King of the Hill (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
King of the Hill
King of the Hill 1993 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Produced by
Screenplay by Steven Soderbergh
Based on King of The Hill
by A.E. Hotchner
Music by Cliff Martinez
Cinematography Elliot Davis
Edited by Steven Soderbergh
  • Wildwood Enterprises
  • Bona Fide Productions
Distributed by Gramercy Pictures
Release date
  • August 20, 1993 (1993-08-20)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million
Box office $1.2 million[1]

King of the Hill is a 1993 drama film written and directed by Steven Soderbergh. It is the second he directed from his own screenplay following his 1989 Palme d'Or-winning film Sex, Lies, and Videotape. It too was nominated for the Palme d'Or, at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.[2]


Based on the Depression-era bildungsroman memoir of writer A. E. Hotchner, the film follows the story of a boy struggling to survive on his own in a hotel in St. Louis after his mother is committed to a sanatorium with tuberculosis. His father, a German immigrant and traveling salesman working for the Hamilton Watch Company, is off on long trips from which the boy cannot be certain he will return.



Jesse Bradford, who was 14 at the film's release, plays the protagonist. The supporting cast includes Jeroen Krabbé, Karen Allen, Spalding Gray, Elizabeth McGovern, Katherine Heigl, and Adrien Brody. Lauryn Hill also appears in a small part as an elevator operator, her first screen role.

The music was composed by Cliff Martinez, and includes piano work and cues from classical composer Michael Glenn Williams. Martinez's score is restrained and understated, well suited to the nature of the film. Williams' cue for the graduation scene for solo piano, was notable in that it was the basis for his tone poem for Henry Cowell.


In her review in The New York Times, Janet Maslin says, "The film does a lovely job of juxtaposing the sharp contrasts in Aaron's life, and in marveling at the fact that he survives as buoyantly as he does."[3] In its summary of Soderbergh's films, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "This subtle, affecting, character-driven, coming-of-age story is one of Soderbergh's best and most criminally overlooked films."[4]

The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 97% rating, based on reviews from 31 critics with an average score of 7.9/10, the site's critical consensus reads: " A subtle, affecting, character-driven coming-of-age story, King Of The Hill is one of Steven Soderbergh's best and most criminally overlooked films."[5]


  1. ^ "King of the Hill (1993)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: King of the Hill". Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  3. ^ Janet Maslin (August 20, 1993), King of the Hill; A Boy of the 30's With Grit and Wit, The New York Times 
  4. ^ Steven Soderbergh's best-rated films, The San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2012 
  5. ^ "King Of The Hill". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 

External links[edit]