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What's Eating Gilbert Grape Details


Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom's follow-up to the underrated Once Around earned far more attention than its predecessor thanks to the judicious casting of perennial thinking woman's heartthrob Johnny Depp and a certain up-and-coming thespian by the name of Leonardo DiCaprio. A prisoner of his dysfunctional family's broken dreams in tiny Endora, IA, Gilbert (Depp) serves as breadwinner and caretaker for his mother and siblings following his father's suicide and his older brother's defection. Momma (Darlene Cates) is a morbidly obese shut-in who hasn't left the house in seven years; her children include retarded Arnie (DiCaprio), who's about to turn 18 despite a host of negative medical forecasts, and terminally embarrassed Ellen (Mary Kate Schellhardt), who's emerging from an awkward adolescence. When he's not taking care of the difficult but tender Arnie, Gilbert spends his time fixing up the family's tattered farmhouse, working at a failing mom-and-pop grocery store and hanging with local misfits Bobby (Crispin Glover), an overly ambitious junior undertaker, and Tucker (John C. Reilly), a handyman who hankers after a job at the new burger franchise. Into this complicated but essentially unchanging social universe steps Becky (Juliette Lewis), a thoughtful young woman who's been escorting her nomadic grandmother from state to state in a mobile-home caravan. As Becky teaches Gilbert to finally consider his own happiness for a change, she disrupts both his family obligations and his long-running affair with a lonely housewife (Mary Steenburgen). Adapted by Peter Hedges from his own novel of the same name, What's Eating Gilbert Grape was the first and only film role for non-actress Cates, whom the filmmakers discovered on an episode of the Sally Jesse Raphael Show titled "Too Heavy to Leave Their House." ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi

  • Release date:December 17, 1993


Awarded by
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Leonardo DiCaprio New Generation Award 1992 Winner
National Board of Review Leonardo DiCaprio Best Supporting Actor 1993 Winner
National Society of Film Critics Leonardo DiCaprio Best Supporting Actor (Runner-up) 1993 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Leonardo DiCaprio Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1993 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Leonardo DiCaprio Best Supporting Actor 1993 Nominee


Johnny Depp
as Gilbert Grape
Juliette Lewis
as Becky
Mary Steenburgen
as Betty Carver
Leonardo DiCaprio
as Arnie Grape
Darlene Cates
as Momma
Laura Harrington
as Amy Grape
Kevin Tighe
as Mr. Carver
John C. Reilly
as Tucker Van Dyke
Crispin Glover
as Bobby McBurney
Penelope Branning
as Becky's Grandma
Gail Levin
Tim Green
as Mr. Lamson
Susan Loughran
as Mrs. Lamson
Cameron Finley
as Doug Carver
Libby Villari
as Waitress
George Haynes
as Dave
Brady Coleman
as Sheriff Farrel
Libby Villari
as Waitress
George Haynes
as Dave
Susan Loughran
as Mrs. Lamson
Cameron Finley
as Doug Carver
Tim Green
as Mr. Lamson


Lasse Hallström
David Matalon
Bertil Ohlsson
Meir Teper
Peter Hedges
Book Author
Peter Hedges
Sven Nykvist
Andrew Mondshein
Bernt Amadeus Capra
Production Designer
John Myhre
Art Director
Alan C. Blomquist
Executive Producer
Lasse Hallström
Executive Producer
Gretchen Rau
Set Designer
David Brownlow
Sound/Sound Designer
Scott Prescott
Special Effects
David B. Householter
First Assistant Director
Anastas Michos
Camera Operator
Kevin Jewison
Camera Operator
Janet Brady
Gary Price
Jo Edna Boldin
Gail Levin
John Vecchio
Assistant Chief Lighting Technician
Jeff Cronenweth
First Assistant Camera
Sharon Goodin
Production Assistant
Dominick Tavella
Foley Mixer
Katie Cokinos
Assistant Location Manager
David Wahnon
Assistant Sound Editor
Kelley Wood
Production Coordinator
Theresa Dringenberg
Scenic Artist
Michael Kirchberger
Supervising Sound Editor
Elisha Birnbaum
Foley Artist
Scott Conn
Paul Soucek
Sound Effects Editor
Maria Nay
Assistant Set Decorator
Peter Iovino
Still Photographer
Jim McCallie
Toni G
Assistant Makeup
Ross Dreyer
Set Dresser
Jennifer Davidoff
First Assistant Editor
Linda Brachman
Second Assistant Director
Eytan Mirsky
Assistant Sound Editor
Rodd Matsui
Prosthetic Makeup Effects
Kathy Budas
Art Department Coordinator
Chris Reddish
Louis Bertini
Foley Editor
Mike Moad
Dolly Grip
Bitty O'Sullivan-Smith
Dialogue Editor
Brian Vancho
Foley Artist
Diane Weidenkopf
Production Assistant
Brady Dial
Production Assistant
Dianne Dreyer
Script Supervisor
David Brace
Kelly Kernan
Production Assistant
Ron Merriam
Bronni Stein
Casting Assistant
Stuart Stanley
ADR Editor
Tim Lobdell
Jac Rubenstein
Assistant Sound Editor
Geoffrey S. Grimsman
Assistant Art Director
Mitzie Corbin
Set Dresser
Lucas Bielan
Second Assistant Camera
Patty York
Jane McCulley
Supervising ADR Editor
Dwight Carey
Kristine Bulakowski
Assistant ADR Editor
Rusty McClennon
Stunts Coordinator
Elizabeth McNamara
Set Dresser
David Higby
Production Assistant
Deborah Wallach
ADR Editor
Hal Masonberg
Production Assistant
Lee Dichter
Re-Recording Mixer