Lone Star


Lone Star

Critics Consensus

Smart and absorbing, Lone Star represents a career high point for writer-director John Sayles -- and '90s independent cinema in general.



Total Count: 47


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,736
User image

Lone Star Photos

Movie Info

A small town Texas sheriff who is living in the shadow of his legendary father prods an investigation no one wants after his father's bones are discovered. Various side-plots and well developed characters line this interesting drama.

Watch it now


Chris Cooper
as Sam Deeds
Joe Morton
as Delmore Payne
Ron Canada
as Otis Payne
Clifton James
as Hollis Pogue
Kris Kristofferson
as Charlie Wade
Miriam Colon
as Mercedes Cruz
Jeff Monahan
as Young Hollis
Gabriel Casseus
as Young Otis
Vanessa Martinez
as Young Pilar
Tay Strathairn
as Young Sam
Eddie Robinson
as Chet Payne
LaTanya Richardson
as Priscilla Worth
Chandra Wilson
as Athena Johnson
Damon Guy
as Shadow
Richard Coca
as Enrique
Tony Frank
as Fenton
Richard A. Jones
as Ben Wetzel
Joe Stevens
as Deputy Travis
Randy Stripling
as Roderick Bledsoe
Beatrice Winde
as Minnie Bledsoe
Tony Amendola
as Chucho Montoya
Gordon Tootoosis
as Wesley Birdsong
Dee Macaluso
as Anglo Mother
Luis Cobo
as Mexican-American Father
Marco Perella
as Anglo Father
Don Phillips
as Principal
Mary Jane R. Hernandez
as Mexican-American Mother
Olga Luna
as Waitress
James Borrego
as Young Chucho
Lisa Suarez
as Marisol
Azalea Mendez
as Young Mercedes
Don Phillips Jr.
as High School Principal
View All

News & Interviews for Lone Star

Critic Reviews for Lone Star

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (10)

  • With old-fashioned craftsmanship, Lone Star is not a movie you'll quickly forget. It may not dazzle you with its flash, but it has more on its mind than all the summer would-be blockbusters put together.

    Feb 26, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • [A] complex and rewarding new Texas murder mystery.

    Mar 22, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A richly textured and thoroughly engrossing drama that ranks with indie filmmaker John Sayles' finest work.

    Mar 26, 2009

    Joe Leydon

    Top Critic
  • Sayles' witty, vividly demotic dialogue knocks even Tarantino for six, the characterisations are uniformly colourful and credible, the soundtrack and the widescreen camerawork exemplary ...

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Sayles' latest never bores during its 21/4-hour unreeling. But neither does it soar, despite finessing a complex flashback narrative set in 1957 and present-day.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4

    Mike Clark

    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • John Sayles' "Lone Star" contains so many riches, it humbles ordinary movies.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lone Star

  • Nov 02, 2011
    A near-masterpiece of the noir genre, detailing the dirty underpinnings of a close-knit town in Texas, specifically a respected sheriff (Chris Cooper) who stumbles upon a long-buried mystery that his late father (Matthew McConaughey, played in flash-backs) might have been involved in. What makes this film so impressive is its assured consistent plotting and character detailing throughout. It is not focused on wowing you for most of it is entirety, instead moreso on telling a story concerning race, loyalty, and family all in one two-hour spread. Then, like a freight train, the locks become unhinged, and the truth becomes clear, and it strikes with resolute force. Cooper's brilliant subtle turn may be the very best of his career, and McConaughey, in the few scenes he is in, also gets to show off his charisma and undeniable on-screen presence. Most impressively, the directing remains controlled and confident throughout its entirely. The only thing you could make a complaint about is that it may run a little too long (135 minutes), but outside of that, this film is dead-on.
    Dan S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 22, 2011
    Far too long for what it is, I just couldn't concentrate on it and couldn't understand what was going on. Not my type of movie.
    Sophie B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2011
    "Lone Star" is a magnificent crime-drama with overtones of noir and western and an underlying theme of racial tension. It is a film that not only proves that John Sayles is a fantastic writer, but a fantastic director and editor as well.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Aug 15, 2011
    I'm on more familiar ground with John Sayles now, so I thought that I'd update my review on his masterpiece, Lone Star. There's a lot to be said about a writer who can hook our attention right away with an opening scene, keep us focused for a good two hours, and then blow our minds at the end. That's what I call a good writer; someone who can not only keep the audience entertained, but interested as well. Lone Star is a magnificent crime-drama with overtones of noir, western, and an underlying theme of racial tension. It is a film that not only proves that John Sayles is a fantastic writer, but also a fantastic director as well. He manages to get such true and realistic performances from his actors. Every sentence or action here speaks volumes. One of the finer points of Lone Star, besides the writing and directing, is the editing. And isn't it weird how John Sayles did all three? The editing is flawless. It's some of the best that I've ever seen, if not the best. The transitions are perfect and smooth, and I just loved how one scene would just flow into another. It managed to make me grin a couple of times. And I know that the whole 'racial drama' thing sort of turns people off when it comes to movies. I couldn't agree more. Face it, who wants to see that? That's boring. But Lone Star presents it in a way that makes it exciting. Movies like Crash are boring. Lone Star blends all of these racial themes with mystery and crime and well, it's just fantastic.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

Lone Star Quotes

News & Features