7.2/10
105,067
358 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
2,826 ( 873)
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 17 wins & 51 nominations. See more awards »
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
Learn more

More Like This 

Selma I (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
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
The Butler (2018)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 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
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
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, Tom. T. Tran
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
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
Documentary | Short | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of The Butler (2013).

Stars: Charles Allen, Mariah Carey, John Cusack
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the U.S.-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

Director: Paul Greengrass
Stars: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman
Boulevard (2014)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A devoted husband in a marriage of convenience is forced to confront his secret life.

Director: Dito Montiel
Stars: Robin Williams, Roberto Aguire, Kathy Baker
Men of Honor (2000)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of Carl Brashear, the first African-American U.S. Navy Diver, and the man who trained him.

Director: George Tillman Jr.
Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron
The Help (2011)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

Director: Tate Taylor
Stars: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer

Photos

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

Did You Know?

Trivia

This is Oprah Winfrey's first on-screen film role since Beloved (1998) in which she does not play herself. See more »

Goofs

The wall telephone in Cecil's kitchen has a modular jack and flat cord, introduced in the early 1970's. It should have a round cord hard-wired into the handset, like the phone in the front hall. See more »

Quotes

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


Soundtracks

Family Reunion
Written by Kenny Gamble (as Kenneth Gamble) and Leon Huff (as Leonard Huff)
Performed by The O'Jays
Courtesy of Philadelphia International Records and Sony Music Entertainment
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

User Reviews

 
highest accolades
18 August 2013 | by marfrie56See all my reviews

I'll start by stating that I'm a 62 year old white male. I did not grow up in the South - but I did live for a year in Louisiana in the early 70's. I lived through every news event that was portrayed in the movie - that is, I saw and read about them in the actual news when these things happened. Many posters on the boards say that the movie is inaccurate. Then they go on to say things like: His name was changed, he didn't have 2 sons, he didn't look anything like Forest Whitaker, Nixon was miscast, etc. True, the details of The Butler's family life have been dramatized. That is called movie making. The movie was historically accurate in every important way. I don't say that every single detail was true, nor am I saying the portrayal of these historical events was 100% exactly as portrayed. But it is far more accurate (and important) than your average popcorn POS that pervades the theaters these days. I want to state that I have rarely, if ever, been as emotionally affected by any movie. It is brilliant, provocative, artistic, and has a social purpose. Like it or not, persons of African descent have been victimized, downtrodden, brutalized, persecuted, tortured, lynched, raped, and murdered - and only because of their skin color. HOORAY to Lee Daniels for making this movie! Hooray to Forest for being a sensitive, intelligent, highly gifted actor. Hooray to Oprah, whose performance is beyond stellar. Hooray to anyone involved with this movie. Not to say that ALL movies have to take you to the places that this movie does. I guess there is a place for Pacific Rim and Wolverine. So if you think that movies have no business delving into our racist and brutal history, then see one of those movies. But to say that this movie is irrelevant or inaccurate - well, as I said I lived through it all. It is not. What it is, is an exceptional, mature movie for those that want a little more than monsters (the fictional kind). My wife and I went through a whole packet of tissues - we were blubbering like fools. BRAVO!!!!! 9 (rather than 10) stars only because the 10 star reviews are often discounted as over- the-top hero worship. But if Ironman, The Avengers, etc are 10 stars (and I liked those), this movie rates 100 stars - because it is 10X better, more important, more relevant, and more thought provoking.


458 of 619 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 358 user reviews »

Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
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:

$177,313,795
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 »

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



Recently Viewed