Mud (DVD)

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Mud (DVD)

Mud is a 2012 American coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. In the film Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland portray a pair of teenagers who encounter the eponymous Mud (Matthew McConaughey), a fugitive hiding on a small island, and agree to help him evade his pursuers. Sam Shepard and Reese Witherspoon also star.

Mud competed for the Palme d Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was also shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013. It opened on April 26, 2013 with a limited release in select theaters, before having a wide release on May 10. Mud performed well at the box office, grossing $32.6 million on a $10 million budget, and received critical acclaim.


Ellis and Neckbone, two teenage boys living in the DeWitt, Arkansas area, find a boat stuck on a small island in the Mississippi River. They meet the occupant, a man named Mud, who claims to have grown up nearby. Mud tells the boys that he needs food. Mud promises that in exchange for their help, they can have the boat after he s gone.

Returning with food, the boys ask Mud why he is hiding out. Mud is waiting for his girlfriend Juniper, whom he describes as beautiful with nightingale tattoos on her hands. They later spot Juniper in town. Ellis falls for a high-school girl named May Pearl.

Ellis learns that his parents are heading for divorce. This threatens their old river houseboat: if no longer used as a residence by the owner, it will be removed by the River Authority. Later, at a roadblock, Ellis finds out Mud is a fugitive but denies having seen him.

Ellis and Neckbone confront Mud over the discovery. Mud explains that he killed a man who had gotten Juniper pregnant and pushed her down a flight of stairs, causing her to lose the child. The boys decide to help Mud in exchange for his pistol.

Mud sends Ellis to Tom Blankenship, an older father figure from his childhood, for help. Tom agrees to come talk to Mud; however, upon learning Mud is in trouble over Juniper again, he refuses to help. Mud gives the boys a note for Juniper. They find her motel room where Carver - the brother of the man Mud killed - is abusing her. Ellis charges at the man but is quickly overpowered. Neckbone and Ellis tell Mud about the man. Mud realizes that the family of the man he killed is here for revenge.

Carver, his father King, and a handful of bounty hunters stake out Juniper s motel. They have paid off officers in local and state police.

Stealing machine parts and an outboard motor from junkyards, the boys help Mud repair the boat. They plan to reunite Juniper with Mud. They relay the plan to Juniper, who agrees to it. However, she instead heads to a bar and flirts with other men. Ellis and Neckbone tell Mud.

Ellis brings a note from Mud to Juniper, telling her it s over between them. Juniper tells Ellis that Mud is a born liar and she s sick of running away with him. Ellis is dejected, not only because he thought he was helping a couple in love, but furthered by May Pearl s rejection of him in front of her friends and not returning his calls.

Ellis confronts Mud and calls him a liar and a coward, and that he turned them into thieves. Running away, Ellis falls into a pit containing cottonmouths and is bitten. Mud jumps in and rescues Ellis. Mud races to get the unconscious Ellis to a clinic on the mainland. Recognizing Mud, one of the hospital employees calls the police, who tip off Carver.

Evading his pursuers, Mud gets back to the island where he and Neckbone get the repaired boat into the water. As they agreed before, Mud gives Neckbone a pistol but without ammunition. Mud wants to say good-bye to Ellis, so Neckbone takes him to the houseboat where he is recovering. While Mud is in Ellis room, Carver and his posse arrive and start shooting. Tom fires from his boat using his old sniper rifle, killing several attackers from across the river. Mud saves Ellis and tries to get away but is shot as he dives into the river. The police arrive and find all the posse members dead. One trooper calls King to tell him that his other son is now dead. The morning after the shootout, Tom disappears.

Ellis s parents separate. He and his mother move to an apartment in town and their houseboat is demolished, while his father gets a new job far away. He tells Ellis to take care of his mother as he departs, showing a more mature & changed attitude toward their situation. Before he leaves, he tells Ellis, I love you to which Ellis replies, I love you too. Ellis sees some attractive older teenage girls in his new neighborhood and smiles. He is uncertain of Mud s fate, but still believes he was protecting Juniper.

