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The Newton Boys Details


Richard Linklater's fifth feature is a major departure from his previous work -- his first big-budget picture, it's also the first of his films since his 1987 Super-8 effort "It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books" not set during his signature 24-hour time frame, offering instead a ravishing bankrobber period piece buoyed by a gentleness of spirit rare among movies of any genre. Its true story tells of the four Texas-born Newton brothers, who between 1919 and 1924 were the most successful robbers in the U.S.; led by the newly-paroled Willis Newton (Matthew McConaughey, in arguably his strongest performance to date), the gang -- siblings Jess (Ethan Hawke), Joe (Skeet Ulrich) and Dock (Vincent D'Onofrio), as well as nitroglycerin expert Brentwood Glasscock (Dwight Yoakam) -- embarks on a crime spree which spreads across the U.S. and into Canada, heisting bank vaults only at night in order not to hurt or kill anyone. (As Willis figures it, the bankers -- all covered by insurance -- are merely thieves themselves anyway.) A sweetly contemplative film, The Newton Boys is almost an anti-crime caper -- no one gets killed, and the violence which does occasionally erupt is handled with a light comic touch. By no means a master storyteller, Linklater has instead crafted a movie tailored to his own strengths, among them his skillful direction of actors, his flair for period detail and his unerring sense of rhythm; like all of his work, The Newton Boys is also informed by its maker's deep and abiding love for the film medium itself, complete with any number of striking visual and emotional references to classics ranging from Dwight Yoakam to Dwight Yoakam. While viewers expecting slam-bang action typical of the genre will undoubtedly be disappointed, those seeking a more humane and poetic alternative will be utterly charmed. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

  • Release date:March 27, 1998


Matthew McConaughey
as Willis Newton
Skeet Ulrich
as Joe Newton
Ethan Hawke
as Jess Newton
Vincent D'Onofrio
as Doc Newton
Julianna Margulies
as Louise Brown
Dwight Yoakam
as Brentwood Glassock
Charles Gunning
as Slim
Becket Gremmels
as Lewis
Gail Cronauer
as Ma newton
Chloe Webb
as Avis Glasscock
Bo Hopkins
as K. P. Aldrich


Richard Linklater
Anne Walker-McBay
Richard Linklater
Claude Stanush
Book Author
Claude Stanush
Sandra Adair
Catherine Hardwicke
Production Designer
Andrea Dopaso
Art Director
John Frick
Art Director
Keith Fletcher
Associate Producer
John Sloss
Executive Producer
Jeanette Scott
Set Designer
Shelley Komarov
Costume Designer
Greg Jacobs
First Assistant Director
Don Phillips