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A Time to Kill (1996)

In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, inciting violent retribution and revenge from the Ku Klux Klan.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tonya Hailey (as RaéVen Larrymore Kelly)
Darrin Mitchell ...
Skip Hailey
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 July 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tiempo de matar  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Kiefer Sutherland's second film with Alexandra Kyle. The two previously shared two scenes in the film, Eye for an Eye (1996). See more »

Goofs

When Jake goes to the judge's house to discuss "Change of Venue" before the trial; the shadows on the brick wall behind the judge change 3 times in only two(?) minutes. See more »

Quotes

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: [to Jake] Didn't you defend Billy Ray Cobb a few years back?
Jake Tyler Brigance: What kind of case was it?
Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: Caught him selling dope. Spent time in Parchman. Got out last year.
Jake Tyler Brigance: I think some Memphis lawyer handled that. Why do you ask?
Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: Well, we picked him up for rape. Him and Pete Willard.
Jake Tyler Brigance: Who'd they rape?
Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: You know Carl Lee Hailey?
Jake Tyler Brigance: Sure, I defended his brother Lester.
Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: It was his little girl.
Jake Tyler Brigance: Little Tonya?
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Black River Monster (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Slippin' Through The Oaks
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 very taut racial thriller !
13 August 2010 | by See all my reviews

This one had me sitting on the edge of my seat. The 90s weren't as polite as the late 50s/ early 60s when we were riveted by "To Kill a Mockingbird", a book and film that author John Grisham credits as an influence to this story. Two "Good Ol Boy" racists go on a red-neck spree, disrespecting all things Black...men, women, and children. Their beer guzzling binge culminates in the rape and near murder of a 10 year old black girl. Samuel L Jackson plays her father...and he goes out for revenge, killing the two miscreants and seriously wounding a deputy sheriff in the process. The film there-after revolves around the very basic points : A. Can a Black man receive a fair trial even in the so-called "New South" after killing two white men...even though their crime was and is considered reprehensible by every decent human being? And B: Will the Black man receive competent legal representation and receive justice irrespective of his "vigilante" action which appears to many to be justified? What will be the fallout? Matt McConaughey's performance as the lawyer is slightly reminiscent of Gregory Peck in "Mockingbird". He has a moralistic reverence for the law, and endures the taunts of the townsfolk and his other encumbrances with fortitude. Sandra Bullock is convincing as the law student who wants to chime in and lend a hand for the experience. Don and Keifer Sutherland deliver solid support...the elder being a dis-barred lawyer who is ready with advice, the younger playing a racist Klansman out to get revenge for the two dead rednecks. The atmosphere hinges on the explosive as the racial tension builds, and it is a movie that is worth watching with a message worth pondering and remembering. See the film.


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