Mud is revealed to be alive and recovering on the repaired boat driven by Tom. Many days have passed, and the film ends with them looking ahead at the mouth of the Mississippi River, and south of that, the Gulf of Mexico.


  • Matthew McConaughey as Mud
  • Reese Witherspoon as Juniper
  • Tye Sheridan as Ellis
  • Jacob Lofland as Neckbone
  • Sam Shepard as Tom Blankenship
  • Ray McKinnon as Senior
  • Sarah Paulson as Mary Lee
  • Michael Shannon as Galen
  • Joe Don Baker as King
  • Paul Sparks as Carver
  • Bonnie Sturdivant as May Pearl
  • Stuart Greer as Miller


Jeff Nichols wrote and directed Mud, which was fully financed by Everest Entertainment and produced by Everest and FilmNation Entertainment. Nichols came up with the concept for the film in the 1990s. While still a student, Nichols began developing the story, inspired by Mark Twain s works, including the 1876 novel Tom Sawyer. He also sought to reflect the theme of love: I wanted to capture a point in my life in high school when I had crushes on girls and it totally broke my heart and it was devastating. I wanted to try and bottle that excitement and that pain and that intensity of being in love and being a teenager.

Nichols always had McConaughey in mind, after seeing him in Lone Star (1996). In May 2011, Chris Pine was first in talks for the lead role. McConaughey was cast as Mud the following August and was joined by Reese Witherspoon. Witherspoon was at the same agency as Nichols, so he was able to approach her for the role of Juniper.

For the local boys of a small Delta town, Nichols cast boys who could already pilot boats and ride dirt bikes, instead of ones who would have to be taught on set. For the teenage role of Neckbone, over 2,000 boys auditioned, and 15-year-old Jacob Lofland from Yell County, Arkansas, was cast.

Nichols started shooting Mud in his home state of Arkansas on September 26, 2011. Filming took eight weeks and concluded on November 19. He filmed in Southeast Arkansas; locations included Dumas (in the Arkansas Delta Lowlands area), De Witt, Lake Village (near the Mississippi River), Crocketts Bluff (on the White River), and Stuttgart. The island in the film was located in the Mississippi River outside the city of Eudora. The cast and crew numbered over 100 people, around half of whom were Arkansas residents. Over 400 locals were also involved as extras. According to the state government s Economic Development Commission, Mud is the largest production ever to be filmed in the state. Nichols said about filming in parts of Southeast Arkansas, These places and people have such a particular accent and culture, and they re quickly getting homogenized. I wanted to capture a snapshot of a place that probably won t be there forever.

Mud s cinematographer Adam Stone used a Steadicam for filming. Stone, who was also cinematographer for Nichols s previous films Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, said, If you look at Shotgun Stories, the camera is fairly moored. With Take Shelter, we had a lot more dolly work. In Mud, the camera never really sits still. The locations were either super-remote or really small and cramped, so the Steadicam was the only thing that could get in there. The film was shot on Kodak VISION3 35mm film stocks in the anamorphic format with Panavision G-Series lenses.


Mud premiered on May 26, 2012, at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, where it had a competition slot for the festival s prizes including the Palme d Or. Reuters reported that the film warm applause at a press screening . Variety s film critics Justin Chang and Peter Debruge considered Mud one of their favorites of the film festival. Debruge said the film was reminiscent of the novel Huckleberry Finn: It so elegantly addresses what masculinity and family really mean in the heartland. He said the Mississippi River in Mud was a mythic backdrop... in which old values struggle against stronger modern forces in the world .

British film critic Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film three out of five stars, stating that Mud is an engaging and good-looking picture with two bright leading performances .

After its Cannes premiere, no distributor immediately purchased rights to release the film in the United States. By August 2012, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions acquired rights to distribute Mud in the United States. In January 2013, Mud screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and the Austin American-Statesman reported, His modern take on Mark Twain played to an enthusiastic sold-out crowd of more than 500 people.


