7.2/10
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340 user 303 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.

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2,815 ( 316)
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 18 wins & 50 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Cecil Gaines
... Earl Gaines
... Cecil Gaines (8)
LaJessie Smith ... Abraham
... Hattie Pearl
... Thomas Westfall
... Annabeth Westfall
... Cecil Gaines (15)
... Maynard
... Mr. Jenkins (as John Fertitta)
... R.D. Warner
... Gloria Gaines
Isaac White ... Charlie Gaines (10)
... Louis Gaines
... 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:

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Details

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Release Date:

16 August 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lee Daniels' The Butler  »

Filming Locations:

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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:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Matthew McConaughey was cast as John F. Kennedy, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. James Franco was considered to replace him. See more »

Goofs

In the long shot of the White House dated 1957, the fence along Pennsylvania Avenue has concrete barriers. They were installed after the Beirut bombings in 1983. In a later scene, using an old film image, the barriers aren't there. See more »

Quotes

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

1. Praeludium [Partita No. 1 in B Flat, BWV 825]
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Maria João Pires
Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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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 See 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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