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
2,083 ( 331)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 37 wins & 82 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 ... Charlotte
Heidi Hayes ... Sarah Stall
Aidan Devine ... Charlie Roarke
Bill MacDonald Bill MacDonald ... Frank Mulligan
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Storyline

Leading a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana, mild-mannered Tom Stall cherishes his simple, uneventful existence. However, their idyllic lifestyle is shattered when, one night, Tom saves his customers and friends in self-defence, foiling a vicious attempted robbery in his diner by two violent wanted criminals. Now, heralded as a local hero, Tom's life is changed overnight, attracting unwanted attention, and a national media feeding frenzy. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to normalcy, only to find himself confronted by a mysterious man who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who wronged him in the past. More and more, as Tom and his family struggle to cope with their new reality and this case of mistaken identity, they have no other choice but to fight back and protect all that they hold dear. But, is there more to Tom than meets the eye? Does he have, indeed, a history of violence? Written by Nick Riganas

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scenes in the diner were all shot on a sound stage in Ontario. They constructed a street scene for outside the window and lit it appropriate to day or night time. See more »

Goofs

When the sheriff is talking to Tom and Edie on the couch, her right arm is between them. The shot cuts to the sheriff and when it comes back, her arm is around Tom's shoulders. 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.
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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).
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Connections

References Larry King Live (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Club Hoppin'
Written by Michael Foster and Darrell 'Digga' Branch
Performed by Blinky Blink
Courtesy of Spirit Music Group
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User Reviews

 
excellent, but not for the kiddies
6 October 2005 | by gsygsySee all my reviews

This is, like all Cronenberg's work, a mythic movie. It occupies the world of "monsters" that Tom Stall's daughter dreams about at the start. It's as if we get to see the little girl's nightmare as the film unfolds. It's because of this poetic, super-real quality that criticisms from the "this isn't real life" brigade have no relevance. The screenplay is exceptionally tight and well-woven - no image is wasted. The subplot of the son's troubles with a school bully parallels the main plot. The very existence of the son is there to show the inheritance - the history - of violence. The sex scenes are there to show the proximity of lust and violence. The end can be nothing other than what it is: as someone else on IMDb has commented, the genie is out of the bottle. This is true for the family in the film, the society we see surrounding the family, and it's true for our families and our society. It's about the inexhaustible rage of humans. It couldn't be more relevant, it couldn't be more timeless. It is well acted and beautifully photographed. I have some minor reservations - did we really need so much of Howard Shore's music? - but on the whole I think this is a superb film. Not for the kiddies, however.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

Canada | USA

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:

$364,000, 25 September 2005

Gross USA:

$31,504,633

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$61,385,065
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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