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The Newton Boys (1998)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 5

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 9,805

My Rating

Movie Info

Richard Linklater's fifth feature is a major departure from his previous work -- his first big-budget picture, it's also the first of his films since his 1987 Super-8 effort "It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books" not set during his signature 24-hour time frame, offering instead a ravishing bankrobber period piece buoyed by a gentleness of spirit rare among movies of any genre. Its true story tells of the four Texas-born Newton brothers, who between 1919 and 1924 were the most

May 25, 1999

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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All Critics (51) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (14) | DVD (1)

A handsome production that nicely evokes the 1920s and a likeable cast headed by McConaughey can't compensate for a Western-gangster film that's too diffuse and lacks a discernibel POV to be dramatically engaging.

July 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like the Newtons themselves, the film never goes for the kill.

December 27, 2004 Full Review Source:

Linklater seems to understand the root of McConaughey's appeal stems from his wild side. Casting McConaughey as someone noble and high-minded... is like hiring Madonna to play a housewife.

July 3, 2003 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

There's little nuance in the straightforward, chronological way the tale is told--it's hard to point to a scene that's worth discussing after you've left the theatre.

September 9, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Linklater's genuine regard for his characters and fidelity to his setting are his strongest directorial traits.

March 5, 2002 Full Review Source:

Had this come out three months ago, it would be up for an Oscar for something.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

These are fetching performers, but their built-in energy is about all The Newton Boys has going for it.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

More yawn-inducing than fifty people yawning.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Newton Boys

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke, Gail Cronauer, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jena Karam, Julianna Margulies, Casey McAuliffe, Dwight Yoakam

Director: Richard Linklater

Summary: Four Texan brothers (Vincent D'Onofrio, Ethan Hawke, Matthew McConaughey and Skeet Ulrich) ignite a crime spree in the 1920s, robbing more than 200 banks across the nation -- without ever killing anyone. In a career highlight, the unexpectedly compassionate team pulls off the largest train robbery in U.S. history. Richard Linklater (School of Rock) directs this heist film, based on a true story, that focuses more on characters.

My Thoughts: "I hadn't planned on seeing this film, but the cast of the film changed my mind. Great cast of talented actors. They were really good together in this movie. Also it being based on a true story helped reel me in as well. I really enjoyed the movie. I was surprised by the lack of action, considering the film is based on bank robbing. But then again I enjoyed that they focused more on the character's. Gave you a chance to know them and to care for the character's. Might not be to everyone's liking, but it wasn't a waste of my time and I am glad I watched it."
March 26, 2011

Super Reviewer

I was pleasantly surprised at how good this movie turned out. To be honest, I'd never heard of it until a friend recommended it (based on a very old trailer on IMDb).

It came out during 1998, which saw both "Mask of Zorro" and "Armageddon", so maybe that's one reason for me never hearing about it. I think it was right before Matthew McConnaughey broke onto the scene.

Either way, I just plain enjoyed watching it...They show interviews from a couple of the real Newton Boys as the credits roll, which are pretty good. In particular, the interview on Johnny Carson is pretty funny.

This makes me even more excited for "Public Enemies", another bank-robbery movie...They even have a minor character in here who supposedly goes on to work with John Dillinger, the guy that movie will be focused on.
April 8, 2009

Super Reviewer

A good period movie with a really good cast but the movie starts to drag after a while.
March 25, 2009

Super Reviewer

Between 1919 and 1924, Willis Newton and his three brothers robbed more than 80 banks from Texas to Canada, then capped their career with America's largest train robbery - very interested since Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Unfortunately these four actors aren't given more than a shred of depth between them. Fast-forward to the closing credits footage of actual Newtons who are much more captivating than the fictitious younger selves portrayed here.
August 24, 2008
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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