DIRECTED, WRITTEN (Screenplay) & PRODUCED BY ETHAN & JOEL COEN
CO-PRODUCED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG
MIKE ZOSS PRODUCTIONS
CO-PRODUCED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG
MIKE ZOSS PRODUCTIONS
INFORMATION FROM IMDb
Following the murder of her father by hired hand Tom Chaney, 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross sets out to capture the killer. To aid her, she hires the toughest U.S. marshal she can find, a man with "true grit," Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn. Mattie insists on accompanying Cogburn, whose drinking, sloth, and generally reprobate character do not augment her faith in him. Against his wishes, she joins him in his trek into the Indian Nations in search of Chaney. They are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, who wants Chaney for his own purposes. The unlikely trio find danger and surprises on the journey, and each has his or her "grit" tested.
Written by Jim Beaver
Jeff Bridges ... Rooster Cogburn
Hailee Steinfeld ... Mattie Ross
Matt Damon ... LaBoeuf
Josh Brolin ... Tom Chaney
Barry Pepper ... Lucky Ned Pepper
Dakin Matthews ... Col. Stonehill
Jarlath Conroy ... Undertaker
Paul Rae ... Emmett Quincy
Domhnall Gleeson ... Moon (The Kid)
Elizabeth Marvel ... 40-Year-Old Mattie
Roy Lee Jones ... Yarnell
Ed Corbin ... Bear Man (as Ed Lee Corbin)
Leon Russom ... Sheriff
Bruce Green ... Harold Parmalee
Candyce Hinkle ... Boarding House Landlady
Peter Leung ... Mr. Lee
Don Pirl ... Cole Younger
Joe Stevens ... Cross-examining Lawyer
David Lipman ... First Lawyer
Jake Walker ... Judge Parker
Orlando Storm Smart ... Stableboy (as Orlando Smart)
Ty Mitchell ... Ferryman
Nicholas Sadler ... Repentant Condemned Man
Scott Sowers ... Unrepentant Condemned Man
Jonathan Joss ... Condemned Indian
Maggie A. Goodman ... Woman at Hanging
Brandon Sanderson ... Indian Youth at Bagby's
Ruben Nakai Campana ... Indian Youth at Bagby's
and many more...
Joel Coen ... (screenplay) &
Ethan Coen ... (screenplay)
Charles Portis ... (novel)
Ethan Coen ... producer
Joel Coen ... producer
David Ellison ... executive producer
Megan Ellison ... executive producer
Robert Graf ... executive producer
Scott Rudin ... producer
Paul Schwake ... executive producer
Steven Spielberg ... executive producer
Roger Deakins ... director of photography
Fifteen thousand girls applied for the role of the young Mattie Ross, the part going to Hailee Steinfeld. She was 13 years old when cast. It was her theatrical feature-film debut.
Despite Mattie Ross having the most screen time and being considered the protagonist, Hailee Steinfeld was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in many award shows, including the Academy Awards.
As mentioned in the trivia from the original True Grit (1969), the character of Rooster Cogburn is supposed to be around 40, both John Wayne and Jeff Bridges were in their early 60's when they portrayed their roles. John Wayne was 62, Jeff Bridges was 60.
Because of child labor laws, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen were unable to film any scenes past midnight with Hailee Steinfeld (especially difficult because the movie contains many night scenes), and because of scheduling problems, any time there is a shot of another character over Mattie's shoulder or back, Mattie is played by an adult double, not Steinfeld.
Rooster refers to LaBoeuf as a "brush popper" and later as a "waddie." Those are American West terms for a cowboy.
The movie was nominated for ten Academy Awards failing to win any and going down in film history as one of the most ever nominated films to not win an Oscar.
Judge Parker (referred to several times during the movie) was an actual judge in Fort Smith, AR. He was known as "Hanging Judge" Parker.
Jeff Bridges said that the first piece of direction the Coens gave him was to forget about the John Wayne prequel. Their movie would be a return to the 1968 source material by the original author Charles Portis.
No computer-generated special effects were used in the creation of the town of Fort Smith. The town of Granger, Texas, was used as a double in the movie, due to several sections of the city still displaying the period's city planning with wide streets. The art department did painstaking efforts to add details: fake buildings were built between existing ones, and existing buildings were painted or redressed with facades to give them the correct period appearance; sand was put onto the cobblestone streets to get the appearance of dirt roads; 20th century telephone poles were either removed or redressed as trees. Since the movie takes place in the winter, the leaves of one tree that came into frame during the hanging scene had to be picked-off by hand. Finally, a small stretch of railroad was built for a period train that was brought in from a museum.
When La Boeuf first meets Mattie, he tells her that one of the aliases of Chaney is J. Todd Anderson, a frequent Coen Brothers storyboard artist.
All scenes in which horses appeared to fall or be in pain or distress were faked using a combination of specific horse training and clever editing.
The first Coen Brothers film to gross over $100 million in the United States.
The Cole Younger and Frank James Wild West Company toured the south in 1903. Younger and James formed the show years after the end of their careers as outlaws in the notorious James-Younger gang.
Jeff Bridges is the third actor in movies and television to play Rooster Cogburn.
John Wayne was the first in True Grit (1969) and its sequel Rooster Cogburn ... and the Lady (1975)
whilst Warren Oates was the second actor to do so in True Grit (A Further Adventure) (1978), the character being called Reuben J. Rooster.
Bear Man tells Rooster and Mattie that there is nothing north of the "picketwire." This is the Purgatoire River in southeastern Colorado, known locally as the Picketwire River or the Purgatory River.
The Rooster Cogburn character's full name is Reuben J. Cogburn. Rooster is his nickname. His birth-date is 15 July, 1825.
In the original True Grit (1969), Rooster Cogburn wears his eye-patch on his left eye. In the remake of True Grit (2010), the eye-patch is worn over Cogburn's right eye.
One of only fifteen or sixteen Western movies to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award (Oscar). It is also the first western to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award since Unforgiven (1992) and Dances with Wolves (1990), a gap of nineteen years. This depends on whether one counts Brokeback Mountain (2005) as a Western (the gap would be then six years), as Brokeback Mountain (2005) is not set during the historical period of the American West.
In the boarding house, when Mattie is given her father's personal effects, among the items visible is her father's gun, a small bag, his pocket watch with chain attached to a Masonic square and compass watch fob. Mattie also tells Yarnell that she wants her father buried in his Masonic apron.
After Crazy Heart (2009), this was the second consecutive film for which Jeff Bridges received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He failed to win the award on this occasion.
During the campfire scene, Rooster Cogburn mentions Daniel Webster cigars as he insults LaBoeuf. Webster was an American statesman, lawyer, and orator. The cigar brand was named in his honor.
This movie marks the second time that an actor (Jeff Bridges) has been nominated for an Academy Award for playing Rooster Cogburn. John Wayne won Best Actor for playing Rooster Cogburn in the original True Grit (1969).
This was the last film that famed cinematographer Roger Deakins shot on film before switching to digital technology.
Firearms used in the film
Rooster Cogburn utilizes a Cavalry model of the Colt Single Action Army as his sidearm, and a Winchester Model 1873 as his long arm. He also carries a pair of Colt Dragoon revolvers in holsters on his saddle, and uses them in his confrontation with Ned Pepper's gang.
Mattie's father leaves her a Colt Dragoon.
La Boeuf carries a Colt Single Action Army as well has his trademark Sharps 1874 Cavalry carbine.
Tom Chaney carries the Henry Model 1860 rifle he took from Frank Ross.
Ned Pepper is seen with a Remington 1875 revolver as well as a Winchester 1866 "Yellow Boy" rifle.
The triangular bladed knife found on the dead body in the pit Mattie falls into is known as an "Arkansas Toothpick".
First Coen brothers film to get a PG-13 rating in the USA since Intolerable Cruelty (2003).
The conversation Mattie has with the coroner about the high costs of preparing her father's corpse, is similar to the discussion The Dude and Walter have about the price of the urn with Donny's ashes in another Coens movie with Jeff Bridges, The Big Lebowski (1998).
Many of the firearms in True Grit are replicas from the Italian gun maker Aldo Uberti Company. Using replicas is a common practice in movies. The original manufacturers' pistols, rifles, and shotguns in True Grit are antiques that are over a century old and do not have the availability required by movie property managers. Replicas are exact copies that look newer (not worn and antique) and thus match the appropriate time frame presented in the movie.
