A History of Violence


A History of Violence

Critics 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.



Reviews Counted: 211

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 279,919


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.4/5

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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.

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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
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News & Interviews for A History of Violence

Critic Reviews for A History of Violence

All Critics (211) | Top Critics (47)

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

    Apr 15, 2013 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 15, 2013

    David Denby

    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.

    Apr 15, 2013 | Full Review…
  • A remarkably convincing examination of heroism, hero worship, and the seductive allure of villainy.

    May 12, 2006
  • There's nothing more off-putting than being treated like a guinea pig.

    Mar 10, 2006 | Full Review…
  • The film, based on a graphic novel, has a crackling sense of visual tension.

    Oct 7, 2005 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A History of Violence


Flat out fantastic movie. Viggo takes this one by the reigns and never lets go. Lots of bloody violence, but the story is compelling and believable enough that you end up tagging along.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer


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. Dammit

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
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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