Places in the Heart (1984)



Critic Consensus: Places in the Heart is a quiet character piece with grand ambitions that it more than fulfills, thanks to absorbing work from writer-director Robert Benton and a tremendous cast.

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Movie Info

After her husband is killed, Sally Field is forced to take over the debt-ridden Texas family farm herself. She accepts the help of African-American Danny Glover and blind boarder John Malkovich. Despite almost insurmountable odds, Field manages to bring in the cotton crop and to hold her farm together.
PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment


Sally Field
as Edna Spalding
John Malkovich
as Mr. Will
Lindsay Crouse
as Margaret
Ed Harris
as Wayne
Amy Madigan
as Viola
Gennie James
as Possum
Lane Smith
as Derby
Ray Baker
as Spalding
Bert Remsen
as Tee Tot Hightower
Bob Porter
as Stunt Double
Jay Patterson
as W.E. Simmons
Sharon Schaffer
as Stunt Double
Toni Hudson
as Ermine
Jerry Haynes
as Deputy Jack Driscoll
Lou Hancock
as Dispossessed Lady
Norma Young
as Beauty Shop Customer
Bill Thurman
as Lone Star Syrup Boy
Jim Gough
as Lone Star Syrup Boy
Cliff Brunner
as Lone Star Syrup Boy
Arthur Pugh
as Dove Haslip
Matthew Posey
as Eugene
Gregg Brazzel
as KKK Man
Lynn Covey
as KKK Man
J.C. Quinn
as Texas Voice
Randy Fife
as KKK Man
Robert Schenkkan
as Texas Voice
Vernon Grote
as KKK Man
Trey Wilson
as Texas Voice
Ned Dowd
as KKK Man
Paul Nuckles
as KKK Man
Paul Goodwin
as Mr. Cheeves
Connie Grandell
as Mrs. Cheeves
William J. Welch
as Narrator
Shanna Shrum
as Rosalie Lomax
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Places in the Heart

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (5)

Places in the Heart is a loving, reflective homage to his hometown by writer-director Robert Benton.

Full Review… | June 4, 2008
Top Critic

Much is unemphatic, but all of it carries the moving weight of conviction. And it ends on a healing grace-note which passeth all understanding.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

[Benton's] memories provide the material for a wonderful movie, and he has made it, but unfortunately he hasn't stopped at that. He has gone on to include too much.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Out of the memories of his boyhood in Waxahachie, Tex., during the Great Depression, and within the unlikely tradition of the old-fashioned ''mortgage'' melodrama, Robert Benton has made one of the best films in years about growing up American.

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

Robert Benton spends most of this film signaling his intentions to make a noble, stirring piece of dust-bowl Americana on the model of a Ford or Vidor, yet the goods he delivers are wholly synthetic.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Even in a year that included the formidable likes of Amadeus, Stop Making Sense and The Terminator, this was the best picture of 1984.

Full Review… | August 8, 2015
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for Places in the Heart

'Places' is OK, but as much as it is supposed to be an uplifting movie about unlikely survival during the Depression, I found it depressing as in the end, it is only by luck and Moze that Edna survives - and next year, with neither Moze or luck on your side, she will lose the farm anyway.

Red Lats
Red Lats

Super Reviewer

A well polished pieces but sometimes these bits of drippiness weigh heavily on me. Just have to get me in the right mood to like this one more.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Sally Field, Lindsay Crouse, Ed Harris Edna Spalding finds herself alone and broke on a small farm in the midst of the Great Depression when her husband the Sheriff is killed in an accident. A wandering black man, Moses, helps her to plant cotten to try and keep her farm and her kids together. She also takes on a blind border, Mr. Will, who lost his sight in the first World War. She must endure storms and harsh labor to try and make her mortage payment on time. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ One of my favorite Sally Field movie's. She gives a great performance along with a great cast. This movie could probly relate to a lot of people who are trying to make it through hard times, while trying to keep their home and family together. I highly recommend this movie to all.


Super Reviewer

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