The Mudge Boy

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The Mudge Boy
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Burke
Produced by Elizabeth W. Alexander
Alison Benson
Randy Ostrow
Screenplay by Michael Burke
Based on Fishbelly White
by Michael Burke
Starring Emile Hirsch
Tom Guiry
Richard Jenkins
Music by Marcelo Zarvos
Cinematography Vanja Cernjul
Edited by Affonso Gonçalves
Distributed by Showtime Networks
Release date
  • January 17, 2003 (2003-01-17) (Sundance)
Running time
94 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $800,000[1]
Box office $62,852[1]

The Mudge Boy is a 2003 American drama film produced by Showtime. It was directed by Michael Burke and based on his 1998 short film Fishbelly White, featured in the compilation Boys Life 5.


Shy, isolated, sexually confused farm boy Duncan Mudge's mother has recently died, leaving him under the supervision of his stern, depressed father Edgar. Duncan seems somehow to have transferred his love for the deceased mother to his favorite chicken, which he takes everywhere, even to bed. He has developed the odd habit of putting the chicken's head in his mouth—to calm the animal, he says. Duncan also likes to dress in his late mother's clothing, much to the distress of his bewildered father. The small, insular band of conformist teens that comprise adolescent social life in Duncan's world initially ostracize him, then allow him in to their circle only reluctantly, and largely for their own amusement. Duncan is beset with a profound sense of grief while trying to reconcile himself to a world in which he is a sexual alien. His crush on a local boy, Perry Foley, ends terribly in a violent altercation where Perry forces himself on Duncan.



On January 17, 2003, The Mudge Boy premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and in 2003 and 2004 it made the rounds at several gay and lesbian and independent film festivals around the United States. The region 1 DVD was released on May 9, 2006.

Critical reception[edit]

The film received generally positive reviews from critics; review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 77% out of 26 professional critics gave the film a positive review.[2] Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun-Times called it "odd and intense, very well acted, and impossible to dismiss."[3] Lisa Rose from The Star-Ledger said about it that "It's not an easy film to watch, but it is a memorable one."[4]


The Mudge Boy was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. It won a Grand Jury Award LA Outfest.


External links[edit]