink
Courtesy of Spirit Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
One of Cronenberg's best and most accessible films
9 April 2006 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

Cronenberg's adaptation of a Wagner and Locke graphic novel places a simple American family man, and his all-American family, into a new and disturbing context which has them questioning everything they think they know. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) owns a little diner in a small town and has a nice house on the outskirts of town, where he and his wife Edie (Maria Bello) raise their two kids apparently living the American dream in their own way. One day at the diner, two murderers pop by at closing time for some cherry pie, and Tom's heroic defense of his diner, his customers and himself sets off a series of events that threaten his family, his sanity and his life. The eerie tension never lets up in this powerful examination of identity, honesty and violence.

David Cronenberg has directed some of my favorite off-beat films - the masterpiece Naked Lunch, Scanners, Videodrome. I have watched these films many times and I still find them interesting. I can't really call myself a fan, however, because there are also just as many Cronenberg films out there which I found difficult to get through the first time (Crash, eXistenZ, Dead Ringers). Cronenberg enjoys creating disturbing situations and imagery, and wants to get under your skin and to stimulate your mind on as many levels as he can. In most cases, he pulls it off masterfully, but sometimes, his emphasis on the bizarre can come across as pretentious and forced.

Like a lot of very creative and intelligent people, Cronenberg sometimes leaves his signature virtually everywhere in his work. And sometimes, a director needs to make a film which does everything they want to accomplish but leaves off the signature. For example - the brilliant David Lynch showed us his ability to jump out of his own skin with Elephant Man and The Straight Story. These are still very much Lynch films, but they also appeal to the wider audience of mainstream cinema-goers. A History of Violence is, in some ways, Cronenberg's most straightforward film. A key to its success is that it is very easy to forget that you are watching a Cronenberg film, no matter how aware you are of Cronenberg's many quirks, idiosyncrasies and trademarks. It is so masterfully directed that, although the plot is not entirely unpredictable, you are right there in the action with the characters and feeling what they feel so that, though you may know what's next, you never exactly see it coming and you never know how it will take you there.

Viggo Mortensen, in his best mainstream role since Aragorn, and Maria Bello (one of the actors who made The Cooler worth watching), head an impressive cast in this adaptation of a Wagner and Locke graphic novel. Nobody in the cast slips up at all. The script is intense, realistic, and probably did nothing to make the performances easy. The plot, if described without the plot and the context created by the script, would seem somewhat absurd, but like Woody Allen's Match Point, it's absurdity does not make it impossible to believe. Editing, directing and pure performance combine to make flawless performances for this cast. Backed up by veterans Ed Harris and William Hurt, and very strongly supported by the excellent Maria Bello, Mortensen is shockingly excellent in a difficult role. I can't explain why without giving too much of the film away. Although the rest of the cast did exactly as they were supposed to, I want to single out Ashton Holmes - an actor I was completely unfamiliar with but who I will look out for in the future.

I recommend A History of Violence highly. It is one of my top five reasons for considering 2005 to have been a great year in North American film.


142 of 198 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 1,133 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed