A murder trial brings small Mississippi town's racial tensions to the flashpoint. Amidst frenzy an idealistic young attorney mounts a stirring courtroom battle for justice.

  • 2 hr 29 minRHDSD
  • Jul 24, 1996
  • Drama

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Cast & Crew

  • Matthew McConaugheyActor

    American actor and producer Matthew David McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas. His mother, Mary Kathleen (McCabe), is a substitute school teacher originally from New Jersey. His father, James Donald McConaughey, was a Mississippi-born gas station owner who ran an oil pipe supply business. He is of Irish, Scottish, English, German, and Swedish descent. Matthew grew up in Longview, Texas, where he graduated from the local High School (1988). Showing little interest in his father's oil business, which his two brothers later joined, Matthew was longing for a change of scenery, and spent a year in Australia, washing dishes and shoveling chicken manure. Back to the States, he attended the University of Texas in Austin, originally wishing to be a lawyer. But, when he discovered an inspirational Og Mandino book "The Greatest Salesman in the World" before one of his final exams, he suddenly knew he had to change his major from law to film. He began his acting career in 1991, appearing in student films and commercials in Texas and directed short films as Chicano Chariots (1992). Once, in his hotel bar in Austin, he met the casting director and producer Don Phillips, who introduced him to director Richard Linklater for his next project. At first, Linklater thought Matthew was too handsome to play the role of a guy chasing high school girls in his coming-of-age drama Dazed and Confused (1993), but cast him after Matthew grew out his hair and mustache. His character was initially in three scenes but the role grew to more than 300 lines as Linklater encouraged him to do some improvisations. In 1995, he starred in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1995), playing a mad bloodthirsty sadistic killer, opposite Renée Zellweger. Shortly thereafter, moving to L.A., Matthew became a sensation with his performances in two high-profile 1996 films Lone Star (1996), where he portrayed killing suspected sheriff and in the film adaptation of John Grisham's novel A Time to Kill (1996), where he played an idealistic young lawyer opposite Sandra Bullock and Kevin Spacey. The actor was soon being hailed as one of the industry's hottest young leading man inspiring comparisons to actor Paul Newman. His following performances were Robert Zemeckis' Contact (1997) with Jodie Foster (the film was finished just before the death of the great astronomer and popularizer of space science Carl Sagan) and Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997), a fact-based 1839 story about the rebellious African slaves. In 1998, he teamed again with Richard Linklater as one of the bank-robbing brothers in The Newton Boys (1998), set in Matthew's birthplace, Uvalde, Texas. During this time, he also wrote, directed and starred in the 20-minute short The Rebel (1998). In 1999, he starred in the comedy Edtv (1999), about the rise of reality television, and in 2000, he headlined Jonathan Mostow's U-571 (2000), portraying officer Lt. Tyler, in a WW II story of the daring mission of American submariners trying to capture the Enigma cipher machine. In the 2000s, he became known for starring in romantic comedies, such as The Wedding Planner (2001), opposite Jennifer Lopez, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), in which he co-starred with Kate Hudson. He played Denton Van Zan, an American warrior and dragons hunter in the futuristic thriller Reign of Fire (2002), where he co-starred with Christian Bale. In 2006, he starred in the romantic comedy Failure to Launch (2006), and later as head coach Jack Lengyel in We Are Marshall (2006), along with Matthew Fox. In 2008, he played treasure hunter Benjamin "Finn" Finnegan in Fool's Gold (2008), again with Kate Hudson. After playing Connor Mead in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009), co-starring with Jennifer Garner, McConaughey took a two year hiatus to open different opportunities in his career. Since 2010, he has moved away from romantic comedies. That change came in 2011, in his first movie after that pause, when he portrayed criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), that operates mostly from the back seat of his Lincoln car. After this performance that was considered one of his best until then, Matthew played other iconic characters as district attorney Danny Buck Davidson in Bernie (2011), the wild private detective "Killer" Joe Cooper in Killer Joe (2011), Mud in Mud (2012), reporter Ward Jensen in The Paperboy (2012), male stripper club owner Dallas in Magic Mike (2012), starring Channing Tatum. McConaughey's career certainly reached it's prime, when he played HIV carrier Ron Woodroof in the biographical drama Dallas Buyers Club (2013), shot in less than a month. For his portrayal of Ron, Matthew won the Best Actor in the 86th Academy Awards, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, among other awards and nominations. The same year, he also appeared in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). In 2014, he starred in HBO's True Detective (2014), as detective Rustin Cohle, whose job is to investigate with his partner Martin Hart, played by Woody Harrelson, a gruesome murder that happened in his little town in Louisiana. The series was highly acclaimed by critics winning 4 of the 7 categories it was nominated at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards; he also won a Critics' Choice Award for the role. Also in 2014, Matthew starred in Christopher Nolan's sci-fi film Interstellar (2014), playing Cooper, a former NASA pilot.
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  • Samuel L. JacksonActor

    Samuel L. Jackson is an American producer and highly prolific actor, having appeared in over 100 films, including Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), Formula 51 (2001), Black Snake Moan (2006), Snakes on a Plane (2006), and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005), as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Samuel Leroy Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., to Elizabeth (Montgomery) and Roy Henry Jackson. He was raised by his mother, a factory worker, and his grandparents. At Morehouse College, Jackson was active in the black student movement. In the seventies, he joined the Negro Ensemble Company (together with Morgan Freeman). In the eighties, he became well-known after three movies made by Spike Lee: Do the Right Thing (1989), Mo' Better Blues (1990) and Jungle Fever (1991). He achieved prominence and critical acclaim in the early 1990s with films such as Patriot Games (1992), Amos & Andrew (1993), True Romance (1993), Jurassic Park (1993), and his collaborations with director Quentin Tarantino, including Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), and later Django Unchained (2012). Going from supporting player to leading man, his performance in Pulp Fiction (1994) gave him an Oscar nomination for his character Jules Winnfield, and he received a Silver Berlin Bear for his part as Ordell Robbi in Jackie Brown (1997). Jackson usually played bad guys and drug addicts before becoming an action hero, co-starring with Bruce Willis in Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) and Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996). With Jackson's permission, his likeness was used for the Ultimate version of the Marvel Comics character, Nick Fury. He later did a cameo as the character in a post-credits scene from Iron Man (2008), and went on to sign a nine-film commitment to reprise this role in future films, including major roles in Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and minor roles in Thor (2011) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). He has also portrayed the character in the second and final episodes of the first season of the TV show, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013). He has provided his voice to several animated films, television series and video games, including the roles of Lucius Best / Frozone in Pixar's film The Incredibles (2004), Mace Windu in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), Afro Samurai in the anime television series Afro Samurai (2007), and Frank Tenpenny in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004).
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  • Sandra BullockActor

    Sandra Annette Bullock was born in Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. Her mother, Helga Bullock (née Helga Mathilde Meyer), was a German opera singer. Her father, John W. Bullock, was an American voice teacher, who was born in Alabama, of German descent. Sandra grew up on the road with her parents and younger sister, chef Gesine Bullock-Prado, and spent much of her childhood in Nuremberg, Germany. She often performed in the children's chorus of whatever production her mother was in. That singing talent later came in handy for her role as an aspiring country singer in The Thing Called Love (1993). Her family moved back to the Washington area when she was adolescent. She later enrolled in East Carolina University in North Carolina, where she studied acting. Shortly afterward she moved to New York to pursue a career on the stage. This led to acting in television programs and then feature films. She gave memorable performances in Demolition Man (1993) and Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993), but did not achieve the stardom that seemed inevitable for her until her work in the smash hit Speed (1994). She now ranks as one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood. For her role in The Blind Side (2009) she won the Oscar, and her blockbusters The Proposal (2009), The Heat (2013) and Gravity (2013) made her a bankable star. With $56,000,000, she was listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records as the highest-paid actress in the world.
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  • Oliver PlattActor

    Oliver Platt was born in Windsor, Ontario, to American parents, Sheila Maynard, a social worker, and Nicholas Platt, a career diplomat. His parents were both from upper-class families, and his maternal great-grandmother, Cynthia Roche, was the sister of Princess Diana's maternal grandfather, Maurice Roche. Platt spent his childhood in Washington, D.C., Asia, and the Middle East. Oliver graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Drama in 1983 from Tufts University. He then trained at Shakespeare & Co. with Kristin Linklater.
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  • Patrick McGoohanActor

