7.2/10
103,617
356 user 309 critic

Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)

The Butler (original title)
PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 16 August 2013 (USA)
Trailer
2:02 | Trailer
As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society.

Director:

Lee Daniels

Writers:

Danny Strong, Wil Haygood (article)
Reviews
Popularity
3,364 ( 414)
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 18 wins & 50 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Selma (2014)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Director: Ava DuVernay
Stars: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth
The Butler (2018)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The film tells the story of the Prussian family von Krauss living in the Puck area, as well as the love between the Kashubian boy Mateusz and the German aristocrat Marita and is set between... See full summary »

Director: Filip Bajon
Stars: Janusz Gajos, Anna Radwan, Sebastian Fabijanski
Philomena (2013)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman's search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1965, an unorthodox and irreverent DJ named Adrian Cronauer begins to shake up things when he is assigned to the U.S. Armed Services radio station in Vietnam.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Tung Thanh Tran
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Based on the events of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's regime as seen by his personal physician during the 1970s.

Director: Kevin Macdonald
Stars: James McAvoy, Forest Whitaker, Gillian Anderson
Patch Adams (1998)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The true story of a heroic man, Hunter "Patch" Adams, determined to become a medical doctor because he enjoys helping people. He ventured where no doctor had ventured before, using humour and pathos.

Director: Tom Shadyac
Stars: Robin Williams, Daniel London, Monica Potter
Invictus (2009)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman), in his first term as President of South African, initiates a unique venture to unite the Apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge
The Iron Lady (2011)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An elderly Margaret Thatcher talks to the imagined presence of her recently deceased husband as she struggles to come to terms with his death while scenes from her past life, from girlhood to British prime minister, intervene.

Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Stars: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Richard E. Grant
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's (Bradley Cooper's) pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.

Director: Theodore Melfi
Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe
Concussion (2015)
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In Pittsburgh, accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play.

Director: Peter Landesman
Stars: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks
The Butler (2017)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Peter receive the house his dead mother left for him in her will. Peter is visited by his mother's butler and his daughter. They offer to clean the house in order to sell it. Peter realizes... See full summary »

Director: César Caro Cruz
Stars: Luis Borge, Fernando Vinocour, Abelardo Vladich
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Forest Whitaker ... Cecil Gaines
David Banner ... Earl Gaines
Michael Rainey Jr. ... Cecil Gaines (8)
LaJessie Smith ... Abraham
Mariah Carey ... Hattie Pearl
Alex Pettyfer ... Thomas Westfall
Vanessa Redgrave ... Annabeth Westfall
Aml Ameen ... Cecil Gaines (15)
Clarence Williams III ... Maynard
John P. Fertitta ... Mr. Jenkins (as John Fertitta)
Jim Gleason ... R.D. Warner
Oprah Winfrey ... Gloria Gaines
Isaac White ... Charlie Gaines (10)
David Oyelowo ... Louis Gaines
Joe Chrest ... White Usher
Edit

Storyline

Cecil Gaines was a sharecropper's son who grew up in the 1920s as a domestic servant for the white family who casually destroyed his. Eventually striking out on his own, Cecil becomes a hotel valet of such efficiency and discreteness in the 1950s that he becomes a butler in the White House itself. There, Cecil would serve numerous US Presidents over the decades as a passive witness of history with the American Civil Rights Movement gaining momentum even as his family has troubles of its own. As his wife, Gloria, struggles with her addictions and his defiant eldest son, Louis, strives for a just world, Cecil must decide whether he should take action in his own way. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One quiet voice can ignite a revolution

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lee Daniels' The Butler See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,637,312, 18 August 2013

Gross USA:

$116,632,095

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$176,598,908
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Reunites Robin Williams and Forest Whitaker after 26 years. Their first appearance together was in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987). See more »

Goofs

Gloria is using a Pyrex bowl with the Spring Blossom pattern (white with green flowers) when she is peeling potatoes in a scene set around 1959. The pattern was not actually released until the '70s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Cecil Gaines: The only thing I ever knew was cotton. It was hard work.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tosh.0: We Buy Golf (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Out Of Sight
Written and Performed by James Brown
Courtesy of Universal Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A Biographical Triumph That May Be a Bit Dry Sometimes
15 August 2013 | by dmurilloromanSee all my reviews

I got tickets to see this film a day early because this has been on the top of my watch list for months and I was not disappointed. Lee Daniels' The Butler contains all the elements you want in a bio-pic with spot on portrayals and an efficient script that smoothly goes through all the time periods. The film is a true journey that may have you at the brink of tears or have you joyfully laughing. At times it tries to hard to make you feel any emotion, the movie falls victim to a formula where there is a tragedy about every 10 minutes and it only becomes a cliché rather than being effective. On the other hand though, you practically get oozed through Cecil Gaines's eyes which will simply astound you. The movie has been branded as a "Black Forrest Gump" which actually is pretty accurate except that the main character, Cecil Gaines, isn't as charismatic or as fully characterized until the near end. It was a minor disappointment to see that the numerous presidents throughout weren't that involved in the film as I would have liked but their respective portrayals were jaw dropping, not only in their appearances but also with their realistic performances and mannerisms. James Marsden representation of J.F.K. is by far the closest you can get performance wise, Marsden captured both his youthfulness and good heartiness as well. This may be a little dry sometimes and I was somewhat exhausted near the conclusion but the real emotional peak is at the end. Lee Daniel's shows his dominance both dramatically and emotionally in this enjoyable yet still flawed film that you should definitely take a look at.


22 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 356 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed