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Walk the Line (2005)

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A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

Director:

James Mangold

Writers:

Johnny Cash (book), Johnny Cash (book) | 2 more credits »
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1,292 ( 365)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 44 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joaquin Phoenix ... John R. Cash
Reese Witherspoon ... June Carter
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Vivian Cash
Robert Patrick ... Ray Cash
Dallas Roberts ... Sam Phillips
Dan John Miller ... Luther Perkins
Larry Bagby ... Marshall Grant
Shelby Lynne ... Carrie Cash
Tyler Hilton ... Elvis Presley
Waylon Payne ... Jerry Lee Lewis (as Waylon Malloy Payne)
Shooter Jennings ... Waylon Jennings
Sandra Ellis Lafferty ... Maybelle Carter
Dan Beene Dan Beene ... Ezra Carter
Clay Steakley ... W.S. 'Fluke' Holland
Johnny Holiday ... Carl Perkins
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Storyline

While growing up in the Great Depression era, Johnny Cash takes an interest in music and eventually moves out of his Arkansas town to join the air force in Germany. While there, he buys his first guitar and writes his own music, and proposes to Vivian. When they got married, they settled in Tennessee and with a daughter, he supported the family by being a salesman. He discovers a man who can pursue his dreams and ends up getting a record with the boys. Shortly after that, he was on a short tour, promoting his songs, and meets the already famous and beautiful June Carter. Then as they get on the long-term tours with June, the boys, and Jerry Lee Lewis, they have this unspoken relationship that grows. But when June leaves the tour because of his behavior, he was a drug addict. His marriage was also falling apart, and when he sees June years later at an awards show, he forces June to tour with them again, promising June to support her two kids and herself. While the tour goes on, the ... Written by kayleigh

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love is a burning thing.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language, thematic material and depiction of drug dependency | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

18 November 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cash See more »

Filming Locations:

Arkansas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,347,341, 20 November 2005

Gross USA:

$119,519,402

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$186,438,883
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to James Mangold, when Joaquin Phoenix was learning how to sing and play guitar like Johnny Cash, his voice was too high and the band learned how to play Cash's songs in a higher key. Just before filming started, Joaquin's voice dropped closer to John's level, and the band had to re-learn the songs in their original key. See more »

Goofs

The second time that the band is in the Folsom prison, when Johnny is introduced, the guitar player (playing the telecaster) is playing different chords than what is heard. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Warden: M-Mr. Cash? M-Mr. Cash?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, Robert Patrick's name appears to pass through the prison bars, like his T-1000 character did in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released on DVD in its theatrical incarnation. An extended cut, adding about 16 minutes worth of additional footage into the movie, was released later on. The French Blu-Ray version contains the extended cut, while the American version contains the theatrical version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.210 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

She Wears Red Feathers
Written by Bob Merrill
Performed by Guy Mitchell
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Toe-tappingly good fun.
12 October 2006 | by PizzicatoFishCrouchSee all my reviews

Before watching this film, I had my doubts. Johnny Cash is one of my favourite country singers, nay, singers of all time, and I was unsure as whether, as with other mediocre biopics, namely the flashy Ray, could do him enough justice. As it turned out, Johnny gets the film he deserves, and, what's more, Walk the Line got me extremely interested in the work of his wife, June Carter Cash.

Covering 20 years of his life, including Cash's rise into fame and delve into near-self-destruction, James Mangold concentrates on the key things in his life – his music, the drugs, and his all-consuming, untameable love for the very special June Carter Cash. It is as a romance that Walk the Line truly shines. In real life, Johnny and June didn't get together until 20 years since their first meeting, and that they could wait that long for each other, is quite poignant.

Holding the film together are the Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning figures of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, and their chemistry pretty much carries the film. When they're together, they both dazzle, gelling perfectly, whether it's a bout of verbal jesting, they're doing a duet, or just chatting. Phoenix captures the tortured soul of Cash eloquently in one of his finest performances, and one that exudes that dangerous yet enthralling edge of danger present in Cash. His singing voice resembles that of Cash's, yet he never resorts to downright imitation, which only adds to the viewing pleasure.

But the shining star of the film is Reese Witherspoon, as June Carter Cash. She plays the singer-songwriter-country music star that grabbed the attentions of Johnny Cash, but proved a hard win, forcing him to quit his narcotic dependence and violent self-destruction before she'd consider him. Although many have disliked Witherspoon's work her, I simply adore it. She makes June a truly memorable, Crouchesque, person. For the audience, she can be goofy and lovable, but alone, with Johnny, she displays a vulnerable side. Witherspoon here radiates a strong, feminist, yet effortlessly lovable vibe, and every scene she appears in, she steals.

The look and feel of Johnny's time are captured well in the set design and T-Bone Burnett guitar-led score, and the costumes are nothing short of sublime. The dressing of Cash is inspired, but it is June's clothes – floral print, pink, domestic, or snazzy, that, again, steal the show. Each of Reese's costumes captures the mood of her characters.

There's also great fun to be had in the musical numbers. Ring of Fire and Jukebox Blues allow the audience to get their toes tapping, but my favourite number is the performance of Jackson, where their unmatched chemistry is showcased in one of my favourite songs of all-time. Like the film, this song is entertaining, sweet, and more intelligent than frequently given credit for.


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