Walk the Line is a 2005 American romantic drama film directed by James Mangold and produced by James Keach and Cathy Konrad. The screenplay was written by Gill Dennis and James Mangold based on the books ‘Man in Black: His Own Story in His Own Words and Cash: The Autobiography both written Johnny Cash.
Rated: PG-13 (movie contains some language, thematic material and a depiction of drug dependency)
Run Time: 2h 33min
Release Date: November 18, 2005 (USA)
Genre: Romance, Drama, Music
Director: James Mangold
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Budget: $28 Million
Box Office: $187 Million
Walk the Line stars Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick, Dallas Roberts, Dan John Miller, Larry Bagby, Shelby Lynne, Tyler Hilton, Shooter Jennings, Waylon Payne, Rhoda Griffis and James Keach.
Walk the Line is the autobiographical story of Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) and his rise to fame in the 1950’s. A chronicle of Cash’s life, from his early childhood days growing up on an Arkansas cotton farm where he struggles under the scorn of his father (Robert Patrick) to his rise with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
While growing up in the Great Depression era, Johnny takes an interest in music. Anxious to leave Arkansas, when he was old enough he joined the Air Force and got stationed in Germany. While there, he buys his first guitar in a German music store and starts writing his own music.
After the Air Force, he returns home and proposes to Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin) and they move to Memphis, Tennessee where Johnny works as an unsuccessful door-to-door salesman who so desperately wants to be a musician and practices with his band consisting of Johnny and two mechanics who also play guitar and bass. They get together weekly to practice gospel songs.
While working as a salesman, he was walking when he hears music coming from an alley and he follows it to a small building with the back door open. He peeks in the door and sees Elvis Presley recording a song. The door is quickly shut but in that moment he discovers a man named Sam Phillips (Dallas Rogers) who can help him pursue his dreams.
Phillips agrees to give him and his band a tryout. Stopping them half way through their song, Phillips doesn’t believe the song touches Johnny and encourages him to play a song that would make a difference if he had only one shot at singing a song. He slowly starts playing a song he wrote while in the Air Force and Phillips loves it and they wind up making an entire record.
Soon after, Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two started playing on a short multi-city tour, promoting his songs. This is where he meets the already famous and beautiful June Carter (Reese Witherspoon). Trouble ensues as the tours get longer and his feelings for June get stronger. However, Cash’s volatile lifestyle and drug addiction threatens to keep them apart.
“If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in the gutter dying, and you had time to sing *one* song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up. You tellin’ me that’s the song you’d sing? That same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio all day, about your peace within, and how it’s real, and how you’re gonna shout it? Or… would you sing somethin’ different. Somethin’ real. Somethin’ *you* felt. Cause I’m telling you right now, that’s the kind of song people want to hear. That’s the kind of song that truly saves people. It ain’t got nothin’ to do with believin’ in God, Mr. Cash. It has to do with believin’ in yourself.” – Sam Phillips
“You can’t wear black. It looks like you’re going to a funeral.” – Vivian Cash
“Maybe I am…” – Johnny Cash
“Y’all can’t walk no line!” – June Carter
“Get yourselves a pine box, boys. Nobody follows The Killer!” – Jerry Lee Lewis
Official Movie Trailer
Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash
Reese Witherspoon as June Carter
Ginnifer Goodwin as Vivian Cash
Robert Patrick as Ray Cash
Dallas Robert as Sam Phillips
Dan John Miller as Luther Perkins
Larry Bagby as Marshall Grant
Tyler Hilton as Elvis Presley
Waylon Payne as Jerry Lee Lewis
Shooter Jennings as Waylon Jennings
James Keach as Warden
Rhoda Griffis as Five and Dime Manager