A Time to Kill

1996

A Time to Kill

Critics Consensus

Overlong and superficial, A Time to Kill nonetheless succeeds on the strength of its skillful craftsmanship and top-notch performances.

66%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 53

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 95,112
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Movie Info

Carl Lee Hailey takes the law into his own hands after the legal system fails to adequately punish the men who brutally raped and beat his daughter. When Hailey chooses novice lawyer Jake Brigance to handle his defense, it begins to look like a certainty that Carl will hang.

Cast

Matthew McConaughey
as Jake Brigance
Sandra Bullock
as Ellen Roark
Kevin Spacey
as Rufus Buckley
Brenda Fricker
as Ethel Twitty
Oliver Platt
as Harry Rex Vonner
Charles S. Dutton
as Sheriff Ozzie Walls
Ashley Judd
as Carla Brigance
Donald Sutherland
as Lucien Wilbanks
Kiefer Sutherland
as Freddie Cobb
Patrick McGoohan
as Judge Omar Noose
Tonea Stewart
as Gwen Hailey
Darrin Mitchell
as Skip Hailey
LaConte McGrew
as Slim Hailey
Devin Lloyd
as Willie Hailey
John Diehl
as Tim Nunley
Chris Cooper
as Deputy Looney
Nicky Katt
as Billy Ray Cobb
Doug Hutchison
as Pete Willard
Kurtwood Smith
as Stup Sisson
Tim Parati
as Winston
Mark W. Johnson
as Deputy Hastings
Beth Grant
as Cora Cobb
Joe Seneca
as Reverend Isaiah Street
Anthony Heald
as Dr. Rodeheaver
Thomas Merdis
as Reverend Ollie Agee
Alexandra Kyle
as Hannah Brigance
Terry Loughlin
as Jury Foreman
Andy Stahl
as Reluctant Male Juror
Joe Bullen
as Joe Frank Perryman
Lorraine Middleton
as Blonde Woman Juror
Graham Timbes
as Male Juror
Jonathan Hadary
as Norman Reinfield
Benjamin Mouton
as Klan Bomber
Byron Jennings
as Brent Musgrove
Patrick Sutton
as Militant Teenager
Danny Nelson
as Bud Twitty
Mike Pniewski
as Deputy Tatum
Elizabeth Omilami
as Woman Angry at Klan
Lukas Cain
as Looney's Son
Stacy Rae Toyon
as Looney's Wife
Helen E. Floyd
as Waitress at Claude's
David Brian Williams
as Customer at Claude's
Octavia Spencer
as Roark's Nurse
James M. Crumley Jr.
as Guardsman Mackenvale
Jim Ritchie
as Tom Hardy
Perry Ritchie
as Sarah Hardy
Mike McLaren
as Administrator at Whitfield
Timothy F. Monich
as Reverend Fink
Leonard Thomas
as Man in Lumberyard
Brance H. Beamon
as Noose's Butler
Mildred J. Gilbreath
as Noose's Housekeeper
Will Crapps
as Minister
Russell Hambline
as Old Man Bates
Robert Chapman
as Young Fisherman
Tommy McCullough
as Old Fisherman
Bettina Rose
as Buckley's Secretary
Terrance Freeman
as Court Deputy
Alice Julius-Scott
as NAACP Woman
William Truly Jr.
as NAACP Man No. 1
Walter L. Hutchins
as NAACP Man No. 2
Jerry Hunt
as Electrical Company Worker
Howard Ballou
as Reporter No. 1 with Hastings
Todd Demers
as Reporter No. 1 with Jake
Stephanie Strickland
as Reporter No. 1 with Buckley
Kim Hendrix
as Reporter No. 2 with Buckley
Rob Jay
as Reporter No. 3 with Buckley
Sherri Hilton
as Reporter No. 2 with Jake
Steve Coulter
as Klansman
Jackie Stewart
as Fire Chief
Rosebud Dixon-Green
as Woman at Rally
M. Emmet Walsh
as Dr. Willard Tyrell Bass
View All

News & Interviews for A Time to Kill

Critic Reviews for A Time to Kill

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (18)

  • A likable -- maybe even lovable -- movie.

    Jun 14, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Although it has its share of implausibilities, A Time To Kill is generally the most satisfying of the John Grisham screen adaptations to date.

    Oct 8, 2008

    Todd McCarthy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Justice may be blind, but rarely have courtroom dramas presumed quite so heavily on cultural myopia as this heinous version of John Grisham's first novel.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • If the film doesn't add up to a cogent legal argument, neither does it have trouble delivering 2 hours and 20 minutes' worth of sturdy, highly charged drama.

    May 20, 2003
  • Untrained as an actor, with only three minor roles to his credit, McConaughey holds the screen against Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock and Kevin Spacey, and completely justifies the buzz surrounding his role...

    Jun 18, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • McConaughey, 26, is dynamite in a performance of smarts, sexiness, scrappy humor and unmistakable star sizzle.

    Jun 6, 2001

Audience Reviews for A Time to Kill

  • Dec 31, 2011
    Great film but the ending speech is heavy handed
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2011
    The first 20 minutes of Face/Off is the most haunting memory of cinema for me since the end of Se7en. The rest of it is interesting but not as intense. The cast is great, story caught my attention, but the side plots are so uninteresting. Overall, a great movie, with horrible side stories they made really boring.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2011
    A film filled with good actors and performances, "A Time to Kill" touches on racial and socially controversial topics and was quite controversial when released. Overall I think the film is a gripping and suspenseful film that is emotionally resonant and moving, if you so much as have a loving heart that is. The plight of Carl Lee Hailey, played well by Samuel L. Jackson, is one anyone can acknowledge, especially those with children. Even Matthew McConaughey, whom I think is one of the worst actors, turns in a solid performance as the struggling lawyer defending Hailey. The film also has roles filled by Sandra Bullock, Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland, Kevin Spacey and a slew of other character actors who all lend to the story in a positive way. Overall, controversy aside, this is a true drama with great and believable performances from all those involved and one that gets under your skin and makes you think. It also helps that the film has plenty of characters and the script is solid which keeps the film entertaining for it's rather lengthy running time. This is one not to pass up and in my opinion is undervalued!
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2011
    The first 20 minutes of Face/Off is the most haunting memory of cinema for me since the end of Se7en. The rest of it is interesting but not as intense. The cast is great, story caught my attention, but the side plots are so uninteresting. Overall, a great movie, with horrible side stories they made really boring.
    Jim C Super Reviewer

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