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A History of Violence (2005)

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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 »

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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
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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:

Tom Stall had the perfect life... until he became a hero. 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 »
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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 »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Hurt filmed his role in only five days. See more »

Goofs

When Sam (the Sheriff) stops Fogarty's car and talks to him, he looks at the driver's license in his hand. Immediately afterward, Fogarty closes the window, and the car drives away, without Sam returning the license. Yet his hands are empty. 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

There are some minute differences between the US and the International version when it comes to some of the violent scenes:
  • Fogarty's thug, who gets his nose smashed into his skull has more blood spurt out in the International version in the shot where he is dying on the ground.
  • When Joey stomps on Richie's thug's throat, he spits blood (instead of it 'welling up') and the sound effect of the neck breaking is louder. Both shots last the same length of time and use the same take, the amount of blood was simply toned down digitally for the MPAA. Most video versions outside the U.S. use the 'international version' but the shots appear in the supplements on the U.S. DVD (In the featurette titled 'Violence's History', Cronenberg shows the U.S. and international cut scenes side by side and explains the reason why there wasn't a standard 'unrated' version in the U.S. was because the changes were so small).
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Eastern Promises: Secrets and Stories (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Life of a Fool
Written by Paul Burch
Performed by Paul Burch
Courtesy of Bloodshot Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An Unsettling Film Which Defies Description (nearly)
7 October 2005 | by TheMovieheadSee all my reviews

Leaving this film (just an hour ago now) I heard a phrase rolling over and over again in my head: "Wow. Wow". I cannot find adequate words to relate. I found myself saying "Why?...Oh my god!...How?...Wow...". The film touches, it festers, crawls all over and inside you. The film does (I think) what Cronenberg intended it to do; frighten. I'm speaking of real fear that is not spoken out loud, not discussed or screamed about,or even fully understood. The best and only word I have to describe the film is that it is "unsettling". I won't discuss the points relating to the sexuality of the film but will quickly address the violence. I read Cronenberg's answers to some questions raised by the film, most relating to the violence itself. He mentions that it is "intimate, nasty, brutish and quick" also going on at length on the utilitarian nature of the violent acts in the film. This is perhaps the first film I've seen to display violence in, what I consider to be, a true sense. It is over so quickly and before one can marvel at it, the guilt and terror washes over like waves in a storm. It's relatively refreshing, albeit downright sickening, to see a film that can still shock the hell out of what is thought to be a desensitized generation. That being said, one must remember that an author, poet, director etc. NEVER has the final say on what a book, poem or film's meaning is or what its symbols or set pieces are about. Each person in turn must have his or her take on the medium. I'd like to close with my final and wholly overriding thought concerning "A History of Violence": It is a film which I desperately wish to see again but equally compelling is the urge to never, ever see it again. Never have such strong yet equally conflicting views about something so trivial as a film entered my psyche. The rating of 10 is based on my personal experience with the film, not necessarily the merit of the film itself. You may interpret that as you will.


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