Walk the Line

Critics Consensus

Superior acting and authentic crooning capture the emotional subtleties of the legend of Johnny Cash with a freshness that is a pleasure to watch.



Total Count: 209


Audience Score

User Ratings: 545,493
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Movie Info

"Walk the Line" follows the early years in the career of American music legend Johnny Cash. The young Cash sets out on life's journey battered by his brother's accidental death and an abusive father, who blames him for the incident. His rise to fame with such hits as "A Boy Named Sue" and "Ring of Fire" is countered by his struggle with amphetamines, barbiturates and alcohol. His instability, both financial and emotional, leads to the failure of his first marriage. The few comforts of his unhappy youth had come from the radio programs of June Carter, the luminous daughter of country music's first family. When their paths cross, it's her devotion and support that becomes his salvation.


Joaquin Phoenix
as Johnny Cash
Reese Witherspoon
as June Carter
Ginnifer Goodwin
as Vivian Cash
Dallas Roberts
as Sam Phillips
Dan John Miller
as Luther Perkins
Larry Bagby
as Marshall Grant
Shelby Lynne
as Carrie Cash
Tyler Hilton
as Elvis Presley
Hailey Anne Nelson
as Rosanne Cash
Waylon Payne
as Jerry Lee Lewis
Shooter Jennings
as Waylon Jennings
Dan Beene
as Ezra Carter
Danny Beene
as Ezra Carter
Sandra Ellis Lafferty
as Maybelle Carter
Clay Steakley
as W.S. "Fluke" Holland
Johnathan Rice
as Roy Orbison
Johnny Holiday
as Carl Perkins
Ridge Canipe
as Young J.R.
Lucas Till
as Young Jack Cash
Carly Nahon
as Young Reba Cash
Wyatt Entrein
as Tommy Cash (5)
McGhee Monteith
as Reba Cash
Wyatt Entrekin
as Tommy Cash at 5
Kerris Dorsey
as Kathy Cash
Victoria Hester
as Carlene Carter
Deborah Rawlings
as Diner Waitress
Davielle Boyce
as Maid at Door
Glenn Alan Gardner
as Texarkana Stage Manager
Al Gardner
as Texarkana Stage Manager
Danny Vinson
as Texarkana MC
Dave McPhail
as Armory MC
Bob King
as Armory Stage Manager
Natalie Canerday
as Lady in the Aisle
Rhoda Griffis
as Five and Dime Manager
Jeff Bailey
as El Paso Taxi Driver
Ross Harkins
as Record Executive
J.D. Evermore
as F.B.I. Man
Helen Ingebritsen
as Bank Teller
J.W. Williams
as Pill Man
Shane Bowen
as Jr's Agent
Tim Ware
as A & R Man No. 1
Dolan Wilson
as A & R Man No. 2
J. Alan Scott
as Dyess Doctor
J. Allen Scott
as Dyess Doctor
Clare Johnson
as Lissome Girl
Glenda Pannell
as Neighbor Woman
Tracee Miller
as Birdie Perkins
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News & Interviews for Walk the Line

Critic Reviews for Walk the Line

All Critics (209) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (173) | Rotten (36)

  • I advise you catch up with Walk the Line, if only for Ms. Witherspoon's transcendent joyousness as a still-growing legend within a legend.

    Jan 5, 2006 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic
  • Mangold was wisely generous with the amount of musical performance he included in the film, and the later scenes -- showing Cash and Carter as partners -- are so well shot and edited, they defy you to sit still.

    Dec 6, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • If Walk the Line isn't the full story of Johnny Cash, it's at least a crucial corner of it, a way of coaxing a legend down to a human scale, without shrinking that legend away to nothingness.

    Nov 18, 2005
  • Phoenix is terrific in Walk the Line - - the actor's taciturn, brooding persona dovetails beautifully with the role - - but it's his scenes opposite Witherspoon that give the movie its real spark.

    Nov 18, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • A Johnny Cash biopic equally packed with music and frustrated love, Walk the Line goes from compelling to enthralling.

    Nov 18, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Mike Clark

    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • [Director] James Mangold's mostly excellent Walk the Line is designed as a Christian epic.

    Nov 18, 2005 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Walk the Line

  • Jul 31, 2016
    Bolstered by strong work from Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon and Ginnifer Goodwin (in a performance destined to be underrated even if it's not), Walk the Line is a sturdy bio-pic that probes the behavior and distinct singing of Johnny Cash and his topsy-turvy relationship with June Carter. Phoenix and Witherspoon are so great together, they bolster the film's occasional lapses into repetition. While Witherspoon most definitely deserved her Oscar for Best Actress in a vivid and charming performance as Carter (despite her lead role almost being pushed more towards supporting), Joaquin Phoenix also deserved his nomination and if Philip Seymour Hoffman hadn't have been so darn good in "Capote", this would be his award. The music and the performances, mixed in with some intense flares of drama turn this bio-pic into a memorable one. Rating: 81
    Bradley J Super Reviewer
  • May 01, 2016
    'Walk The Line' is a fantastic movie! Joaquin Phoenix really nails Johnny Cash, and Reese Witherspoon is impressive as June. Their passion, his turmoil, and his understanding of the downtrodden all came through. His father humiliating him despite his achievements was memorable. Seeing or hearing about that one always makes me want to listen to his music.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • May 23, 2014
    Joaquin Phoenix does an excellent job in channeling the whole bunch of hurt that was Johnny Cash. Reese Witherspoon also magically becomes June Carter and the chemistry is fantastic. The man in black would approve.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2012
    One of the best biopics!! The life of the legend is retold in the film, I cried a few times cuz it's very well acted, the costumes and the music were superb. The production of the film is also very interesting. An unmissable musical drama.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer

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