Jasper, Texas (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

Jasper, Texas (2003)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The time: June 1998. The place: The sleepy town of Jasper, TX. Three young, self-styled white supremists overpower a 49-year-old black man named James Byrd Jr., chain him to the back of their pickup, and literally drag him to death. What follows is a media firestorm, exacerbated by scores of network and cable-TV news services, the grim pronouncements of so-called pundits, and the intrusion upon Jasper of several extremist activists, ranging from members of the Ku Klux Klan to the newly formed Black Panthers. As the frenzy continues, the heretofore peaceful, if somewhat tenuous, relationship between the white and black residents of Jasper is severely strained, with echoes of past racism resounding throughout the area. In the center of the controversy are two decent, hard-working public servants: R.C. Horn, the first black mayor of Jasper, and Billy Rowles, the town's white sheriff. Also profoundly affected by the appalling murder of Byrd are the respective parents of the victim and the killers. Happily, when the dust clears, justice is done (two of the murderers are condemned to death, the third sentenced to life imprisonment), and, instead of being wrenched apart, the black and white communities of Jasper draw closer together than they have ever been. Made for cable TV, this feature-length reenactment stars Louis Gossett Jr. as Horn and Jon Voight as Rowles. Although certain liberties are taken (the actor playing Byrd is clearly much younger than his real-life counterpart and the Black Panthers and KKK are incorrectly shown descending upon Jasper the same day), the film is, by and large, accurate. Better still, there is a minimum of preaching and proselytizing. Previewed at the Philadelphia Film Festival, Jasper, Texas was given its official Showtime network cable premiere on June 8, 2003 -- almost five years to the day after Byrd's death.


Joe Morton
as Walter Diggles
Jon Voight
as Billy Rowles
Emily Yancy
as Stella Byrd
Blu Mankuma
as James Byrd Sr.
Roy Anderson
as James Byrd Jr.
Roy T. Anderson
as James Byrd Jr.
Karen Robinson
as Mary Horn
Michelle Moffatt
as Mamie Horn
Michelle Moffat
as Mamie Horn
Demore Barnes
as Ricky Horn
Ron White
as Guy James Gray
Eugene Clark
as Don Clark
Dvora Kedar
as Rev. Bobby Gaines
Kedar Brown
as Reverend
Jim Millington
as Ron Foshage
William Taylor
as Rev. Lyons
Cherion Drakes
as Claire Byrd
Toby Proctor
as Shawn Berry
Kevin Hanchard
as Thurman Byrd
Victoria Snow
as Nancy Nicholson
Jack Nicholsen
as Mike Lout
Kate Trotter
as Jamie Rowles
Jeff Topping
as Russell Brewer
Aaryn Doyle
as Small Black Girl
Andre Mayers
as Sgt. Carter
Marium Carvell
as Gloria Mays
Travis Davis
as Black Young Man
Deborah Odell
as Woman Reporter
David Eisner
as Mike Bradford
Dave Nichols
as Reporter
Michael Millar
as Charlie Nicholson
Ray Kahnert
as State Police Captain
Gary Hudson
as Sonny Cribbs
Kate Henning
as White Mother
Bill Lake
as Council Member #1
Michael Copeman
as Council Member #2
Martin Doyle
as Mr. Powell
Dean McKenzie
as Mr. Nelson
Eric Peterson
as Old Mr. King
Richard Mills
as Jury Foreman
Charles W. Gray
as Black Citizen
Holly Lewis
as Michelle Chapman
Michael Ferguson
as William Hoover
Leah Renee
as Brandi Eggleson
Chris Marren
as Klan Leger
Ron Payne
as Old Sour Man
Jim Bearden
as Old Sour Man
John Bayliss
as City Manager
J.J. Hewitt
as Young Black Man
Craig Eldridge
as Dr. Brown
View All

Critic Reviews for Jasper, Texas

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (1)

What distinguishes Jasper, Texas is not inside info (we knew all this if we'd read the papers), not suspense (the young killers are arrested early on), and not catharsis (perhaps pity, certainly terror, but no purging). It is performance.

January 29, 2018 | Full Review…

Rowles and Horn are the glue that hold Jasper together and the two fine performances from Voight and Gossett are the central core to the movie as well.

July 1, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Deliberative but powerful.

June 10, 2003 | Full Review…

Believable, well-paced and thought-provoking.

June 5, 2003 | Full Review…

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