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351 user 305 critic

The Butler (2013)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 16 August 2013 (USA)
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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
2,273 ( 242)
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 18 wins & 50 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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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 »
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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 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,637,312, 18 August 2013, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$116,632,095

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$176,598,908
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes five Oscar winners: Forest Whitaker, Robin Williams, Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave and Cuba Gooding Jr.; and two Oscar nominees: Oprah Winfrey and Terrence Howard. See more »

Goofs

In their 1957 discussion about Emmett Till, Gloria Gaines says his killing happened "three years ago." Till actually was killed in 1955, two years before. See more »

Quotes

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

Referenced in Midnight Screenings: Kick-Ass 2/The Butler (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Tell Him
Written by Carlton Black
Performed by Patty Drew
Courtesy of Capitol Records, LLC
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Very Brief Review summed up in two points.
18 August 2013 | by jacob-m-ford97See all my reviews

The Butler was a serious disappointment, and it had two main problems. #1: The casting. Casting big-name actors in the role of the presidents or other minor parts was one of the biggest faults of the film. In this movie, there was never Dwight Eisenhower or Nancy Reagan on screen, it was always Robin Williams or Jane Fonda playing Dwight Eisenhower or Jane Fonda. This was especially a problem since all of these roles consisted of a combined two minutes or less. It was the same case with James Marsden, John Cusak, Alan Rickman, Terrence Howard, Liev Schreiber, Mariah Carey, etc. #2: The first point can be classified in this one as well: Throughout the film it never felt like you were in the life of Cecil Gaines, the entire time it felt like I was watching a movie. Beginning with all the big-name actors, down the directing. Every single scene you could see the directors intention with that scene - this scene I'm supposed to laugh, this scene I'm supposed to cry, I'm supposed to like this character, I'm supposed to like this president because I'm supposed to laugh in this scene where he's sitting on the toilet asking for prune juice. I never felt like I was allowed to make decisions for myself. I really wanted to like this movie because of the great story that was in it, but it was very poorly done.


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