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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
2,552 ( 99)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 37 wins & 80 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:

A film by David Cronenberg See more »

Genres:

Crime | 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:

A History of Violence See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$504,000, 25 September 2005

Gross USA:

$31,504,633

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$60,740,827
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

Although uncredited, David Cronenberg contributed to the final shooting draft of the screenplay. See more »

Goofs

When Edie drives up to the shopping center, the shadow of the camera and crane is visible in the driver window as she opens the door. 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 Parasite Memories: The Making of 'Shivers' (2014) 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

 
Thought-provoking quality drama
24 June 2009 | by Quebec_DragonSee all my reviews

Let's start by writing this is a film I have difficulty evaluating. You notice the great technical qualities but emotionally it leaves you conflicted. Which, considering this is a Cronenberg film, might just be what was intended. I've seen most of his films and "A history of violence" is probably the least weird and most "commercial" (a term used by the director himself). It's a psychological drama with of course certain sequences of violence. It would not qualify as an action flick because the fight scenes are quite quick (less than a minute mostly), realistic, harsh and not glamorized. They're rather shocking but somehow exhilarating (like an adrenaline rush) but linger just a bit to show the results and make you feel uncomfortable. In the end, it does make you think about violence, if it's something ingrained, how it affects people, if it can sometimes be justified and if it can be overcome.

Let's not forget a very interesting mystery aspect regarding the past of the main character played solidly and subtly by Viggo Mortensen. All the actors were quite convincing in their parts, the wife being suitably loving and tormented, the main gangsters being suitably menacing. They felt like real characters and I particularly liked the interactions between the wife and husband. Cronenberg is obviously a professional at his craft and shows it once again. It's cinema d'auteur as we would say in french but it's not boring or overtly intellectual. So if you're a Cronenberg fan, this is obviously a must-buy but expect it to be relatively more "tame" than his previous efforts. If you like smart character driven psychological dramas with a hint of mystery, it's a must see but I'm conflicted as to how re-watchable it is, making a purchase recommendation an uncertain thing. Fans of the Cohen brothers dramas/thrillers would probably like it also.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10


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