Two young boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the vigilantes that are on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.


Jeff Nichols


Jeff Nichols
1,605 ( 399)
15 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew McConaughey ... Mud
Reese Witherspoon ... Juniper
Tye Sheridan ... Ellis
Jacob Lofland ... Neckbone
Sam Shepard ... Tom
Ray McKinnon ... Senior
Sarah Paulson ... Mary Lee
Michael Shannon ... Galen
Joe Don Baker ... King
Paul Sparks ... Carver
Bonnie Sturdivant ... May Pearl
Stuart Greer ... Miller
John Ward Jr. John Ward Jr. ... Galen's Helper
Kristy Barrington Kristy Barrington ... Princess
Johnny Cheek Johnny Cheek ... Kyle


14 year-old Ellis (Tye Sheridan) lives on a makeshift houseboat on the banks of a river in Arkansas with his parents, Mary Lee (Sarah Paulson) and Senior (Ray McKinnon). He sneaks out early one morning to meet his best friend, Neckbone (Jacob Lofland). Neckbone, also 14, lives with his uncle, Galen (Michael Shannon), who makes a hardscrabble living diving for oysters. The two boys set out to an island on the Mississippi River, where Neckbone has discovered an unusual sight-a boat, suspended high in the trees, a remnant of an extreme flood some time in the past. They climb the tree and into the boat only to find fresh bread and fresh footprints. Realizing that they are not the only ones who have discovered the treehouse boat, they decide to leave. When they reach the shore, they find the same footprint in their boat. And that's when they meet Mud (Matthew McConaughey). Mud is a gritty, superstitious character; his clothes are dirty, his tooth is cracked, and he needs help. He tells the... Written by Roadside Attractions

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Entangled in his past. Running from the law. All for love.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence, sexual references, language, thematic elements and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The island in the film is located outside Eudora, Arkansas. See more »


Mud delivers Ellis to the hospital. The orderly & patient near the entrance move significantly between two camera shots. See more »


Mud: Tom's had lives you'd never even know about. Grew up up north,went to Yale. For a long time he was a paid assassin for the CIA. Flew to Cuba in '63. He's killed more people than y'all probably ever met.
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Crazy Credits

Everest Entertainment donates a portion of its profits from each film to charity. By watching an Everest film you have made a difference. We thank you. See more »


Featured in MsMojo: Top 10 Reese Witherspoon Performances (2017) See more »


Written by Ben Nichols
Performed by Ben Nichols
Courtesy of Empty Road Music
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User Reviews

On the surface, Mud's plot may seem simple, but its symbolism runs deep, and tells a story that won't stop lingering in my mind.
18 April 2014 | by bytruthSee all my reviews

Caught between childhood and teenage years, two best friends, Ellis and Neckbone, are having to navigate through the murky waters of life that has surprises at every bend. When they arrive their childhood play area - a boat that has gotten stuck in the trees during a storm - they discover an adult is now inhabiting it. Just at a time when they are beginning to recognize their own pre-adult urgings awakening inside them, they discover who is living in their tree house of sort and make friends with him. He becomes a mentor to them just when the murky waters have become too muddy to see clearly, and he tells them how his own life has been shipwrecked because of a love affair that began when he was about their age.

The man named Mud had fallen in love with a girl named Juniper when he was a kid and never recovered from the experience. Just as her name implies, she is a bittersweet, prickly creature whose fragrance has gotten into his nostrils and he thinks he can't live without her. On the other hand, she is fickle with love, not appreciating what he has to offer, and only accepting it when it's according to her whims. This mirrors the relationship that Ellis finds himself in with his "girlfriend," May Pearl.

Neckbone, on the other hand, has never had anyone love him except for an uncle whose relationships with women are on his terms and usually consist of one night, or to be more exact, one afternoon, stands. On the other hand, his uncle knows how to find the pearls others don't see, and he has found one in the boy he calls Neckbone.

Ellis can't help comparing his father's relationship with his mother to his new friend, who will do anything to defend the honor of this woman, even if it means going to jail for the rest of his life, and his father is falling short in his estimation. On one hand, his father is telling him how bad women can be and on the other hand, he has this friend telling him that they are worth everything. This conflicts Ellis, and he finds himself in his own set of conflicts as he defends the girl in his life.

Mud's stories are larger than life, and one wonders what is real and what is not. Juniper calls him a liar, but is he really? By the conclusion, one begins to see that Mud's actions are not as murky as they at first seem. In the end, will the river of life lead them to larger horizons where they can grow from their experiences?

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Release Date:

10 May 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mud See more »

Filming Locations:

Crocketts Bluff, Arkansas, USA See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,215,891, 28 April 2013

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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