  • Kevin SpaceyActor

    Kevin Spacey Fowler, better known by his stage name Kevin Spacey, is an American actor of screen and stage, film director, producer, screenwriter and singer. He began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s before obtaining supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in the early 1990s that culminated in his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the neo-noir crime thriller The Usual Suspects (1995), and an Academy Award for Best Actor for midlife crisis-themed drama American Beauty (1999). His other starring roles have included the comedy-drama film Swimming with Sharks (1994), psychological thriller Seven (1995), the neo-noir crime film L.A. Confidential (1997), the drama Pay It Forward (2000), the science fiction-mystery film K-PAX (2001) In Broadway theatre, Spacey won a Tony Award for his role in Lost in Yonkers. He was the artistic director of the Old Vic theatre in London from 2004 until stepping down in mid-2015. Since 2013, Spacey has played Frank Underwood in the Netflix political drama series House of Cards. His work in House of Cards earned him Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award nominations for Best Actor. As enigmatic as he is talented, Kevin Spacey for years kept the details of his private life closely guarded. As he explained in a 1998 interview with the London Evening Standard, "the less you know about me, the easier it is to convince you that I am that character on screen. It allows an audience to come into a movie theatre and believe I am that person". In October 2017, he ended many years of media speculation about his personal life by confirming that he had enjoyed sexual relations with both men and women but now identified as homosexual. There are, however, certain biographical facts to be had - for starters, Kevin Spacey Fowler was the youngest of three children born to Kathleen Ann (Knutson) and Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, in South Orange, New Jersey. His ancestry includes Swedish (from his maternal grandfather) and English. His mother was a personal secretary, his father a technical writer whose irregular job prospects led the family all over the country. The family eventually settled in southern California, where young Kevin developed into quite a little hellion - after he set his sister's tree house on fire, he was shipped off to the Northridge Military Academy, only to be thrown out a few months later for pinging a classmate on the head with a tire. Spacey then found his way to Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley, where he managed to channel his dramatic tendencies into a successful amateur acting career. In his senior year, he played "Captain von Trapp" opposite classmate Mare Winningham's "Maria" in "The Sound of Music" (the pair later graduated as co-valedictorians). Spacey claims that his interest in acting - and his nearly encyclopedic accumulation of film knowledge - began at an early age, when he would sneak downstairs to watch the late late show on TV. Later, in high school, he and his friends cut class to catch revival films at the NuArt Theater. The adolescent Spacey worked up celebrity impersonations (James Stewart and Johnny Carson were two of his favorites) to try out on the amateur comedy club circuit. He briefly attended Los Angeles Valley College, then left (on the advice of another Chatsworth classmate, Val Kilmer) to join the drama program at Juilliard. After two years of training he was anxious to work, so he quit Juilliard sans diploma and signed up with the New York Shakespeare Festival. His first professional stage appearance was as a messenger in the 1981 production of "Henry VI". Festival head Joseph Papp ushered the young actor out into the "real world" of theater, and the next year Spacey made his Broadway debut in Henrik Ibsen's "Ghosts". He quickly proved himself as an energetic and versatile performer (at one point, he rotated through all the parts in David Rabe's "Hurlyburly"). In 1986, he had the chance to work with his idol and future mentor, Jack Lemmon, on a production of Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night". While his interest soon turned to film, Spacey would remain active in the theater community - in 1991, he won a Tony Award for his turn as "Uncle Louie" in Neil Simon's Broadway hit "Lost in Yonkers" and, in 1999, he returned to the boards for a revival of O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh". Spacey's film career began modestly, with a small part as a subway thief in Heartburn (1986). Deemed more of a "character actor" than a "leading man", he stayed on the periphery in his next few films, but attracted attention for his turn as beady-eyed villain "Mel Profitt" on the TV series Wiseguy (1987). Profitt was the first in a long line of dark, manipulative characters that would eventually make Kevin Spacey a household name: he went on to play a sinister office manager in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), a sadistic Hollywood exec in Swimming with Sharks (1994), and, most famously, creepy, smooth-talking eyewitness Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects (1995). The "Suspects" role earned Spacey an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and catapulted him into the limelight. That same year, he turned in another complex, eerie performance in David Fincher's thriller Se7en (1995) (Spacey refused billing on the film, fearing that it might compromise the ending if audiences were waiting for him to appear). By now, the scripts were pouring in. After appearing in Al Pacino's Looking for Richard (1996), Spacey made his own directorial debut with Albino Alligator (1996), a low-key but well received hostage drama. He then jumped back into acting, winning critical accolades for his turns as flashy detective Jack Vincennes in L.A. Confidential (1997) and genteel, closeted murder suspect Jim Williams in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997). In October 1999, just four days after the dark suburban comedy American Beauty (1999) opened in US theaters, Spacey received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Little did organizers know that his role in Beauty would turn out to be his biggest success yet - as Lester Burnham, a middle-aged corporate cog on the brink of psychological meltdown, he tapped into a funny, savage character that captured audiences' imaginations and earned him a Best Actor Oscar. No longer relegated to offbeat supporting parts, Spacey seems poised to redefine himself as a Hollywood headliner. He says he's finished exploring the dark side - but, given his attraction to complex characters, that mischievous twinkle will never be too far from his eyes. In February 2003 Spacey made a major move back to the theatre. He was appointed Artistic Director of the new company set up to save the famous Old Vic theatre, The Old Vic Theatre Company. Although he did not undertake to stop appearing in movies altogether, he undertook to remain in this leading post for ten years, and to act in as well as to direct plays during that time. His first production, of which he was the director, was the September 2004 British premiere of the play Cloaca by Maria Goos (made into a film, Cloaca (2003)). Spacey made his UK Shakespearean debut in the title role in Richard II in 2005. In 2006 he got movie director Robert Altman to direct for the stage the little-known Arthur Miller play Resurrection Blues, but that was a dismal failure. However Spacey remained optimistic, and insisted that a few mistakes are part of the learning process. He starred thereafter with great success in Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten along with Colm Meaney and Eve Best, and in 2007 that show transferred to Broadway. In February 2008 Spacey put on a revival of the David Mamet 1988 play Speed-the-Plow in which he took one of the three roles, the others being taken by Jeff Goldblum and Laura Michelle Kelly. In 2013, Spacey took on the lead role in an original Netflix series, House of Cards (2013). Based upon a British show of the same name, House of Cards is an American political drama. The show's first season received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination to include Outstanding lead actor in a drama series. In 2017, he played a memorable role as a villain in the action thriller Baby Driver (2017).
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