Box office

The film opened in a limited release on April 26, 2013, in 363 theaters and grossed $2,215,891 with an average of $6,104 per theater and ranking #11 at the box office. The film then expanding on May 10, 2013, and grossed $2,538,599, with an average of $2,980 per theater, ranking number eight at the box office. The film ended up earning $21,590,086 in North America and $11,023,087 in other markets for a worldwide total of $32,613,173, against a $10 million budget.

Critical response

Mud received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 98% based on 171 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The site s critical consensus reads, Bolstered by a strong performance from Matthew McConaughey in the title role, Mud offers an engaging Southern drama that manages to stay sweet and heartwarming without being sappy. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 76 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews .

David Denby, writing in The New Yorker, praised the director: Nichols has developed a talent for intimacy and for continuous tension—he could be developing into one of the great movie storytellers... plays with a depth and psychological acuteness almost never found in our movies anymore. Quoting The Wrap s report that the film played very strongly in the South, Godfrey Cheshire writes that he was not surprised: Mud is the best Southern film I ve seen in ages. Singling out McConaughey s performance, The Village Voice described it as the latest in McConaughey s campaign for reconsideration as a great American actor .


Mud has received numerous awards and nominations. It received the Robert Altman Award at the 29th Independent Spirit Awards for its film director, casting director, and ensemble cast. The Independent Spirit Awards also nominated Jeff Nichols for Best Director.

Tye Sheridan was nominated for the Critics Choice Award for Best Young Actor/Actress. The film received the Grand Prix from the Belgian Film Critics Association.

Mud was named one of the Top Ten Independent Films of 2013 by the National Board of Review.




Aaron Ryder, Lionsgate, Lisa Maria Falcone, Sarah Green



Published Date


Age Group


Rating MPA


Recording Studio






Amazon ASIN











2h 10min


Awards, 15 wins & 39 nominations


Jeff Nichols


Jeff Nichols


Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland

Produced by

Glen Basner, Lisa Maria Falcone, Michael Flynn, Dan Glass, Sarah Green, Tom Heller, Morgan Pollitt, Aaron Ryder, Gareth Smith

Music by

David Wingo

Cinematography by

Adam Stone

Film Editing by

Julie Monroe

Casting By

Francine Maisler

Production Design by

Richard A. Wright

Art Direction by

Elliott Glick

Set Decoration by

Beauchamp Fontaine

Costume Design by

Kari Perkins

Makeup Department

Carla Brenholtz, Robin Fredriksz, Aurelio Guzman, Jamie Hess, Alexis LaCentra, Michael Shawn McCracken, Matthew W. Mungle, Kelly Nelson, Tina Roesler Kerwin, Alissa Shores, Lona Vigi, Clinton Wayne, Melanie Young, Lloyd Matthews

Production Management

Michael Flynn, Sarah Green, Nancy Kirhoffer, Christopher H. Warner

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Cas Donovan, Hope Garrison, Phil Hardage

Art Department

Jason Babin, Rick Bernos, Cara Blome, Mike Boswell, Adrian Bozeman, Leo Brown, Mike Caldwell, Lizzy Faulkner Chandler, Daniel Coe, Mitchell Crisp, Larry L. Dean Jr., Gavin Deloach, Henson Flye, Doug Green, Colleen Haley, Thaddys Hearington, William Johnson Jr., Jerod Johnson, Peggy Johnson, Thomas V. Johnson, Kristin Mann, Matthew Martin, Mark Moore, Scott A. Reeder, Hannah May Roark, Joey Santoro, John Eric Seay, David Sessum III, David Sessum Jr., Jonathan Shaffer, Debbie Smith, James Smith, William Vestal, Richard Blake Wester, Jason Wilson, Russell Wilson, Karen Young, Miranda Sink

