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A Time to Kill (1996)

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In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his ten-year-old daughter, inciting violent retribution and revenge from the Ku Klux Klan.

Director:

Joel Schumacher

Writers:

John Grisham (novel), Akiva Goldsman (screenplay)
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Popularity
1,804 ( 156)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew McConaughey ... Jake Tyler Brigance
Sandra Bullock ... Ellen Roark
Samuel L. Jackson ... Carl Lee Hailey
Kevin Spacey ... D.A. Rufus Buckley
Oliver Platt ... Harry Rex Vonner
Charles S. Dutton ... Sheriff Ozzie Walls
Brenda Fricker ... Ethel Twitty
Donald Sutherland ... Lucien Wilbanks
Kiefer Sutherland ... Freddie Lee Cobb
Patrick McGoohan ... Judge Omar Noose
Ashley Judd ... Carla Brigance
Tonea Stewart ... Gwen Hailey
RaéVen Kelly ... Tonya Hailey (as RaéVen Larrymore Kelly)
Darrin Mitchell Darrin Mitchell ... Skip Hailey
LaConte McGrew LaConte McGrew ... Slim Hailey
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Storyline

In Canton, Mississippi, 10-year-old Tonya Hailey is viciously brutalized by two white racist rednecks -- James Louis "Pete" Willard and Billy Ray Cobb. Almost immediately after Tonya is found and rushed to a hospital, Pete and Billy Ray are found at a roadside bar, where they had been bragging about what they did to Tonya. Tonya's understandably distraught and enraged father, Carl Lee Hailey, remembers a case from a year ago, when four white men raped an African-American girl in a nearby town, and got acquitted. Carl is determined to not let that happen in this case. While deputy Dwayne Powell Looney is escorting Pete and Billy Ray up a flight of stairs to a court room, Carl emerges from the building's basement with an assault rifle, and he kills Pete and Billy Ray for what they did to Tonya. Carl is later arrested at his house by African-American sheriff Ozzie Walls, and Carl is scheduled to be placed on trial. Despite the efforts of the NAACP and local African-American leaders to ... Written by Todd Baldridge

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A lawyer and his assistant fighting to save a father on trial for murder. A time to question what they believe. A time to doubt what they trust. And no time for mistakes.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and some graphic language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 July 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Time to Kill See more »

Filming Locations:

Canton, Mississippi, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,630,000, 28 July 1996, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$108,766,007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$152,266,007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Bruce Dern was the original choice for the role of Judge Noose, but he had other commitments. See more »

Goofs

Lucien enters the courtroom while Jake is giving his final summation. He stands at the back, disappears, then returns at the end of the summation. See more »

Quotes

Carl Lee Hailey: What that Memphis doctor say about her?
Gwen Hailey: She's doing good. Her jaw is healing. She can't run and jump yet, but it won't be long.
Carl Lee Hailey: How about the other?
Gwen Hailey: There was too much damage. She ain't never gonna have kids.
Carl Lee Hailey: You know, I think about them too boys. Dead, buried, probably starting to rot. And I remember them walking into court... one proud, the other scared. I remember how they fell. One on top of the other, screaming and squirming and not going nowhere. God help me Gwen, but that's the only ...
[...]
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Alternate Versions

The first name of the Jake Brigance character becomes ''Jack'' Brigance in the Italian version. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in American Dad!: Every Which Way But Lose (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Antebellum
Written by Richard Paddison
Performed by Jesse Johnson
Courtesy of Dinosaur Entertainment
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A feeble attempt to justify vigilante justice
24 November 2004 | by EnemyOfTheStateSee all my reviews

I really do not know what offended me more about this overly preachy and entirely predictable tale of southern justice. Was it that the movie tried so dam hard to get us to believe that the Samual L Jackson character was justified in killing the two men accused of raping his daughter? Or was it that the entire movie played out exactly as we could expect it to, up until the anti-climatic ending.

In this movie a black man is charge with killing two white men. We are led to believe that these two men are a couple of trashy, long haired idiots, which of course plays up to the movie's attempt to make us hate them. The suspect also wounds a deputy sheriff, a crime we are not supposed to care that much about.

He is defended by an idealistic but conservative lawyer. And the lawyer is aided by the kind hearted but tough norther liberal Sandra Bullock.

To further enlist our sympathy, the film shows the kin folk of the victims, led by Keifer Sutherland, as being stereotypical, dumb white bigots who go to the KKK for support. The courtroom tension is occasionally broken by a brewing race riot. Inside the courtroom, a opportunistic prosecutor, played by Kevin Spacey shoots the works to try to get poor(???) Samual Jackson to justice.

So where this this well intentioned little movie go wrong? Perhaps, for starters it was to try to vilify the victims.

Wouldn't this film have been better if there was a surprise end? Perhaps it would have been better if we find out that the murdered victims were in fact innocent and another person is found to be the rapist? Well this movie is not about surprises. No, this is no "Life of David Gail".

I remember well a movie called "Revenge for a rape" in which Chuck Connors goes on a rampage after his wife is molested by a group of back woodsmen, only to find the men he killed were innocent of the crime. Maybe a little lesson in humility could be learned in this story as well.

Or worse yet, it was that I could tell from the very beginning what was to happen at the end.

Or still worse, it was that the racially charged morality play hits you over the head with a sledge hammer of self Righteousness.

So what this movies boils down to is a "death wish" in black face as Samual L Jackson takes the law into his own hands.

I myself feel cheated for wasting 2 hours.


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