The two front buckles on Matt Damon's cowboy hat form the letter "B", the letter used on caps and hats to represent his hometown Boston Red Sox baseball team.
Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin have both played the character of Wild Bill Hickok in separate productions before starring in this film together. Bridges played Hickok in Wild Bill (1995) and Brolin played Hickok in The Young Riders (1989).
Michael Biehn auditioned for the role of 'Lucky' Ned Pepper but lost out to Barry Pepper.
This movie was made and released forty-two years after the Charles Portis novel of the same name was first published in 1968, and forty-one years after True Grit (1969).
Rooster Cogburn tells Mattie about previously owning an eatery called The Green Frog. There is actually a restaurant in Jacksboro, Texas, called The Green Frog. It has been in business 40+ years.
Although Cogburn refers to his "Navy Sixes," there is never an appearance of a Colt 1851 Navy revolver in the movie. The 2 pistols Cogburn carries in his saddle holsters, holds in the cornbread scene, and fires in the charge scene, are 2nd model Colt Dragoon revolvers according to Keith Walters the movie's property master. Cogburn's mention of "Navy Sixes" was part of his account charging and scattering a posse following him after a bank robbery years ago and before he was a US Marshal. It's possible that he has swapped the Colt 1851 Navy revolvers for Dragoons.
Jeff Bridges's Oscar nomination for this film marks the seventh time in Oscar history that one actor has been nominated for playing a role that had already earned another actor an Oscar. There were two instances involving the character of King Henry VIII, with Robert Shaw nominated in 1967 for A Man for All Seasons (1966) and Richard Burton nominated in 1970 for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), after Charles Laughton earned his Oscar for the role in 1933's The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933). Also in 1970, Peter O'Toole was nominated for playing Chipping in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), a role that won Robert Donat an Oscar for 1939's Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939). It happened again in the 1970s when Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro each won Oscars for playing Vito Corleone (in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974), respectively). The fifth occurrence was when Gérard Depardieu, was nominated for the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), a role that had already won an Oscar for José Ferrer (1950's Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)). The sixth was when Cate Blanchett was nominated for playing Queen Elizabeth I in 1998 and 2008 in Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), respectively, a role that won Judi Dench an Oscar in 1998 for Shakespeare in Love (1998). John Wayne won Best Actor for playing Rooster Cogburn in the original True Grit (1969). The original True Grit, and the first two Godfathers, all featured Robert Duvall as well, who appeared with Jeff Bridges the previous year in his Oscar-winning role in Crazy Heart (2009).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Mattie says the title of the film to Rooster when she meets him outside of the courtroom. She says, "They tell me you're a man with true grit."
Talk of a remake of True Grit (1969) first surfaced in 2008.
In the first movie production of True Grit (1969), Tom Chaney's black powder mark is on his right cheek. In the Coen's 2010 production of True Grit, the black powder mark is on Tom Chaney's left cheek.
J.K. Simmons: voice of J. Noble Daggett, Mattie's lawyer.
In order to get the most effective voice after biting his tongue, Matt Damon tied a hair tie around it to talk as if he had no tongue.
Rooster Cogburn's tombstone states the year of his birth to be 1825, and the year of his death to be 1903. Considering the epilogue took place 25 years after the main events in the film, this places the film in 1878, at which time Cogburn would've been 53 years old.
Ruth Morris was the body double for actress Elizabeth Marvel who plays the adult Mattie Ross, the character distinguishable by only having one arm. Morris was born without a left forearm. Morris, the body-double, actually has more screen time in the film than Marvel, the actress she doubles.
Although he is third billed, Josh Brolin doesn't show up until around 1 hr and 18 mins into the movie.
Buster Coen, Ethan Coen's son, is listed in the end credits as "Mr. Damon's abs double". In reality, he was an on-set assistant to the script supervisor.
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Drew Houpt is credited as "The New Duke", an apparent reference to John Wayne ('The Duke') who starred in the original film
When she first meets Labeouf in her room at the boarding house, Mattie compares his fringed Texas clothes to those of a rodeo clown. Rodeo clowns did not exist until the beginning of competitive rodeos in the early 1900s, some 25-30 years later.
Before drunken shooting scene Rooster falls off his horse and the bottom of his boot is exposed. The boot has a modern Vibram sole with traction grooves. Boots of that period had leather soles with no grooves.
