7.2/10
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351 user 305 critic

The Butler (2013)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 16 August 2013 (USA)
Trailer
2:02 | Trailer

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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)
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Popularity
2,212 ( 61)
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 character of Cecil Gaines was based on Eugene Allen, who served as White House butler for over 30 years and 8 presidents: Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. Much of the detail is fictionalized for this movie. See more »

Goofs

During the first shot of the White House and titled as 1957, a bronze 1959 Chevrolet drives by. See more »

Quotes

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

Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Bull Connor
Music by Tom Phillips
Courtesy of WGBH Boston
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I grew up with the :"Butler's" son Charles.
13 August 2013 | by faejmeSee all my reviews

I am an educator and the theme in the "Butler" is another piece of history which should be edified and enjoyed by everyone, especially the next generation. Most of the respondents so far seem to have lost sight of the fact that our American history must constantly be told and retold since the contributions and sacrifices of many minorities have previously been distorted or omitted. An appreciation of the cause and affect of historical events is always empowering and it should teach us all to be more tolerant and understanding of others in the future. A good analogy is that as an African American child growing up in the 1950's Charles and I always rooted for the cowboys in the movies to defeat those "savages" known as Indians. In truth, Native Americans were forced from their land, their families separated, many killed and placed on reservations where some remain today living in poverty. Does this sound anything like Nazi Germany? When we see the "Butler" we should all say "wow" I never knew that; I hope our young people understand that becoming and maintaining a great Nation and living in a democracy requires sacrifice and hard work constantly. Remember, "Those who have no knowledge of history, are destined to repeat it." Not my words.


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