Places in the Heart

1984 PG 1h 52m DVD

Places in the Heart

1984 PG 1h 52m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Sally Field won her second Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Edna Spalding, a young widow living in Depression-era Waxahachie, Texas, who's determined to eke out a hardscrabble existence farming cotton on her land. Danny Glover and John Malkovich give excellent performances as hired hands who try to help Spalding make a go of it. Director Robert Benton also won an Oscar for his bittersweet screenplay.
Sally Field, Lindsay Crouse, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, John Malkovich, Danny Glover, Yankton Hatten, Gennie James, Lane Smith, Terry O'Quinn, Bert Remsen, Ray Baker
Robert Benton
Widescreen 1.85:1, Pan-and-Scan 1.33:1
English, French, Spanish (Neutral), Portuguese, Chinese Simplified, Korean, Thai
English: Dolby Digital Mono, French: Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital Mono, Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono
PG - Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give parental guidance. May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
age 13+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 13+
age 13+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that Places in the Heart is set in Texas during The Great Depression and shows a community dealing with poverty, lack of hope, and racial prejudice. Important messages about family, compassion, and respect for individual differences are effectively delivered. Several dramatic sequences are suspenseful and scary (a shooting, a beating, a turbulent storm); other scenes dealing with the bigotry of the time are highly charged and unsettling (the "N" word is used). Though outcomes are inspirational and prove that human goodness and ingenuity are rewarded, there are sad moments (spoiler alert: a father is killed; a young African-American is lynched; a violent storm threatens a town). A sub-plot concerns an adulterous relationship (some kissing, embracing, no nudity). Characters smoke; wine is used in a religious ceremony.

Sexual Content

Several scenes reveal that a couple is having an extramarital affair. Their romance is prominent subsidiary story; they're seen after sex, embracing, caressing. . A woman is shown in a bath; no nudity.


A sheriff is shot and killed by a young African-American man; his body is seen in various scenes. The young man is shown hanging in revenge. Ku Klux Klansmen beat up a well-liked character. In a tense, suspenseful sequence a violent storm and tornado wreak havoc in a town; children and adults are threatened; a dead body is observed from a distance having been crushed during the disturbance.


Occasional swearing: "hell," "son of a bitch." Multiple racial slurs, including the "N" word used repeatedly.

Social Behavior

Affirms that families comes in all sizes, shapes, and colors; people are bound together for a "common good" with love and mutual respect. Values promoted are: teamwork, forgiveness, compassion, and ethical behavior.



Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Wine is consumed in a religious service. Set in the 1930s, smoking is seen throughout; a young boy smokes, but is caught and punished.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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