Near the beginning of the film, when Mattie is arriving by train in Ft. Smith, the camera pans across the ground and tracks to the train, revealing a pre-cast concrete grade crossing with steel edges, and then subsequent wooden grade crossings. These precast concrete grade crossings were not available in the late 1800s.
Early in the movie, there is a shot of a train, which is fitted with modern knuckle couplers and air brakes, neither of which had been invented at the time the action in the movie is to have taken place.
When Mattie and Rooster hear the warning gunshot in the distance and are waiting for someone to appear, a car is visible in the close-up of Mattie on her horse.
Mattie and her horse are completely dry right after swimming across the river.
The date for the Wild West Show on the flyer is July 18. When Mattie shows up there , Cole tells her Rooster died 3 days ago. The date of death on his gravestone is Aug. 12.
Rooster throws a holster over the horn on his saddle before he and LaBoeuf have the argument after which LaBoeuf leaves them (the first time). During this argument, the position of Cogburn's holster on the saddle-horn changes several times.
When Rooster Colburn is pulling cornbread out of his satchel and throwing it the air to shoot, you see that several pieces of cornbread fall out of his satchel and on the ground; however when they go the wide shot, no cornbread is on the ground.
When Ned captures Mattie, the pistol he threatens her with is a Remington New Army. A few minutes later, Ned reloads his pistol and he has a Colt Single Action Army. When he fires a shot to acknowledge Rooster keeping his end of the bargain, he is again using a Remington, however, when he pulls his pistol to shoot Rooster, he is back to a Colt SAA. While it is possible that Ned carried two revolvers, at no time is he seen with a second revolver on his person.
Little Blackie can be seen wearing a breast collar during the river crossing that he doesn't wear during the rest of the film.
During the cornbread shoot, Cogburn shoots the first piece of cornbread with his Colt Single Action Army, in the next scene, when LaBoeuf shoots the cornbread, Cogburn is seen holding a Colt Dragoon, similar to the gun Mattie Ross has. It is NOT one of the Colt 1851 Navy's he carries on his saddle.
In the court-scene at the beginning of the movie, when Rooster Cogburn is interrogated, the position of the eye patch, more precisely the band above his left eye, repeatedly changes position between shots.
When Rooster Cogburn is being cross-examined in Judge Parker's court, the position of the eye patch, more precisely the band above his left eye, changes position during the several scenes.
When Marshall Cogburn is shooting the last piece of cornbread, his coat kicks up and knocks his hat off his head. In the next shot of him, his hat is back on his head.
When Mattie cuts the hanged man down from the tree and Rooster kicks him over so that he is lying flat on his back, his legs are crossed and his coat is half open. As Rooster stands over the dead man, Rooster's shadow falls behind him, away from the dead man. After the next scene, where the Indian on horseback approaches, no one has touched the dead man, and Rooster is standing in the same place. But now the dead man's legs aren't crossed anymore, his coat is fully open, and Rooster's shadow falls in front of him, across the dead man's legs.
In the grocery store back room scene, the closeup of Rooster Cogburn brushing past the ducks shows the ducks hanging separately. In all wider shots in which the ducks can be seen, they are hanging in a tight group.
When Mattie first meets LeBoeuf, she tosses the photo of Chaney onto a book on the nightstand. The photo then changes position several times.
After Ned's gang leaves Chaney alone with Mattie, he is seen wearing brown leather gloves while he sits across her. In the next shot the gloves are gone.
In the final scene as Mattie is standing next to the gravestone of "Reuben Cogburn" the gravestone says "In Memory of". As she walks away and the credits begin, the gravestone now reads "In Loving Memory".
While Ned is holding Mattie pinned with his boot the position of her hat that fell off changes from being an inch from her head to completely missing. Also in the long shot it's leaned to the side but when she picks it up it's positioned straight up.
Just before Rooster falls off his horse after climbing the hill, he polishes off the small bottle of whiskey while on horseback. Any remaining whiskey would have been lost in the fall anyway. When he gets up off the ground, there is about 1/3rd of the bottle still full.
When LaBoeuf first meets Mattie Ross in her room at the boarding house, he is smoking a pipe. At one point during their conversation, LaBoeuf puts his pipe down on the table next to his chair. The smoke curling up from the pipe suddenly changes shape and position.
