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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 (515 customer reviews)

Price: $22.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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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 (515 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304765223
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,695 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sling Blade" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Sling Blade [DVD] [1996]

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
155 of 166 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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14 of 14 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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24 of 27 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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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cut Above the Rest June 1, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
We know well the visage of the desolate, decadent, sometimes lascivious Southern landscape from the works of William Faulkner and others. Not unlike Faulkner, Billy Bob Thornton's Sling Blade guides us guiltily toward the region's historical and modern undercurrents of social prejudices, ignored dysfunction, sought acceptance, and resulting violence. The film addresses a universal human condition, however, and not the region.
The title of the film looms over the audience as Thornton urges fondness while successfully negotiating the fine line between our fear of, and affection for Karl Childers (Thornton), a recently released mental patient committed as a child for violently murdering his mother and her boyfriend. Sling Blade is a study in tension with thick suspense built through superior character development resulting in conflicts that escalate into deliberate, almost real-time rhythms.
The story is one of need and moreover of acceptance, as the collection of limping characters, directly or not, seek it, and to some degree, with the help of Karl, attain it. The boy, Frank (Lucas Black), seeks the love of a father figure after the suicide of his own. Linda, the mother (Natalie Canderday), requires the general acceptance of her perceived role as a Southern woman, and subsequently the acceptance from a mate, which is evident in her destructive dependence upon her demonic, red-neck boyfriend, Doyle (Dwight Yoakam). Her own deep need renders her perhaps overly accepting of others, including Karl, whom most mothers wouldn't let within ten feet of there sons. Vaughn (John Ritter), like the others, seeks love, and on an outward scale, struggles with his half-open homosexuality in the small Southern town.
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