A Time to Kill (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Time to Kill (1996)



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

A Time to Kill Trailers & Photos

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.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Akiva Goldsman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 22, 1997
Warner Home Video


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 Stre...
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 Whi...
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 W...
Howard Ballou
as Reporter No. 1 with ...
Todd Demers
as Reporter No. 1 with ...
Stephanie Strickland
as Reporter No. 1 with ...
Kim Hendrix
as Reporter No. 2 with ...
Rob Jay
as Reporter No. 3 with ...
Sherri Hilton
as Reporter No. 2 with ...
Steve Coulter
as Klansman
Jackie Stewart
as Fire Chief
Rosebud Dixon-Green
as Woman at Rally
M. Emmet Walsh
as Dr. Willard Tyrell B...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A Time to Kill

Critic Reviews for A Time to Kill

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (14)

A likable -- maybe even lovable -- movie.

Full Review… | June 14, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Although it has its share of implausibilities, A Time To Kill is generally the most satisfying of the John Grisham screen adaptations to date.

Full Review… | October 8, 2008
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.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

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...

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

McConaughey, 26, is dynamite in a performance of smarts, sexiness, scrappy humor and unmistakable star sizzle.

June 6, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Time to Kill


I still believe this is one of the best grisham film adaptaions.

John Manard

Super Reviewer


The book must be also powerfull ,nothing left but to find out ...

Eliza Norton

Super Reviewer

This incredibly enthralling court drama tries to juggle a lot of themes at the same time and yet succeeds. Race issues in the southern US meet the question of taking law into your own hands to punish those who deserve it. The film can rely on a gripping script and a stellar cast. The dialogs, while sometimes not without stereotypes, are spot on most of the time and deliver strong scenes that demand everything from the actors. McConaughey, Jackson and Spacey all deliver. It's probably physically impossible not to be moved one way or another by the events of this film, even if you catch yourself realizing how it is playing you. The result is so well filmed and delivered that it is nothing less than one of the strongest and most exciting court dramas ever put on film.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

A Time to Kill Quotes

Jake Brigance: Now Imagine She's White.
– Submitted by Alex K (2 years ago)
Carl Lee Hailey: Yes They Deserved To Die And I Hope They Burn In Hell!
– Submitted by Alex K (2 years ago)
Jake Brigance: I want to tell you a story. I'm going to ask you all to close your eyes while I tell you the story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves. Go ahead. Close your eyes, please. This is a story about a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl. Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on. First one, then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure with a vicious thrust in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they're done, after they've killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to have children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice. They start throwing full beer cans at her. They throw them so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones. Then they urinate on her. Now comes the hanging. They have a rope. They tie a noose. Imagine the noose going tight around her neck and with a sudden blinding jerk she's pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking. They don't find the ground. The hanging branch isn't strong enough. It snaps and she falls back to the earth. So they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge. Pitch her over the edge. And she drops some thirty feet down to the creek bottom below. Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood, left to die. Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl. Now imagine she's white!
– Submitted by MarieBella C (3 years ago)
Carl Lee Hailey: Yes they deserve to die and I hope they burn in Hell!
– Submitted by Harrison C (4 years ago)

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