In the conversation between Mattie and the horse trader Col. Stonehill, he is seated, leaning back in his chair, with both arms on the armrests. Mattie speaks and the scene cuts to him saying, "You have no case." When he says this sentence, he's leaning forward in the chair, his right arm is extended out to his right and is resting on some papers on his desk. The scene cuts to Mattie speaking again and when it cuts back to him, he's leaning back, both arms on the armrests.
Crew or equipment visible
When Ned Pepper is pinning Mattie Ross with his boot in The Winding Stair Mountains, after the first pan down at Mattie and pan back to Ned you hear the director yell "Action".
Errors in geography
At one point in the film, Rooster says that they have a choice of heading north into the Winding Stair Mountains or continuing further west. The Winding Stair Mountains are 30-40 miles southwest of Fort Smith, meaning they would have to travel south to go up into the mountains, not north.
When Rooster and LaBeouf are talking about serving in the Civil War, LaBeouf says he served at Shreveport with Kirby Smith, in the Army of Northern Virginia. Smith was actually in command of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi.
After saving Mattie from being murdered by Chaney, at Lucky Ned's camp, LeBoeuf stands over him and refers to him as "Chelmsford", a strange thing to say, since he's been hunting Chaney for quite some time...
Incorrectly regarded as goofs
When Mattie scales the tree to cut down the hanged man, the length of rope changes length between shots. When we first see him, he is hanging very close to the tree. In the next shot, he is hanging a fair amount lower. In the original screenplay, Rooster cuts the rope at ground level and the body falls about 5 feet, and then the rope snags. That is why Mattie has to climb the tree to cut him down. The scene of Rooster cutting the rope at ground level was filmed, but did not make it into the final cut. That is why the body is seen hanging several feet lower.
Mattie tells Rooster that her sister's name is Victoria. Later, in her letter home, she asks her mother to pinch Violet on the cheek for her. However, at that time "Violet" was commonly used as a nickname for people called Victoria.
When Mattie first encounters Rooster at the courthouse, she keeps standing in his way to prevent him from leaving the courthouse, but exit doors are shown behind him (which he eventually walks through). Most courthouses of this time (including the Blanco, Texas courthouse where this scene was filmed) were square-shaped and had exits on all four sides. Mattie was only blocking him from exiting the doors he was originally heading towards.
The snakes Mattie sees in the cave are clearly rat snakes from their markings, but she calls them rattlers and you can hear rattling in the background.
When Mattie is fetching water from the river and encounters Tom Chaney, she is carrying a wood bucket. Such an item would be very unwieldy and bulky to carry while riding horseback, and none of the characters is shown to be carrying one. More likely, Mattie would have used a canvas bucket, and this in fact, is mentioned in the book.
When Mattie Ross shoots Tom Chaney the first time and she falls backwards into the water we can see her gun the entire time when she falls and then rights her self, she could not re-cock her gun without the camera seeing it, however when the camera cuts to her standing her gun is cocked and she then attempts to fire it. This is impossible due to the fact that her pistol is a Colt Model 1848 which is a single action pistol, meaning she would have to cock it after each shot.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs
Toward the end of the movie when Rooster is on the ground and Ned Pepper is on his horse ready to shoot him, LeBoeuf is aiming to shoot Ned with his Sharps Carbine. He successfully shoots Ned, and then gets hit in the head with a rock by Chaney. Mattie grabs the carbine and shoots Chaney. The carbine that LeBoeuf used is a single shot breech load carbine. He can be seen reloading while he is talking to Mattie, and closes the breach shortly before being hit.
Le Boeuf uses a Sharps carbine for the long shot (over 400 yards) that kills Ned. This is not at all an impossible feat for a Sharps carbine. Furthermore, he would not have used a full length rifle, as it would have been bulky and impractical on horseback.
When we see Rooster and Mattie on their horses, both appear to be geldings, however when Rooster's horse is killed by Ned Pepper, the horse is clearly female.
New Mexico, USA
Buena Vista Ranch, New Mexico, USA
Austin, Texas, USA
Garson Studios, College of Santa Fe - 1600 Saint Michaels Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA (studio)
Granger, Texas, USA
Blanco, Texas, USA
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