- Rated: R
- Run Time: 2 hours, 14 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: December 21, 1999
- Originally Released: 1996
- Label: Turner Home Ent
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Snap Case
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 2.35
- Additional Release Material:
- Trailers: Theatrical Trailer
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Chris Cooper &
Tony Plana &
Director of Photography:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"Forget the Alamo."
- Pilar Cruz (Elizabeth Peña) to Sam Deeds (Chris Cooper)
"It's not like there's a borderline between the good people and the bad people. You're not either on one side or the other."
- Otis Payne (Ron Canada) to Delmore Payne (Joe Morton)
"Son, you got a talent for stating the obvious."
- Charlie Wade (Kris Kristofferson) to Buddy Deeds (Matthew McConaughey)
"It's always heartwarming to see a prejudice defeated by a deeper prejudice."
- Mikey (Stephen Lang) to Cliff (Stephen Mendillo)
"This stretch of road runs between nowhere and not much else."
- Native American merchant to Sam Deeds
Rolling Stone - 07/11/1996
"...A mystery of potent surprise, ready wit and rough-hewed grace....The performances are uncommonly fine..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/1996
"...Intelligence, political acuteness and narrative lucidity....LONE STAR turns the conventions and vocabulary of the Western to its own ends..."
USA Today - 06/21/1996
"...[A] socially conscious sprawler....[A] Texas-size cast of characters..."
Entertainment Weekly - 06/21/1996
"...The glow of a humanist optimism rare in contemporary movies..." -- Rating: B+
Variety - 03/18/1996
"...A richly textured and thoroughly engrossing drama....Canada and James give vibrant performances..."
Los Angeles Times - 06/21/1996
"...Leisurely yet intense, LONE STAR reveals a director whose mastery does nothing but increase..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 07/03/1996
"...LONE STAR contains so many riches, it humbles ordinary movies....LONE STAR is a great American movie....The film is a wonder -- the best work yet by one of our most original and independent filmmakers..."
Total Film - 04/01/2004
"Intricately plotted and perfectly paced, it effortlessly slips between eras and surprises right up until the very last minute."
Sheriff Buddy Deeds (Matthew McConaughey) is a legend in the Texas border town of Frontera, the archetypical hero who supposedly saved the town from corruption. The discovery of a 40-year-old murder, however, threatens to tarnish Deeds's reputation and upset a fragile community riven between whites, Latinos, and blacks. LONE STAR follows the murder investigation through the lives of several characters, including the Latina schoolteacher, Pilar (Elizabeth Peña); the African American colonel, Delmore (Joe Morton); and Deeds's estranged son, Sam (Chris Cooper), who is the town's current sheriff. At times recalling the structure of CITIZEN KANE, LONE STAR presents many different views on the morally ambiguous character of Buddy Deeds. However, the film is primarily about how Frontera's residents deal with the complex, often violent history they have inherited and the borders they must cross to live in peace. As with his earlier film, CITY OF HOPE, director John Sayles juggles complex race and class issues with ease and shows that the political is often the personal.
The discovery of human bones and a rusty sheriff's badge on a rifle range in a Texas border town resurrects painful memories for a young lawman, drawing him into an intricate, masterfully woven web of ethical, familial, and intercultural conflicts.
Essential Cinema |
Family Interaction |
Race Relations |
- Theatrical release: June 21, 1996 (New York City).
- Shown at the 1996 South by Southwest Film Festival.
- Filmed on location in Eagle Pass, Texas, and Piedras Negras, Mexico.
- Frances McDormand has a startling cameo as Sam Deed's (Chris Cooper) mentally-ill ex-wife, Bunny.
- "Although it's set on the Texas-Mexican border, a lot of what I was thinking about when I was writing it was Yugoslavia and how do you wake up one morning and have somebody come to your house and say, 'Well, here's a gun. You're a Serb. Let's go kill your next-door neighbor.'"--Director John Sayles in interview on THE CHARLIE ROSE SHOW.
- "I learned [about the situation in Texas] more from listening to songs--both Spanish and English--than from the literature I read," Sayles was quoted as saying by Jack Ryan in the book JOHN SAYLES, FILMMAKER. The music for LONE STAR was selected before shooting began. The music often reinforces the the film's themes of cultural appropriation. For instance, the music that is playing when Delmore meets his father is "Since I Met You Baby," by the African American blues star Ivory Joe Hunter. Hispanic singing star Freddie Fender made a popular cover of the song, entitled "Desde Que Conozco," which accompanies Sam and Pilar's scene in the Café Santa Barbara.