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Free State of Jones (2016)

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A disillusioned Confederate army deserter returns to Mississippi and leads a militia of fellow deserters and women in an uprising against the corrupt local Confederate government.


Gary Ross


Gary Ross (screenplay by), Leonard Hartman (story) | 1 more credit »
1,449 ( 444)
3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew McConaughey ... Newton Knight
Gugu Mbatha-Raw ... Rachel
Mahershala Ali ... Moses
Keri Russell ... Serena
Christopher Berry ... Jasper Collins
Sean Bridgers ... Will Sumrall
Jacob Lofland ... Daniel
Thomas Francis Murphy ... Elias Hood
Bill Tangradi ... Lt. Barbour
Brian Lee Franklin ... Davis Knight
Kerry Cahill ... Mary / Yeoman Farmer
Joe Chrest ... James Eakins
Jessica Collins ... Annie
Donald Watkins ... Wilson
Jill Jane Clements ... Aunt Sally


Set during the Civil War, Free State of Jones tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War. Written by STX Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fight for freedom. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brutal battle scenes and disturbing graphic images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site | See more »





Release Date:

24 June 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Free State of Jones See more »

Filming Locations:

Jones County, Mississippi, USA See more »


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,772,000, 26 June 2016

Gross USA:

$20,758,378, 22 July 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was Gary Ross's second film to be shot in the taller 1.85:1 aspect ratio since his debut film Pleasantville (1998). See more »


The sergeant that drops into the trench that Newt and his nephew are hiding in orders everybody to "fix bayonets". Before this order and just in shot, you will see that he has no bayonet fixed then when the scene cuts back to him he does then after another scene switch comes back to him the bayonet is gone again. See more »


Rachel: I don't want my boy to get lynched. Or beat. I want him to go to a school. I don't want him to drop his eyes every time a white man walk by. I don't want him to be a "boy" no more once he turn into a man.
See more »


Referenced in The History of Jones County (2016) See more »


Perfect Charity
by Tim Fain, Caitlin Sullivan,
Composed by Nicholas Britell
© (P) 2016 STX Recordings, LLC., under exclusive license to Sony Music Entertainment
Customer Ratings
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User Reviews

Several great scenes, scattered throughout a meandering (and very depressing) historical fiction tale.
20 July 2016 | by HellmantSee all my reviews

'FREE STATE OF JONES': Three and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

The new Civil War drama flick, starring Matthew McConaughey and directed by Gary Ross (who also helmed 'THE HUNGER GAMES', 'PLEASANTVILLE' and 'SEABISCUIT'). Ross also co-wrote the movie, with first time feature screenwriter Leonard Hartman. The film is loosely based on the life of Newton Knight; who lead a resistance group, of deserters and slaves, against the local Confederate Government (during the Civil War). It also costars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali, Keri Russell and Jacob Lofland (who also costarred with McConaughey in 2012's outstanding 'MUD'). The film received poor reviews from critics, and it also bombed at the Box Office. I found it to be good, but somewhat disappointing as well.

The film is set during the Civil War, and it tells the story of Newton Knight (McConaughey). Knight was a Southern farmer, who deserted the army and fled into the Mississippi swamps (in Jones County). There he befriended several runaway slaves, and later lead a militia (of other deserters and slaves) against the corrupt local government. The movie is a fictional account of his dramatic adventures.

The film has several great scenes, scattered throughout a meandering (and very depressing) historical fiction tale. It's either too long, or the producers cut too much out of the movie; because (either way) the film's pacing is severely off. It does have many exciting action scenes though, some hard-hitting drama, and some inspiring rebellious moments. McConaughey (once again) gives a great performance, and Ross's direction is decent. The script and editing could have used a little more work though.

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