Sound Department

Marco Alicea, Ethan Andrus, Jeremy Bowker, Jo Caron, Dwight Chalmers, John Countryman, Jenna Dalla Riva, Coya Elliott, Brad Engleking, Will Files, Lyman Hardy, Jack Heeren, Marie-Christine Hébert, Goro Koyama, Michael Levine, Andy Malcolm, Simon Meilleur, Stephen Muir, Brandon Proctor, Clint Smith, Tom Sturgis, John Torrijos, Tony Villaflor, Stephane Werner, Don White, Shayna Brown, Jean-Michel Béranger, Dwight Chalmers, Sandra Fox, Kaspar Hugentobler, Edgar Meza

Special Effects by

Everett Byrom III, Craig Byrom, Steve Frusher, Russell Hardy, James W. McCormick, Bob Trevino

Visual Effects by

Antony Allen, Brett Angelillis, Lersak Bunupuradah, Zach Christian, Patrick Clancey, Juan Colon, Loraine Cooper, Sean Danischevsky, Tom Daws, Gus Duron, Amy Garback, Zafar Janjua, David Lo, Benjamin Mattern, Julia Neighly, Paula Olszowska, Andrew Pinson, Giorgia Pulvirenti, Jason Schugardt, Lauren van Houten, Anastasia Von Rahl, Jenny Wan, Matthew T. Wilson, Fabio Zapata, Chad E. Collier, Janice Barlow Collier, Rachel Faith Hanson, Doug Spilatro, Melody Woodford


Richard L. Blackwell, Jeff Chumas, Mickey Giacomazzi, Randy Hall, James M. Halty, Alex Krimm, Matthew H. O'Connor, David Reinhart, Daniel Stevens, Danny Wynands, Balint Pinczehelyi

Camera and Electrical Department

Tom Alexander, Paul Atkins, Brent Bailey, Jim Bridges, Dave Calhoun, Dylan Conrad, Joe Datri, John David Devirgiliis, James Domkus, Mike Foodman, Rocky Ford, Austin Fulcher, James Garner, Don Hager, Jordan Hager, Gary Harvill, Scott Howell, Linda Kallerus, Freddie W. Kelly, Steve Koster, Chris Kovalski, Maurice Langford, Matt Manning, James Marks, Stephen McBride, Kenneth Neil Moore, Kevin Mucha, Matthew A. Petrosky, David Regan, Lindsay Rodriguez, Thomas Rogers, Michael Roy, Mike Sabga, Darius Shahmir, Christopher Smitty Smith, Nathan Trucks, Thomas Wostak, Andy Casagrande, Jason Keene, Will Scott

Casting Department

Caleb Bishop, Byron Burch, Sarah Dowling, Diana Guthrie, Yancey Prosser, Sarah Tackett, Ashley Hallford

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Shirley Carlisle, Brenda J. Chambers, Patricia Gorman, S. Aimee Helms, Stephanie Hummel

Editorial Department

Federico Brusilovsky, Richard Chavez, Michael Davenport, Jake King, May Kuckro, T.J. Larson, Mitch Paulson, Robert E. Phillips, Martha Pike, Perri Pivovar, David Rosenblatt, Wilson Smith, Rosalie A. Staley, David Townsend, George Chavez, Bruce Goodman, Stephanie Huettner, Anthony Motta

Location Management

Collin Buchanan, David Fowlkes, Michael Haro, Audrey Lewis, Aimee Weaver

Music Department

Bill Bernstein, Alexis Buffum, Travis Chapman, Kate Craig, Jennifer Jesperson, Steve Lindsey, Louie Lino, Tony Martin, Tim Rakoczy, Nick Smith, Thomas Vicari, Michael Zainer

