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The Butler (2013)

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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
2,810 ( 7)
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 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

In the original script, Cecil Gaines meets President Barack Obama. Lee Daniels considered asking the president to play himself. Since the film was shot during the height of the 2012 presidential election, Daniels decided to cast actor Orlando Eric Street in the role instead. The scene was shot but ultimately discarded, and archival footage of the real President Obama was used. See more »

Goofs

When his fellow butler clears Cecil's empty plate at the state dinner, he clears it from Cecil's left. Proper etiquette calls for dishes to be cleared from the diner's right side. 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

Babalu
Written by Margarita Lecuona
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Very much clichéd, wonderful star power, but wasted.
2 September 2013 | by gaucho54-1See all my reviews

Being 60 and having lived through much of this time period, I'm sorry to say that I found the movie to be very simplistic and quite dull. Jackie K with the hat, Johnson on the toilet with the Beagles.

Of course we all know he had beagles and had no qualms about speaking to his people while on the toilet, but this movie seemed to just be filled with these clichés. There were also too many historical inaccuracies. I could start listing them, but what's the point. Jackie never called her husband John, he was Jack!

I found it very simplistic in it's approach to the racial issues, (which after-all is what the movie was about). These issues were far more complicated. Did the producers and writers believe us not bright enough to tell the stories on a more elevated level?

Unforgivable, no mention of Rosa Parks.

I'm afraid to believe that:

1 Was dumbed down purposely

2 This movie accurately shows the extreme failing of our educational system. Thus this movie had to be created on such a simple level.

One other complaint is that it in no way accurately showed the extreme fear we (black and white) felt as these national events unfolded.

My answer: Read some books. "Native Sun", "The autobiography of Malcolm X" etc etc. You'll learn a lot more of the times.

Gene M San Francisco


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