Crazy in Alabama

Crazy in Alabama
Directed by Antonio Banderas
Produced by Debra Hill
Written by Mark Childress
Starring Melanie Griffith
David Morse
Lucas Black
Cathy Moriarty
Meat Loaf
Rod Steiger
Richard Schiff
John Beasley
Music by Mark Snow
Cinematography Julio Macat
Edited by Robert C. Jones
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • October 22, 1999 (1999-10-22)
Running time
111 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $2,005,840

Crazy in Alabama is a 1999 comedy-drama film directed by Antonio Banderas, written by Mark Childress (based on his own 1993 novel of the same name), and starring Melanie Griffith as an abused wife who heads to California to become a movie star while her nephew back in Alabama has to deal with a racially motivated murder involving a corrupt sheriff. The movie was filmed primarily in and around Houma, Louisiana with locations in Schriever, Chackbay, and New Orleans, Louisiana as well as Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Plot summary

Peter Joseph "Peejoe" Bullis (Lucas Black) lives in a small town in Alabama in 1965, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. He becomes involved with a group of black students protesting the town's racially segregated municipal swimming pool, leading to a protest that explodes into deadly violence. A young black boy, Taylor Jackson, is killed by the town sheriff (Meat Loaf). Peejoe, the only witness, is pressured by the sheriff to keep it quiet. However, Peejoe has learned from the example of his free-spirited Aunt Lucille Vinson (Melanie Griffith), who has killed her abusive husband and is headed for Hollywood, where she is convinced that television stardom awaits her.

Lucille takes her husband's head everywhere she goes in a black hat box[1] and looks forward to Hollywood promises. When the head is discovered by the hostess of a party, Lucille tries to get rid of the head by throwing it off the Golden Gate Bridge. Two policemen, thinking she is about to jump over herself, open the hat box and discover the head inside. She is arrested and escorted back to Alabama for her trial, where she is given a warm welcome by her town.

After being convicted of first-degree murder, Lucille is sentenced to twenty years in prison. However, the sentence is suspended, and she is put on a five-year probation with the condition that she seek psychiatric help. Lucille, her children, and all her friends joyfully exit the courtroom while the sheriff (through Peejoe's testimony) is put under arrest for Taylor's murder.


Actor Role
Melanie Griffith Lucille Vinson
David Morse Dove Bullis
Lucas Black Peter Joseph Bullis
David Speck Wiley Bullis
Cathy Moriarty Earlene Bullis
Meat Loaf Sheriff John Doggett
Rod Steiger Judge Louis Mead
Richard Schiff Norman
John Beasley Nehemiah Jackson
Robert Wagner Harry Hall
Noah Emmerich Sheriff Raymond
Sandra Seacat Meemaw
Paul Ben-Victor D.A. Mackie
Brad Beyer Jack
Fannie Flagg Sally
Elizabeth Perkins Joan Blake
Linda Hart Madelyn
Paul Mazursky Walter Schwegmann
Holmes Osborne Attorney Larry Russell
Tony Amendola Casino Boss
Randal Kleiser Bob
Dakota Johnson Sondra


Crazy in Alabama received mixed though primarily poor reviews from critics, scoring a 30% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 56 reviews,[2] as well as a score of 46 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 27 reviews.[3] Melanie Griffith earned a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress for her performance in the film but lost out to Heather Donahue for The Blair Witch Project.[4] However, her performance in this film and Another Day in Paradise earned her the Sant Jordi Award for Best Foreign Actress. Lucas Black was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor and YoungStar Award for Best Young Actor/Performance in a Motion Picture Drama. The director, Antonio Banderas, won the 2000 ALMA award for Outstanding Director of a Feature Film,[5] the European Film Award for Outstanding European Achievement in World Cinema, and was nominated for a Golden Lion.


  1. In the novel, the head is kept in a lettuce crisper
  2. "Crazy in Alabama (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  3. "Crazy in Alabama". Metacritic. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  4. "1999 Razzie Nominees and "Winners"". Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  5. Kim, Ellen A (16 April 2000). "2000 ALMA Awards". Retrieved 1 December 2012.

External links

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