Script and Continuity Department

Jean-Paul Chreky

Transportation Department

Lagenea Bailey, Dennis Binns, Merton Binns, Michael Borreson, Andrew Bridewell, William Bridewell, Eddie Briggs, Matthew Burding, John C. Chaney, Sam Craytor, Bill Elliott, Ryan Elliott, Monte Emery, Troy Esquibel, Antonio Fletcher, Guy Graves, Gerald Hardy, Pam Hollowell, Rodney Jackson, Ricky Johnson, James Jones, Vicki Jones, Sid Law, Will Livingsston, James Marder, Drew McCord, John McLaughlin, Pete Meda, Steve Peden, John Proctor, Robert Pugh, Eugene Purcell, Ronnie Reeves, Jerry Spencer, Judy Stuckey, Dave Tucker, Gerge Veneble, Debbie Warberry, Dorsey Williamson, Dan O. Wiseman, Jack Prince

Additional Crew

Spencer Audet, Chris Austin, Lander Austin, Richard Baker, Carrie Berg, Debbie Bilski, Randy Bilski, Whitney Bishop, Charles E. Blevins, Steven Bobo, Ray Braemer, Laura Brown, Jason Bryant, Daniel Campbell, Chris Cantrell, Jessica Cervantes, Jody Cessor, Aaron S. Chassells, Alison Cohen, Joe Conway, Chris Cooper, Helen Daniels, Maddie Detloff, Josh DeWesse, Derek DiBiagio, Michael Donigan, Andrew Epstein, Paul Fowler, Megan Fraiser, Cody Gilliam, Tammy Glass, Lauren Griffin, Tate Har, Taylor Hopkim, David Jennis, A.G. Johnson-Wagner, Alex Krimm, Mike Lane, Jenny Lawhorn, Jeb A. Lemos, Melissa Loseby, Gabriella Ludlow, John Lusby, Mike MacDonald, Earl Sean Mahang, Kathryn Malm, Richard K. Matthews, Maximillian McNamara, David Melito, Pat Meyerhoff, Jean-François Montminy, Charlotte Moore, Matthew H. O'Connor, Kristen Otto, John Patterson, Pauline Piechota, Milan Popelka, Eva Porter, Josh Richmond, Tom Roach, Jerry L. Robinson, Johnny Robinson, Matt Salazar, Weiman Seid, Katherine Silva, Franie Taylor, Michael Tomassetti, Justin Trimm, Chang Tseng, Zach Turner, John Wagner, Mark Walford, Noreen Ward, Will White, Glen Yrigoyen, Matthew R. Zboyovski, John Zois, John Arbuckle, Craig Hosking, T.J. Larson, Christian Rodriguez


Elizabeth Avellan, Mike Beebe, James Berry, Fred Black Jr., Fred Black, Gary Boyd, Wayne Caldwell, Everett Cox, Sonny Cox, Christopher Crane, Dan Dillard, George Dunklin, Kim Fontaine, David Gordon Green, Parke Gregg, Gary Hawkins, Leonard Hogg, Alec Jhangiani, Kelly Jones, Roger Land, Billy Lofland, Debra Lofland, Mark McElroy, Gary Morris, Thomas Newman, Joan Nichols, John Nichols, Missy Nichols, Sammye Owen, Harlan Patterson, Rodney Raines, Donald Lee Ruffin, Cread Rush, Rusty Rush, James Shelton, Joe Sheridan, Stephanie Sheridan, Charles Stark, Linda Stark, Jeffrey Taylor




Lionsgate, Everest Entertainment, Brace Cove Productions









ImDb Rating Votes


Metacritic Rating


Short Description

Mud is a 2012 American coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. In the film Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland portray a pair of teenagers who encounter the eponymous Mud (Matthew McConaughey), a fugitive hiding on a small island, and agree to help him evade his pursuers. Sam Shepard and Reese Witherspoon also star.

Mud competed for the Palme d Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was also shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013. It opened on April 26, 2013 with a limited release in select theaters, before having a wide release on May 10. Mud performed well at the box office, grossing $32.6 million on a $10 million budget, and received critical acclaim.

Box Office Budget

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Box Office Opening Weekend USA


Box Office Gross USA


Box Office Cumulative Worldwide Gross



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