A History of Violence (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

A History of Violence (2005)



Critic Consensus: A History of Violence raises compelling and thoughtful questions about the nature of violence, while representing a return to form for director David Cronenberg in one of his more uncharacteristic pieces.

Movie Info

Tom Stall is living a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana, but one night their idyllic existence is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner. Sensing danger, he takes action and saves his customers and friends in the self-defense killings of two-sought-after criminals. Heralded as a hero, Tom's life is changed overnight, attracting a national media circus, which forces him into the spotlight. Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a mysterious and threatening man who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who's wronged him in the past. As Tom and his family fight back against this case of mistaken identity and struggle to cope with their changed reality, they are forced to confront their relationships and the divisive issues which surface as a result.more
Rating: R (for strong brutal violence, graphic sexuality, nudity, language and some drug use)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Josh Olson, Josh Olsen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 14, 2006
Box Office: $31.4M
New Line Cinema - Official Site


Viggo Mortensen
as Tom Stall
Maria Bello
as Edie Stall
Ed Harris
as Carl Fogarty
William Hurt
as Richie Cusack
Ashton Holmes
as Jack Stall
Peter MacNeill
as Sheriff Sam Carney
Stephen McHattie
as Leland Jones
Greg Bryk
as William Orser
Sumela Kay
as Judy Danvers
Kyle Schmid
as Bobby Jordan
Heidi Hayes
as Sarah Stall
Aidan Devine
as Charlie Roarke
Bill MacDonald
as Frank Mulligan
Michelle McCree
as Jenny Wyeth
Morgan Kelly
as Bobby's Buddy
Martha Reilly
as Shoe Saleswoman
Jason Barbeck
as Richie's Thug
Bruce Beaton
as Richie's Thug
Neven Pajkic
as Richie's Thug
Brendan Connor
as Local TV Reporter
Nick Antonacci
as Local TV Reporter
John Watson
as Baseball Coach
Don Allison
as TV Broadcaster
Brittany Payer
as Motel Girl
Mitch Boughs
as Kid in Diner
April Mullen
as Kid in Diner
George King
as Hospital Well-Wisher
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A History of Violence

Critic Reviews for A History of Violence

All Critics (207) | Top Critics (44)

The less you know about this movie before seeing it -- and you really should see it -- the better.

Full Review… | April 15, 2013
Associated Press
Top Critic

Cronenberg's direction, mirroring the split in Tom, is alternately measured and frighteningly explosive, and, as always, he gives the movie a nasty underlay of sexual perversity.

Full Review… | April 15, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

This peculiarly predictable picture has been calculated, or miscalculated, to set up certain expectations, fulfill them, and then do the same thing again, thereby giving us a chance to see what's coming and, at least in theory, be shocked.

Full Review… | April 15, 2013
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

A remarkably convincing examination of heroism, hero worship, and the seductive allure of villainy.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

A fascinating exercise in cinematic restraint resulting in a captivating, not to be missed film.

Full Review… | October 4, 2013
Lyles' Movie Files

With A History Of Violence, Cronenberg uses the pulp gangster genre - as opposed to, say, sci-fi horror -- to draw us into a dialogue on our relationship as voyeurs to violence, both real and cinematic.

Full Review… | November 7, 2012
Empire Magazine Australasia

Audience Reviews for A History of Violence


I am pretty let down I'm not going to lie. I love David Cronenberg's films, and waiting so long to view this film, I thought I didn't know what I had been missing, but I don't think I was missing much. Yes, his brilliant style is displayed here once again, but I think following a guy as things just happen with not really much shock value (which is what it was trying to convey), was kind of boring to me. The performances were good, but the supporting cast was just awful. There really wasn't much new to the genre here, and when villains are introduced, things happen that really throw you out of the story. I was very disappointed during this film, and it just did not connect with me. "A History of Violence" is fine for what it is I guess, but it's nothing special, especially coming from Cronenberg, although I admire it.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer


it's good at he beginning, but the movie is ruining the graphic novel. its much better in graphic novel.

UUd Irawan Yudha Ariyanto
UUd Irawan Yudha Ariyanto

Super Reviewer

Two bullies corner a quiet kid in a crowded school corridor and verbally humiliate him, calling him a coward. The quiet kid thereupon beats the living daylights out of the tough kids. So, in one instance, Cronenberg considers our societal relationship with violence: we like to say we deride it but actually but we always stop to watch. Too bad that its only a question of ethics presented and not a complete story, because after asking the question the director never follows through. As its Cronenberg, one does leave thinking: "that was one hell of a question!"

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

A History of Violence Quotes

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– Submitted by rob g (4 years ago)

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