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Sling Blade (1996)

Billy Bob Thornton , Dwight Yoakam , Billy Bob Thornton  |  R |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (419 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black
  • Directors: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Writers: Billy Bob Thornton
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: February 4, 1998
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (419 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304765223
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,211 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sling Blade" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Sling Blade [DVD] [1996]

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
142 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars living inside one's own heart April 22, 2003
Format:DVD
With the parodies and jokes surrounding the lead character of this film stating, "I like the way you talk," I was not expecting this film to be anything I'd be impressed with. Boy, was I wrong. This a fantastic film.
Billy Bob Thornton plays Karl Childers, a man about to be released from a mental hospital after staying there for 30 years. Karl killed his own mother and her lover when he was only about 12 years old and you wonder from the beginning of this film - why are they letting him out?
Some people call him slow, some people say he's retarded - but as each scene comes and goes, you realize that there is a lot more going on inside Karl's head than anyone else believes.
While autism is not mentioned by name in the film, it's obvious that this character was modeled after an autistic person. He does not maintain eye contact and rarely exhibits emotion or speaks.
He returns to his childhood hometown after being released from the hospital and puts his mechanical skills to good use as a small engine wiz at a local mechanic shop.
He befriends Frank (Lucas Black), a young boy who reminds Karl of the kind of life he could have had, if he had only had different parents. Frank's mother has a psycho for a boyfriend (masterfully played by Dwight Yoakum) who treats Frank and his mother like garbage and threatens to kill them if the relationship ever ends.
Small town folks have big hearts, but sometimes small minds. Frank's mother (Natalie Camerday) has a best friend who is gay (well acted by John Ritter) and he must hide his relationships from the townsfolk. Her friend Vaughn wants to go to a a bigger city with wider acceptance of his lifestyle, but he continues to stay to act as a guardian angel for his friend and her son.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, big hearted film September 12, 2006
Format:DVD
"That Frank, he lives inside of his own heart. That's an awful big place to live in."

So gravels Karl, Billy Bob Thornton's unique husky-voiced creation as he describes the inner character of his friend and surrogate son- the innocent and pure Frank. Thornton could easily use this line to describe the broad and embracing spirit of his award-winning 1996 directorial debut, the contemporary classic SLINGBLADE.

Originally released in the halcyon days of independent film-making, the bygone era known as the 90's, SLINGBLADE deftly and eerily combines the wholesome everyman small town ideals of a Norman Rockwell painting with the morbid Southern Gothic tone of William Faulkner's best prose.

Filming in and around his Arkansasian home town, Thornton pulls off a creative hat trick - expanding his one man play and short film into a feature length celebration of salvation through grace and atonement through blood as staged in the backwoods and clapboard houses of rural America.

As a Director, Thornton holds his camera in capricious long shots and expanded takes, allowing his characters to exist in an exaggerated time and space, thereby empowering his actors to explore the nuances of their shadowy lives and share freely of their expansive hearts. Yes all of these people have secrets- Thornton rarely saturates his frame with full light. Bands of shadow wash across every character. Everybody has flaws- potential for good and evil in equal measure- even the villainous Doyle Hargraves (deliciously played by country-western star Dwight Yokum), deserving of Book of Revelation retribution as any character in recent memory, has his moments of vulnerability.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Redneck auteur extraordinaire! February 29, 2000
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A little-known fact: Billy Bob Thornton--star, director and writer of this amazing film--is the greatest southern voice since William Faulkner. This film is essential southern gothic retooled for the New South of mini-malls and subdivisions. The old demons still lurk, most graphically through Doyle (played remarkably by Dwight Yoakam). Watch for a cameo appearance from indie/y'allternative musician Vic Chesnutt! Besides being an incredibly important film about the South, it's emotional rollercoaster ride: from Carl (Thornton) and his shocking past, to the awkwardness of his first days away from institutionalization, to the amazing paternal relationship he forges with a neglected boy--the one person who will accept him unconditionally. Heart-wrenching, dark and beautiful.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, Tremendous Acting By Billy Bob Thornton January 1, 2003
Format:DVD
This movie won the Academy Award for best screenplay, and it's very easy to see why it was deserving of the acclaim that it received.
The movie centers around Carl Childers (Billy Bob Thornton), a mentally retarded man who has just been released from a mental hospital after spending most of his life there. He's a convicted murderer who killed his own mother and her lover, but the audience is made to love him from the beginning and feel sympathy for his situation. He befriends a young boy named Frank who is being raised by a single mother who has an abusive boyfriend. The movie centers around the growing friendship between Carl and Frank, and how Carl decides to take matters into his own hands in order to protect Frank and his mother from the abusive boyfriend.
The strength of this movie is in the acting job by Thornton. His character is a cross between Boo Radley from To Kill A Mockingbird (by Harper Lee) and Lenny from Of Mice And Men (by John Steinbeck). While the audience is suspicious of Carl at the beginning of the movie because of his history, we are quickly assured that he is extremely gentle and kind. Also of note is the performance by Dwight Yoakam as the abusive boyfriend. You'll really hate his character, which obviously means that Yoakam did a great acting job.
Overall, this is an excellent movie. It's definitely worth seeing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing movie
This film has an incredible cast and location. The feel is pure southern country. The characters are fully explored. I watch this movie over and over.
Published 3 days ago by Gail Burchett
5.0 out of 5 stars Sling Blade
I watched this movie when it was on video and I was so glad when I found it on DVD this a brilliant movie the actors really bring the story to life. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Veronica Ford
5.0 out of 5 stars Watched about 10-times and would watch it again.
I've watched this movie in the past about 10 or so times and would recommend and watch it again with friends, family. Pretty clean movie besides language, no nudity that I recall. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Caroline Betancourt
1.0 out of 5 stars COULDN'T ENJOY THE MOVIE BECAUSE OF DOWNLOAD ISSUES
Movie is one of my favorite movies of all time and my "comfort' movie but as usual, with Amazon Video, it is impossible to watch a movie I PAID for since it constantly FREEZES... Read more
Published 14 days ago by moviemonster
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies I've seen in a long time!!
This was truly an amazing movie. What an emotional roller coaster!! I loved every minute of it. Billy Bob Thornton and Dwight Yoakum should have received an Oscar for their... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Samantha R. Kuck
2.0 out of 5 stars really goofy movie.
what a snooze-fest! this movie was one of the worst waste of time that I've ever spent watching a movie. save your money. Read more
Published 1 month ago by oklahoma apache
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
This is not one for young children. This movie is one of my favorites and after searching Netflix and FIOS for it, I decided to purchase this copy. Read more
Published 1 month ago by FawnG
5.0 out of 5 stars A great indie film
If you enjoy a good story with memorable characters, this is a film for you. It's an indie film through-and-through and is what great storytelling is all about.
Published 1 month ago by Craig Mooneyham
5.0 out of 5 stars Instant classic
This movie makes a person think a lot. Its been a favorite of mine for a long time. Its a masterpiece that could never be duplicated in my opinion.
Published 1 month ago by jacob matthews
3.0 out of 5 stars Sling Blade
Probably a guy thing. I was not particularly impressed. My thing is drama and suspense and/or a meaty story. Eh!
Published 1 month ago by Cirse
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