Sling Blade

Sling Blade

4.8 16

Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter


View All Available Formats & Editions

Sling Blade marked the directorial debut of country singer turned actor Billy Bob Thornton, who also authored the script (expanding George Hickenlooper's acclaimed short Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade) and stars in the picture. Thornton plays Karl Childers, a mildly retarded man who spent most of his life in a mental institution. When Karl was a boy,…  See more details below


Sling Blade marked the directorial debut of country singer turned actor Billy Bob Thornton, who also authored the script (expanding George Hickenlooper's acclaimed short Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade) and stars in the picture. Thornton plays Karl Childers, a mildly retarded man who spent most of his life in a mental institution. When Karl was a boy, he was severely mistreated by his abusive father (Robert Duvall). At age 12, Karl found his mother having intercourse with a man who tormented him endlessly; he snapped, flew into a homicidal rage, and killed both individuals by decapitating them. Years later, as a middle-aged man, Karl is deemed harmless to society and released from the mental institution where he resides. Karl says he has learned his lesson and adds, "I reckon I got no reason to kill no one." He returns to the town of his boyhood, where he's befriended by Frank (Lucas Black), the son of a widowed mother who sees the eccentric but open-hearted Karl as a kindred spirit. Karl also gets a job at a fix-it shop and resides in the backroom, until Frank's mother, Linda (Natalie Canerday), takes a liking to Karl and lets him stay with them. However, Karl also meets Doyle (Dwight Yoakam), Linda's boyfriend, a sadistically cruel, narrow-minded drunk who tosses casual abuse at Frank, treats Linda like dirt, and mocks Karl endlessly. The late John Ritter co-stars as Linda's friend Vaughan, a mild-mannered homosexual who works at the neighborhood dollar store. Musicians Col. Bruce Hampton and Vic Chesnutt are among Doyle's party guests.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Billy Bob Thornton's Sling Blade is a fascinating, superbly nuanced tale, alternately sweet and disturbing. Thornton's turn as writer, director, and star of the independently made feature established him as a true talent -- he received an Oscar for his screenplay -- but his isn't the only stellar work. The surprise casting of John Ritter as a gay storeowner is no stunt; he gives life and complexity to a character which, in a lesser film, would have been a mere caricature. The real revelation, however, is country & western singer Dwight Yoakam's fascinatingly loathsome domestic abuser Doyle. Yoakam and Thornton refuse to make things easy on us: Doyle possesses a cowardly ambivalence, summed up wonderfully in a scene in which he pathetically slinks away from his girlfriend's crusading son.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Billy Bob Thornton Karl Childers
Dwight Yoakam Doyle Hargraves
J.T. Walsh Charles Bushman
John Ritter Vaughan Cunningham
Lucas Black Frank Wheatley
Natalie Canerday Actor
James Hampton Jerry Woolridge
Robert Duvall Karl's Father
Jim Jarmusch Dairy Queen Boy

Technical Credits
Billy Bob Thornton Director,Screenwriter
David L. Bushell Producer
Barry Cole Musical Direction/Supervision
Douglas Hall Costumes/Costume Designer
W.M. Halle Asst. Director
Clark Hunter Production Designer
Kingshill Group Associate Producer
Traci Kirshbaum Set Decoration/Design
Jeff Kushner Sound/Sound Designer
Daniel Lanois Score Composer,Songwriter
Paul Ledford Sound/Sound Designer
Barry Markowitz Cinematographer
Larry Meistrich Executive Producer
Brandon Rosser Producer
Sarah Tackett Casting
Hughes Winborne Editor

Read More

Scene Index

Mr Thornton Goes To Hollywood; Bravo Profiles: Billy Bob Thornton; A Roundtable Discussion With Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, Mickey Jones and Producer David Bushnell; A Conversation With Robert Duvall; A Conversation With Robert Duvall; A Conversation With Billy Bob Thornton and Composer Daniel Lanois; The Return Of Karl; ; On The Set; ; Billy Bob At Work; Doyle's Band: The Johnsons; Doyle Get Pummeled; "Doyle's Dead" - With Introduction by Billy Bob Thornton; Feature Commentary by Writer/Director/Actor Billy Bob Thornton

