Sling Blade

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Sling Blade is a 1996 drama film set in rural Arkansas. It tells the story of a mentally impaired man who is released from a psychiatric hospital where he has lived since killing his mother and her lover when he was 12 years old. He befriends a young boy, begins a friendship with the boy's mother and eventually confronts the mother's abusive boyfriend, as well as his own dark past.

Written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton.
A simple man. A difficult choice.taglines

Karl Childers[edit]

  • Some folks call it a Sling-blade, I call it a Kaiser Blade. Mmm hmm.
  • I guess I am going to have to get used to lookin at perty people, and perty people going to have to get used to lookin at me.
  • [to Vaughn] I don't reckon you have to go with women to be a good daddy to a boy. You been real square-dealin' with me. The Bible says two men ought not lay together. But I don't reckon the Good Lord would send anybody like you to Hades. That Frank, he lives inside of his own heart. That's an awful big place to live in. You take good care of that boy.
  • I like them French fried potaters.
  • There were these two fellars standin' on a bridge, a-goin' to the bathroom. One fellar said, "The water's cold" and the other fellar said, "The water's deep". I believe one fella come from Arkansas. Get it?
  • I don't think anything bad ought to happen to children. I think the bad stuff should be saved up for the people who's grown up. That's the way I see it.
  • [on the phone] Yes, ma'am. I've killed Doyle Hargraves with a lawnmower blade. Yes, ma'am, I'm right sure of it. I hit him two good whacks in the head with it. That second one just plum near cut his head in two... It's a lil' ol' white house on the corner of Vine Street and some other street. There's a pick-up truck out front that says "Doyle Hargraves Construction" on it. Doyle said besides sending the police, you might wanna send an ambulance or a "hearst". I'll be sitting here, waiting on ye.

Doyle Hargraves[edit]

  • Not that you two afflicted sumbitches know anything about this, but you're sitting in a crew cab dualie pickup. In some circles, this is considered a piece of automotive art.


Doyle: Was you in the nut house for hackin' somebody up with a hatchet?
Karl: I never used no hatchet that I remember. Mmm hmm.
Doyle: So you're just crazy in a retard kind of way, huh? Wouldn't matter to me if you did do violence on someone. I ain't scared of shit. You're just a humped-over retard, seems to me. I'm just kiddin'. Welcome to our humble home, Buddy.

Doyle: Hey is this the kind of retard that drools and rubs shit in his hair and all that, 'cause I'm gonna have a hard time eatin' 'round that kind of thing now. Just like I am with antique furniture and midgets. You know that, I can't so much as drink a damn glass of water around a midget or a piece of antique furniture.
Linda: Doyle, you're awful. You shouldn't be that way.
Doyle: I ain't saying it's right, I'm just telling the damn truth. He'll make me sick. I know it.

Marsha Dwiggins: Will you ever kill anyone again, Karl?
Karl: I don't reckon I got no reason to kill nobody. Mmm.

Frank: You ever have any brothers or sisters growing up?
Karl: I had one there for a little while. But, uh, it didn't get old enough for me to play with it.
Frank: Why not? It die?
Karl: Yes, Sir.
Frank: Why?
Karl: It got born too early. My mother and father made it come out too early some how or other.
Frank: So it died when it came out?
Karl: My daddy came out to the shed and got me. He said, "Here, take this and throw it away", and he handed me a towel with something or another in it. Well I started for that barrel and I opened up the towel 'cause there was a noise. Something a-moving around in there. The towel was all bloody-like all around it there. It was a lil' ol' baby not no bigger than a squirrel.
Frank: A girl or a boy?
Karl: It was a little ol' boy.
Frank: You threw it in the trash barrel?
Karl: Well that didn't seem right to me, so I went in the shed and got me a shoe box and emptied out all the washers and nuts and screws and whatnot that were in it and I takened the little fellar and put him inside the box and buried him right there in a corner of the yard. That seemed more proper to me, I reckon.
Frank: Was it still alive when you buried it?
Karl: I heared it a-cryin' through that box.
Frank: That don't seem right. Seems like you would have kept him and taken care of him if he was your brother.
Karl: I wasn't but 6 or 8. I don't reckon I knew what to do. I didn't know how to care for no baby. My mother and father didn't want him and they learned me to do what they told me. These days I reckon it's better to give him back to the Good Lord anyhow.

Frank: Ever think of killing yourself on purpose like my daddy done?
Karl: I studied about it. The Bible says you ought not to. It says if you do that, you go off to Hades. Some folks call it Hell, I call it Hades.

Frank Childers: [in prison] I told you I ain't got no boy, now why don't you get on outta here and let me be. You ain't no kin to me.
Karl: [after a pause] I learned to read some. I read the Bible quite a bit. I can't understand all of it, but I reckon I understand a good deal of it. Them stories you and Mama told me ain't in there. You ought not done that to your boy. I studied on killing you. Studied on it quite a bit. But I reckon there ain't no need for it if all you're gonna do is sit there in that chair. You'll be dead soon enough and the world 'll be shut of ya. You ought not killed my little brother, he should've had a chance to grow up. He woulda had fun some time.

Doyle: What'cha doin' with that lawn mower blade Karl?
Karl: I aim to kill you with it.

Karl: Just 'cause I ain't gonna be around no more, maybe, don't mean that I don't care for you.
Frank: I care 'bout you too, but you'll be around. Don't say that.
Karl: Doesn't matter where I was to be. We'll always be friends. You and me made friends right off the bat. Don't nobody ever change that. I kindly want to put my arm around you, then I'm gonna get up out of here and leave. [Puts his arm around Frank] I love you, boy.


  • A simple man. A difficult choice.
  • Sometimes a hero comes from the most unlikely place.


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