Murial Sturm

Written by Murial Sturm

Modified & Updated: 29 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Places in the Heart is a timeless movie that has captivated audiences since its release in 1984. Directed by Robert Benton, this American drama film takes us on a journey into the heart of a small Texas town during the Great Depression. The movie explores themes of resilience, love, and the power of community as it follows the life of Edna Spalding, a young widow played by Sally Field. As Edna navigates the challenges of farming and raising her children, she is supported by a diverse cast of characters who come together to overcome adversity. With its powerful performances, stunning cinematography, and thought-provoking storyline, Places in the Heart has become a cultural classic. In this article, we will delve into 47 fascinating facts about the making of this beloved film.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Places in the Heart” is a timeless film set in the 1930s, showcasing the strength of the human spirit and the power of love and community in the face of adversity. It’s a heartwarming and emotional journey that resonates with audiences of all ages.
  • The movie’s exceptional performances, captivating storytelling, and beautiful cinematography make it a must-watch for anyone interested in exploring the universal themes of love, resilience, and the human experience during challenging times.
Table of Contents

The movie Places in the Heart was released in 1984.

Directed by Robert Benton, this critically acclaimed film paints a vivid and emotional portrait of life in a small Southern community during the Great Depression.

The screenplay of Places in the Heart was also written by Robert Benton.

Benton drew inspiration from his own childhood experiences growing up in Waxahachie, Texas, to craft this powerful story.

Sally Field portrays the main character, Edna Spalding.

Field delivers an exceptional performance that earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress, showcasing her versatility as a talented actress.

The film also stars Danny Glover as Moze, Edna’s steadfast friend.

Glover’s portrayal of Moze adds depth and heart to the story, highlighting the power of friendship in challenging times.

Places in the Heart features a strong ensemble cast.

Notable actors such as John Malkovich, Lindsay Crouse, and Ed Harris bring their exceptional talent to breathe life into the various characters that populate the film.

The film’s title, Places in the Heart, is derived from a song.

The title is inspired by the old song “Places in the Heart” written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, which reflects the themes of love, loss, and resilience portrayed in the movie.

The movie was shot on location in Waxahachie, Texas.

This decision added authenticity to the film, as the community’s historical buildings and landscapes became integral to the story’s backdrop.

Places in the Heart explores themes of racial inequality.

The film addresses the complexities of race relations during the segregated era, shedding light on the struggles faced by African-American characters like Moses, played by Danny Glover.

The character of Mr. Will, portrayed by John Malkovich, is modeled after the director’s grandfather.

Benton incorporated elements of his own family history into the story, lending a personal touch to the character’s development.

Places in the Heart garnered critical acclaim.

The movie received positive reviews for its sincere portrayal of characters and its exploration of universal themes of love, loss, and resilience in the face of adversity.

It was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

In addition to Sally Field’s win for Best Actress, the film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, and Best Costume Design.

Places in the Heart won two Academy Awards.

Besides Best Actress, the film received the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, further acknowledging the brilliance of Robert Benton’s storytelling.

The movie beautifully captures the essence of community.

Through the trials and tribulations faced by the characters, Places in the Heart emphasizes the power of unity and support within a small town.

Places in the Heart portrays the challenges of farming during the Great Depression.

The film depicts the hardships of the agricultural community, exploring the resilience of farmers amidst economic turmoil.

The film features an emotional and poignant soundtrack.

The musical score, composed by John Kander, perfectly complements the film’s tone and enhances the viewer’s emotional connection to the story.

Places in the Heart showcases the bond between siblings.

Edna’s relationship with her sister Margaret, played by Lindsay Crouse, adds a layer of familial love and support to the narrative.

The character of Wayne Lomax, portrayed by Ed Harris, represents a vulnerable and complex outsider.

Harris’s nuanced performance highlights the depth and struggle of a man battling inner demons.

Places in the Heart has a poignant and powerful ending.

The film’s conclusion leaves viewers with a profound sense of hope and the realization that resilience can triumph over adversity.

