The Badge

4.0 3
Director: Robby Henson

Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Ray McKinnon, Tom Bower


A good-old-boy small-town sheriff in a New Orleans parish happens upon a murder case that threatens to end his career in Behind the Badge, the embattled second feature of writer/director Robby Henson (Pharaoh's Army). Billy Bob Thornton stars as Darl, a…  See more details below


A good-old-boy small-town sheriff in a New Orleans parish happens upon a murder case that threatens to end his career in Behind the Badge, the embattled second feature of writer/director Robby Henson (Pharaoh's Army). Billy Bob Thornton stars as Darl, a divorced lawman first spotted sleeping in his truck outside his favorite bar. Darl gets a call about a truck accident, and happily hands out shoes from the ditched tractor-trailer to win over the locals for his re-election. But then the body of a beautiful woman is found in the mud near the wrecked truck. The "woman" turns out to be a transsexual with a .22 slug in her back. Prejudice reigns in the small community, and no one seems to be taking the murder too seriously. Local politicians, including a powerful judge (William Devane), are focused on the upcoming election, and are also angling to build a casino in town, and so they want to keep the sordid murder quiet. The victim's wife, Scarlet (Patricia Arquette), a New Orleans stripper, shows up. Despite Darl's own prejudices, he finds himself attracted to Scarlet, and starts to look into the case. Soon he learns that his investigation and his big mouth have cost him his slot on the ticket. When he presses on, he finds himself jailed on a trumped-up statutory rape charge. Struggling with his own family history of disgrace, Darl considers making a deal with the local bigwigs in order to keep his job. But when he learns that Scarlet is in danger, he's forced into action. Sela Ward and Jena Malone also star. Behind the Badge was heading for theatrical distribution before production company Propaganda Films went bankrupt. The film was unable to find a new distributor and premiered on Starz cable on September 7, 2002.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Writer-director Robby Henson, who made the underseen Civil War drama Pharaoh's Army, captures the contemporary South in his solid second feature, Behind the Badge. Billy Bob Thornton plays Darl, a bigoted small-town Southern sheriff, in a role disconcertingly similar to his role as a bigoted small-town Southern prison guard in Monster's Ball. The similarities between the two films reportedly hurt Behind the Badge's theatrical distribution prospects, and the film ended up premiering on cable. While not as viscerally powerful as Monster's Ball, The Badge has a lot to recommend it. It features strong performances by Thornton and Patricia Arquette, and an exemplary supporting cast including William Devane, Julie Hagerty, Thomas Haden Church, and, bringing life to what could have been a clichéd role as Darl's disgraced, mentally unbalanced father, Tom Bower. Henson, a Kentucky native, does a good job capturing seedy small-town politics and prejudice, and the Southern atmosphere (aided by a bluesy soundtrack featuring Otis Taylor) feels authentic. The Badge is clumsily edited in spots, and a scene of Arquette, in a blue wig, singing in a New Orleans nightclub seems strangely like something lifted out of Blue Velvet. It's pretty obvious early on who the killer is, and Henson ties everything up a little too neatly, but overall The Badge is an absorbing and well-acted drama.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Lions Gate
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Billy Bob Thornton Darl
Ray McKinnon Actor
Tom Bower Actor
Deana Carter Actor
William Devane Actor
John McConnell Actor
Marco St. John Actor
Michael Arata Actor
David Dahlgren Actor
Patricia Arquette Scarlett
Sela Ward DA
Thomas Haden Church Actor
Julie Hagerty Actor
Hill Harper Actor
Jena Malone Actor
Rick Dial Doc
Jerry Leggio Henry

Technical Credits
Robby Henson Director,Screenwriter,Teleplay
Alicia Allain Producer
David Bergeaud Score Composer
Max Biscoe Art Director
Paul Brooks Executive Producer
Danny Dimbort Executive Producer
Randall Emmett Executive Producer
George Furla Executive Producer
Irek Hartowicz Cinematographer
Bruce Heller Producer
Rick Hess Executive Producer
Clark Hunter Production Designer
Pamela Lee Incardona Costumes/Costume Designer
Larry Katz Producer
Avi Lerner Executive Producer
Trevor Macy Executive Producer
John Morrisey Producer
Joey Nittolo Executive Producer
Brian Olivier Executive Producer
Michael Paseornek Executive Producer
Jeff Rice Executive Producer
Norm Waitt Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. On the Run [4:22]
2. Truck Wreck [4:15]
3. Wag A Sac [3:51]
4. No Accident [4:27]
5. Clue [5:39]
6. Protest [3:22]
7. Bus Ticket [5:48]
8. Messy [5:07]
9. Lines Drawn [3:55]
10. Sunglasses [4:16]
11. Tides Turn [3:23]
12. Pathetic [4:26]
13. New Orleans [3:43]
14. Borrowed Shoes [4:52]
15. Questions [4:12]
16. Revelations [4:17]
17. Wake Up [3:34]
18. Perfect Record [5:14]
19. Out of Pocket [4:50]
20. More Trouble [2:38]
21. Parole Violations [4:32]
22. Gas Station [4:45]
23. Not Right [4:19]
24. Credits [3:29]


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The Badge 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a different kind of Billy Bob flick. It's just unusual to see him on the run. Good movie for Billy Bob fans!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very strange film, then again Mr. Thorton doesn't surprise. It is a great allegory on corruption and vice, with inverses on what our usual perception can be. I highly recommend this movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the story to the acting it is all under-par. I would not recommend this movie to anyone.