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Sling Blade 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even after all of these years, we still recite lines from Karl. Brilliant movie!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For many years, I never thought another movie could top ''To Kill a Mockingbird'' - until now. Each person in this movie deserved an Oscar, especially Billy Bob Thornton. What an experience!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Watching Sling Blade came about as a total accident, an incredibly mesmerizing and exceptionally well scripted accident! Reading the normal reviews on this movie, left me cold and not interested in watching it. Thankfully, I was not aware of the title when I started watching it. An inspiring movie that will stay with the viewer for a long time!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorite movies. It's as excellent as it is off the wall. There are a lot of reasons to like a movie, Sling Blade covers several of them nicely, including humor. This was the first time I had ever heard of Billy Bob, who wrote, directed and starred Sling Blade if I'm not mistaken. The man may go through wives but he's a genious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Billy Bob Thornton, John Ritter and Lucas Black act the hell out of their parts. This movie will cause you to think and talk about it long after it was over. The writing is superb and I honestly think it's one of the best movies I've ever seen!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was flipping through the channels last night and came across this movie on Bravo, not knowing the title or anything about this movie for that matter. Anyway, I was hooked when I caught the scene when Karl was explaining his history to the reporter. Wow! I couldn't change the channel. I want to rent it so I can watch it again. What an awesome movie. Yes, it's on the top of my list with Cuckoo's Nest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Never liked Billy Bob much - and would never have seen this movie because the title sounds violent. By accident, I began watching it on Bravo and became riveted to the screen. I Cried about 4-5 times. Remarkable that one guy wrote, directed and starred in a movie of this caliber. I'm certainly a Billy Bob fan now. This movie is all heart - but not a ''chick flick'', very deep - but not a ''message movie''. As for the violence, there is a refreshing minimization of gore and titilation for its own sake. He must have had some special help when he made this film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Billy Bob Thorton transformed himself beautifly in this movie.He was stunning as the character of Karl.It was almost unbelievable that this was him.The cast was perfect,and the story came together to make a very touching,heartbreaking tale of a very misunderstood mildy retarded man.Hats off to Billy Bob for his acting/directing/writing abilities,he took the cake when he made this movie!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite movies from the 90's and I thought it couldn't get any better. BUT I WAS WRONG. The Director's Cut of this gem is sprinkled throughout with added scenes, some not more than a minute, some a little longer, and ALL add much more character depth to this great film. I was very much impressed. My favorite added scene is with Doyle making a beer run to the County Line with his band in the back of the pickup, a halarious scene of a quintessential redneck. It just doesn't get any better than this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw the original movie. I liked it, but as all too often is done, the director's version is brought out and supercedes the theatrical version. I bought this one and am now busy contacting my family and friends to see it again. I think Billy Bob Thornton is going to become very big in the years ahead if he keep writing and directing his "southern set" stories. BB Thornton is nothing less then a genius.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Billy Bob Thorton's director-screenwriter debut made him a standout in the 90's. Sling Blade is by leaps and bounds the greatest movie of that decade. Thorton played the mildly retarded but still dangerous Karl Childers, a person who is righteous in his simplicity. Not a film that will put you in a good mood, but it does the best job of a movie in describing a simple man's quest for justice, love, and friendship. He should be allowed to get away with murder.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great film! Loved the Directors Cut, especially the conversation w/ BB, Dwight, etc. I'm a HUGE Dwight Yoakam fan, of everything he does. He should have received a supporting actor award for his performance. I bet BB agrees.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a brilliantly directed and acted film by BB Thornton. The Director s Cut Edition is highly recommended. The Commentaries are extremely interesting. BB Thornton is RIGHT ON as Karl.The supporting cast is right there with BB. The use of the setting of Arkansas and the filming is tops.This film would have to be a title on the Top 50 or Top 100 list as years pass.
Willie More than 1 year ago
Billy Bob Thornton has given one of the best performances ever by an actor in this movie. I could watch it over and over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago