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The Whole Wide World
The Whole Wide World
Actors: Vincent D'onofrio, Renée Zellweger, Ann Wedgeworth, Harve Presnell, Benjamin Mouton
Director: Dan Ireland
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
PG     2003     1hr 51min

In Texas in the 1930s, young school teacher Novalyne Price meets a handsome, eccentric and interesting young man named Robert Howard. He's a successful writer of the pulp stories of 'Conan the Barbarian'; she's an aspiring...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Vincent D'onofrio, Renée Zellweger, Ann Wedgeworth, Harve Presnell, Benjamin Mouton
Director: Dan Ireland
Creators: Benjamin Mouton, Dan Ireland, Carl Colpaert, Donald Kushner, Gregory Cascante, Michael Scott Myers, Novalyne Price Ellis
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/29/2003
Original Release Date: 12/20/1996
Theatrical Release Date: 12/20/1996
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 51min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: French

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Member Movie Reviews

Sandy M. (BritFlickFan)
Reviewed on 1/20/2023...
Touching biopic based on Novalyn Price Ellis's book One Who Walked Alone detailing her romance with Conan The Barbarian creator Robert Howard. Zellweger is perfect in the role as Novalyn while D'Onofrio is a revelation as Howard. Director Dan Ireland (now deceased, sadly), tirelessly promoted this movie but it never got the recognition it probably deserved. His commentary throughout the film on the extras is well worth a listen.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sharon F. (Shar) from HIALEAH, FL
Reviewed on 9/16/2022...
A beautiful love story with great acting.
Janice H.
Reviewed on 7/28/2015...
Wonderful movie! The first 10 minutes or so are dull & awkward--I am so glad I continued to watch. This is a very touching love story. The characters are engaging and the acting truly inspired. Vincent D'Onofrio gives a spellbinding performance as the writer Robert Howard and Renee Zellweger brings the role of Novalyne Price to life beautifully. Don't miss it!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Michelle S. from ELMA, NY
Reviewed on 2/24/2015...
Loved the movie!! Renee Zellweger is so incredibly good at playing period roles. I was disappointed in the fact that the description said there were subtitles, but they were only available in French. With the tinnitus that I've developed in my ears, I find myself relying on them more and more. Eve my husband enjoyed it when he found out that it was based on the author who wrote "Conan the Barbarian".
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Beautiful and Touchingly Realized Drama
Reviewer | 04/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After retiring from teaching, lifelong aspiring writer Novalyne Price wrote her first book at age 76, "One Who Walked Alone," a memoir dedicated to the memory of pulp fiction writer Robert E. Howard, and upon which this film, "The Whole Wide World," directed by Dan Ireland, is based. The film paints a soul wrenching portrait of a man who was larger than life in the world of his own creation, but who was a socially inept, self-proclaimed "lummox" in the real world, who had an unhealthy devotion to his sickly mother and had trouble expressing his true feelings to the woman he obviously loved. To Novalyne Price-- as well as his legions of devoted readers-- Howard was the greatest pulp writer in the whole wide world. But to him, living in a small town in Texas in the `30s, that world was populated by "maggots of corruption," and was a dangerous place filled with outlaws, thieves and robbers. He masked his true poetic nature with an outwardly gregarious manner and bravura, which, along with his self-imposed exile from society made his on-again-off-again relationship with Price nearly insurmountable. To the world, he gave Conan the Barbarian and some of the greatest action adventures ever written; to Novalyne he gave the sunrise, the sunset and the moon, but was incapable of giving himself, telling her, "The road I walk, I walk alone." Not that it was what he wanted, but it was all he knew how to do in the "real" world, which he sadly never learned to negotiate. Working from a sensitive, extremely well written screenplay by Michael Scott Myers, Ireland compassionately explores Howard's world through the eyes of Novalyne Price. What we see is an enigmatic, lonely man struggling with the demons of his soul, who escapes to the worlds of his fantasies in order to cope with life. He is most comfortable talking about his work, and the lands of his imagination. When relating one of his "yarns, as he called his stories, he is on his feet, swelling his chest and becoming Conan, sword in hand, battling beasts and enemies and rescuing scantily clad women from harm. He is transported by his own characters, and watching, the audience is taken along with him, swept away by the passion in his eyes and the sounds of clanking swords. When he writes, he speaks his words aloud, passionately losing himself in the story even as he is creating it. And these scenes, backed by the captivating score by Hans Zimmer and Harry Gregson-Williams, are especially powerful and emotionally riveting, which underscores the action and heightens the emotional level and the viewers involvement with the characters and the story. Ireland juxtaposes