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Sommersby (1993)

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A farmer returns home from the Civil War, but his wife begins to suspect that the man is an impostor.

Director:

Jon Amiel

Writers:

Daniel Vigne (film The Return of Martin Guerre), Jean-Claude Carrière (film The Return of Martin Guerre) | 4 more credits »
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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Gere ... Jack
Jodie Foster ... Laurel
Lanny Flaherty ... Buck
Wendell Wellman ... Travis
Bill Pullman ... Orin
Brett Kelley Brett Kelley ... Little Rob
William Windom ... Reverend Powell
Clarice Taylor ... Esther
Frankie Faison ... Joseph
R. Lee Ermey ... Dick Mead (as Ronald Lee Ermey)
Richard Hamilton ... Doc Evans
Karen Kirschenbauer ... Mrs. Evans
Carter McNeese Carter McNeese ... Storekeeper Wilson
Dean Whitworth Dean Whitworth ... Tom Clemmons
Stan Kelly Stan Kelly ... John Green
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Storyline

Set in the south of the United States just after the Civil War, Laurel Sommersby is just managing to work the farm without her husband Jack, believed killed in the Civil War. By all accounts, Jack Sommersby was not a pleasant man, thus when he returns, Laurel has mixed emotions. It appears that Jack has changed a great deal, leading some people to believe that this is not actually Jack but an impostor. Laurel herself is unsure, but willing to take the man into her home, and perhaps later into her heart... Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She knew his face. His touch. His voice. She knew everything about him... But the truth.

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 February 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Stranger Within See more »

Filming Locations:

Appomattox, Virginia, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,104,624, 7 February 1993

Gross USA:

$50,081,992

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$140,081,992
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (DuArt)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie is one of several fictional adaptations of a true, famous legal case of imposture from sixteenth century France. The case involved a man named Martin Guerre who, having disappeared from his Basque village in 1548, suddenly reappeared eight years later. Despite his slightly changed appearance, he convinced his family, wife, and fellow villagers that he was indeed Martin Guerre; he and his wife had two more children and he sued a paternal uncle for the claim to his father's estate. That uncle became suspicious that this returned Martin Guerre was actually an impostor named Arnaud du Tilh, and he contrived a way to have him tried for imposture. This suspicion was ultimately confirmed when the actual Martin Guerre arrived in court during du Tilh's trial. Arnaud du Tilh was convicted and hanged in September 1560. See more »

Goofs

In 1867 the price for Burley Tobacco was $58 per hundredweight, yet in the movie it was sold for $12. See more »

Quotes

Laurel Sommersby: You are not my husband!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Engaging and well acted, with an intriguing plot twist
12 February 1999 | by Nat-21See all my reviews

"Sommersby" is an intriguing film that keeps the audience barely outside the scenes but close enough to be touched by them. The story, of Jack Sommersby (or so it appears) a changed man after returning to his wife and hometown years after being held captive in the Civil War, was borrowed from the French film "The Return of Martin Guerre." But apparently this one has some new twists.

As we watch this movie, we're not quite sure what to think. The townspeople, his friends, his dog and even his own wife aren't certain this is the man who left for the war. That, and the trial toward the end of the movie, stretches credulity a bit, my minor complaints. But after all, this is the movies, and there is a pretty good story here. A real tear-jerker, for certain.

Jodie Foster and Richard Gere carry this plot well, both putting in what I believe is some of their best work. The direction and cinematography also shine.

In the end, this movie is all about pure love of a man for a woman, in which he literally loves her more than life itself. That may seem a bit hokey, but it's a refreshing and enduring message in an movie age in which a one-night stand passes for a long-term relationship.


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