Sling Blade

A simple man. A difficult choice.
Sling Blade
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Rating 4.4
277 ratings
Movie on IMDb
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Item:  MRML 44672D
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Also released as:

DVD Features:

  • Rated: R
  • Run Time: 2 hours, 28 minutes
  • Video: Color
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1996
  • Label: Miramax Lionsgate
  • Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
  • Note: Disc 1:
    • Sling Blade director's cut
    • Feature commentary with writer/director/actor Bob Thornton
    • Disc 2:
    • Mr. Thornton goes to Hollywood
    • Bravo profiles: Billy Bob Thornton
    • A roundtable discussion with Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, Mickey Jones and producer David Bushell
    • A conversation with Billy Bob Thornton and Robert Duvall
    • A conversation with Robert Duvall
    • A conversation with Billy Bob Thornton and composer Daniel Lanois
    • The return of Karl
    • On the set:
    • Billy Bob at work
    • Doyle's band: The Johnsons
    • Doyle gets pummeled
    • "Doyle's Dead" - with inntroduction by Billy Bob Thornton
    • Sling Blade reviews
  • Dual Layer
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
  • Audio:
    • Dolby Digital 5.1
    • Subtitles - Spanish

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , , , &
Performer: , , &
Directed by
Edited by
Screenwriting by
Screenplay by
Composition by
Story by
Produced by &
Director of Photography:
Executive Production by

Major Awards:

Academy Awards 1996 - Best Adapted Screenplay: Billy Bob Thornton

Entertainment Reviews:

Sight and Sound - 07/??/1998
"...This is a film that wants us to be alert and it repays our attention handsomely..."
Rolling Stone - 12/12/1996
"...Riveting....SLING BLADE boasts a stupendous performance from Billy Bob Thornton..."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/06/1996
"...A beautiful contraption of a movie....[SLING BLADE] haunts us..." -- Rating: A-
Variety - 09/09/1996
"...Marked by some powerful scenes, fine performances and colorful dialogue....Yoakam is excellent..."
Los Angeles Times - 11/27/1996
"...A mesmerizing parable of good and evil and a splendid example of Southern storytelling at its most poetic and imaginative..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 11/27/1996
"...The movie is a work of great originality and fascination....[The] characters are brought to life with a vivid strength..."
Total Film - 06/01/2012
4 stars out of 5 -- "Playing the anti-FORREST GUMP, it's an ace slab of Southern Gothic....It works best as a showcase for BBT's astonishing performance..."

Product Description:

After catching his mother and her boyfriend "in flagrante delicto" and dispatching both of them with a farm implement known as a sling blade, a simpleminded 11-year-old boy is sent to a mental hospital where he spends the next 25 years. Upon his release, the emotionally and mentally stunted man-child returns to his Arkansas hometown and takes a job in a local garage, only to have the past inexorably repeat itself. An indie-film triumph, adapted by star-writer-director Thornton from his 1993 short, "Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade." Academy Award Nominations: 2, including Best Actor--Billy Bob Thornton. Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay.

Plot Synopsis:

Small-town simpleton Karl Childers has spent most of his life in a mental institution, after he killed his mother and her lover with the eponymous weapon at age 12. Now middle-aged, Karl is deemed healthy -- and released into a world he hasn't inhabited since he was a pre-teen. Although many of Karl's experiences in the "real world" are very troubling, they give him valuable insight into human nature... and himself. But can he completely escape his tragic past'
Academy Award Nominations: 2, including Best Actor--Billy Bob Thornton. Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay.

Plot Keywords:

Black Comedy | Independent | Mental Illness | Murder | Recommended | Suspense | Theatrical Release | Thriller | Wise Fools

Production Notes:

  • Released theatrically in New York and Los Angeles November 22, 1996.
  • Directorial debut for actor/writer Billy Bob Thornton.
  • Produced by Shooting Gallery. Associate produced by Kingshill Group.
  • Color by CFI.
  • Shown at the Telluride Film Festival, August 30, 1996.
  • Shown at the New York Film Festival September 28 & 29, 1996.
  • Additional cast: Rick Dial (Bill Cox) and Christy Ward (Melinda).
  • Billy Bob Thornton and John Ritter co-starred on the sitcom "Hearts Afire."
  • The source of this movie is George Hickenlooper's short, "Some Call it a Sling Blade," which was essentially re-shot to become the opening scenes of this film.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating: Rating 4.4
Based on 277 ratings.
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Product Info:

  • Sales Rank: 92,349
  • UPC: 031398138013
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item