the intimacy of the story with some stunning visuals and superb cinematography that will keep Howard and Price in your memory long after the film has ended. It's terrific work by Ireland, and deserving of the highest acclaim. In a criminally unacclaimed and overlooked performance, Vincent D'Onofrio is absolutely astounding in the role of Bob Howard. The work he does here can stand alongside the best performances of the greatest actors. In this film, he IS Howard, physically and emotionally, from the inside out. He captures every emotion, vividly, with nuance and to perfection; the repressed feelings, the constant, inner turmoil of the man who had confidence in the one thing he knew how to do-- write-- but who also recognized that he was a misfit who lacked even the basic, everyday skills of survival. It's a painful portrait of a tortured individual to whom one can relate and empathize because of D'Onofrio's consummate skill as an actor. It's simply a staggeringly powerful and memorable performance. Renee Zellweger gives an excellent performance, as well, as Novalyne Price, this somewhat progressive, though rather straight-laced young woman frustrated time and again in her attempts to break through the complexities of this man to whom she is ready to devote her life. It's an endearing portrait of a strong, yet vulnerable woman willing to forego many of the conventions of the times for the man she loves, if only he would meet her halfway. She creates a character with whom you can readily sympathize and identify, making Novalyne very real and her relationship with Howard believable. It's a beautiful piece of work, for which-- like D'Onofrio-- she did not receive the attention she deserved. The supporting cast includes Ann Wedgeworth (Mrs. Howard), Harve Presnell (Dr. Howard), Benjamin Mouton (Clyde), Michael Corbett (Booth), Helen Cates (Enid), Leslie Berger (Ethel) and Chris Shearer (Truett). There's life as we'd like it to be, and life as it really is, and "The Whole Wide World" is a masterfully presented character study that succinctly examines that situation. It's an insightful and emotionally gripping film that explores human nature and the often incomprehensible workings of the mind that compel individuals to do what they must do. In the end, it's a film that will touch you in many ways, and will linger in your thoughts for more than just a little while."
I love it, but then again, I'm predjudiced.
Daniel F. Ireland | Los Angeles, Ca. United States | 01/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Yes, I love The Whole Wide World, with all my heart, but I spent five years trying to get it made so... to see all these wonderful comments six years later is enormously touching to all of us involved in making the film. But... what is extremely distressing is the fact that the distributor of OUR film has thus far refused to put it on DVD, even after our numerous attempts to get them to do so. And now to see that it is NOT AVAILABLE on video is an outrage and unacceptable. So, for all of you that want to buy it and see it in it's true LETTERBOX VERSION and on Dolby Digital 5.1 - the DVD is available on (that's Canada, folks),so I hope they put this on the review website for you to see. I am saddened by the US distributors decision to ignore our continual requests to release our film on DVD, but for those of you that want to own it, buy it on The Canadian distributor has done a first rate job on the transfer. And hopefully after Renee gets her second Oscar nomination this year for CHICAGO, the U.S. Distributor might wise up and do likewise. I have been holding my tongue far too long not to let you know what's up. I hope will be generous enough to run this for their readers. Thank you for your wonderful comments, everytime I get depressed about the distribution fiasco all I have to do is log on to and read all these wonderful reviews to know it was all worthwile.
- Dan Ireland, Director, The Whole Wide World."
A haunting gem -- don't miss it
CT | Texas | 05/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film should be used as example of independent filmmaking at its finest. Made on a shoestring budget with then unknown actors, director Dan Ireland creates a film that is by turns sweeping, intimate, funny and tragic. He takes the viewers into 1930s smalltown Texas and makes you feel like you are there -- you can see how he trusts his actors to portray their characters, and they in turn don't disappoint Vincent D'Onofrio and Renee Zellweger both give unique and memorable performances in this haunting love story. One never feels that they are "acting", even for a minute. One senses the tragedy in the relationship between pulp fiction writer Bob Howard and teacher Novalyne Price, but also the sweetness that led her to write the memoir on which this film was based, many years later.View this film, it will not disappoint. I think it is one of the top ten films I've ever seen. It's a crime that it was not more widely released, or recognized by the Academy Awards. Both actors were deserving of Best Actor/Actress recognition for their work, but I guess small non-moneymaking films don't stand much of a chance in that arena! In my book, Vincent D'Onofrio bested the Best Actor award for that year, Nicholas Cage, by several degrees. This film introduced me to his work, and he is an actor who never fails to give a memorable performance, no matter how small or offbeat the part."