A Time to Kill

A Time to Kill

When an innocent little African-American girl is raped and beaten by 2 beer-guzzling rednecks, the town of Clanton, Mississippi is shocked. Her father Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) is outraged, decides to take justice into his own hands and kills them in the court house. Now it up to Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) to get Carl Lee off the hook. He has people that help him, (Oliver Platt, Sandra Bullock, Donald Sutherland) but he is up against tough D.A. Rufus Buckley (Kevin Spacey).



Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) takes the law into his own hands after the legal system fails to adequately punish the men who brutally raped and beat his daughter, leaving her for dead. Normally, a distraught father could count on some judicial sympathy in those circumstances. Unfortunately, Carl and his daughter are black, and the assailants are white, and all the events take place in the South. Indeed, so inflammatory is the situation, that the local KKK (led by Kiefer Sutherland) becomes popular again.

When Hailey chooses novice lawyer Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) to handle his defense, it begins to look like a certainty that Carl will hang, and Jake’s career (and perhaps his life) will come to a premature end. Despite the efforts of the NAACP and local black leaders to persuade Carl to choose some of their high-powered legal help, he remains loyal to Jake, who had helped his brother with a legal problem before the story begins. Jake eventually takes this case seriously enough to seek help from his old law-school professor (Donald Sutherland). When death threats force his family to leave town, Jake even accepts the help of pushy young know-it-all lawyer Ellen Roark (Sandra Bullock).

Synopsis written by Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide

Official website
IMDB user rating: 6.9/10
MPAA: Rated R for violence and some graphic language.
Runtime: 149 min

  • Grammy Nomination (Elliot Goldenthal for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television)
  • Golden Globe Nomination (Samuel L. Jackson for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture)
  • MTV Movie Award (Matthew McConaughey for Best Breakthrough Performance)
  • ASCAP Award (Elliot Goldenthal for Top Box Office Films)
  • 2 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards (Sandra Bullock for Favorite Actress – Suspense and Samuel L. Jackson for Favorite Supporting Actor – Suspense)
  • 2 Image Awards (Outstanding Motion Picture and Samuel L. Jackson for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture)

Matthew McConaughey – Jake Brigance
Samuel L. Jackson – Carl Lee Hailey
Sandra Bullock – Ellen Roark
Kevin Spacey – Rufus Buckley
Brenda Fricker – Ethel Twitty
Oliver Platt – Harry Rex Vonner
Joe Seneca – Rev. Isaiah Street
Kurtwood Smith – Stump Sisson
Ashley Judd – Carla Brigance
Nicky Katt – Billy Ray Cobb
Rae’ven Kelly – Tonya Hailey
Terry Loughlin – Jury Foreman, Sisco
Benjamin Mouton – KKK militant
Alexandra Kyle – Hannah
Tim Parati – Winston
Rae’Ven Larrymore-Kelly – Tonya Hailey
Beth Grant – Cora Cobb
Jonathan Hadary – Norman Reinfield
Anthony Heald – Dr. Rodeheaver
Doug Hutchison – Pete Willard
Chris Cooper – Deputy Looney
John Diehl – Tim Nunley
Charles S. Dutton – Sheriff Ozzie Walls
Tonea Stewart – Gwen Hailey
Donald Sutherland – Lucien Wilbanks
Kiefer Sutherland – Freddie Cobb
Graham Timbes – Male Juror
M. Emmet Walsh – Defense Psychologist
Patrick McGoohan – Judge Omar Noose
Mark W. Johnson – Hastings
Andy Stahl – Juror
Byron Jennings – Brent Musgrove
Greg Lauren – Buckley’s Asst.


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