Places in the Heart is based on the director’s personal memories.

Robert Benton drew from his own experiences and memories of his childhood hometown, lending an authenticity and intimacy to the film.

The movie’s depiction of the 1930s era is visually stunning.

The production design and costume team meticulously recreated the look and feel of the Great Depression, immersing the audience in that period.

Places in the Heart explores gender roles in the 1930s.

The film addresses the challenges and expectations placed on women during that era, showcasing their strength and determination.

The film’s cinematography captures the beauty of rural Texas.

Cinematographer Néstor Almendros’s stunning visuals transport the audience to the small town setting, emphasizing the connection between characters and their environment.

Places in the Heart raises important questions about forgiveness and redemption.

The film presents thought-provoking themes about the power of forgiveness and the ability to find redemption in the face of past mistakes.

Places in the Heart highlights the importance of education.

The character of Edna, a widow struggling to keep her farm, recognizes the value of education and works tirelessly to ensure her children receive a proper education.

The movie portrays the hardships faced by sharecroppers.

The struggles and injustice experienced by sharecroppers in the South are depicted with sensitivity and authenticity.

Places in the Heart is an intimate and personal story.

The film’s focus on the individual lives of its characters allows for a deeper exploration of their personal journeys and growth.

Places in the Heart teaches us the power of resilience.

Through its moving narrative, the film emphasizes the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

The film’s cast underwent farm training.

To accurately portray their characters, the actors received training in various aspects of farm life, including tilling the soil, planting crops, and caring for livestock.

Places in the Heart pays tribute to the hardworking farmers of the past.

The film acknowledges and honors the resilience of those who worked the land during challenging times, shining a light on their importance in shaping society.

Places in the Heart carries universal themes that resonate with audiences.

The film’s exploration of love, grief, forgiveness, and community makes it relatable and emotionally impactful for viewers of all backgrounds.

The movie captures the essence of Southern culture.

From the accents to the customs, the film authentically portrays the unique qualities and traditions of the Southern United States during the 1930s.

Places in the Heart features powerful and memorable performances.

The talented ensemble cast delivers exceptional portrayals, bringing depth and humanity to their characters.

The film’s narrative unfolds with a natural flow.

The storytelling in Places in the Heart is crafted in a way that immerses the audience, drawing them into the lives of the characters and their interconnected journeys.

Places in the Heart garnered widespread critical acclaim.

The film received numerous accolades for its storytelling, performances, and cinematography.

The movie’s success led to increased awareness of the historical hardships during the Great Depression.

Places in the Heart sparked conversations and a renewed interest in understanding the challenges faced by individuals and communities during that era.

Places in the Heart inspired many viewers to reflect on their own connections to community and family.

The film’s themes of love, loss, and resilience resonated deeply with audiences, prompting introspection and discussions about the importance of human connection.

Places in the Heart is a timeless cinematic masterpiece.

The film’s enduring impact and universal appeal have cemented its place in the annals of cinema history.

Despite the movie’s serious undertones, it also has moments of levity.

Places in the Heart strikes a delicate balance between heartbreaking moments and lighter scenes, providing a well-rounded cinematic experience.

The film’s powerful message continues to resonate today.

Places in the Heart serves as a reminder of the strength of the human spirit and the enduring power of love and community.

The movie’s cinematography captures the beauty of the Texas landscape.

The sweeping shots of the vast fields and open skies serve as a metaphor for the characters’ hopes and dreams.

Places in the Heart is a testament to the transformative power of storytelling.

The film weaves a poignant narrative that touches the hearts of viewers, igniting empathy and understanding.

The movie’s emotional resonance is enhanced by its exceptional editing.

The seamless editing techniques employed in Places in the Heart contribute to the emotional impact of the story, allowing for a deeper connection with the characters.

Places in the Heart offers a glimpse into a bygone era.

The film captures the essence of the 1930s, providing a window into the challenges and triumphs of a specific time in American history.

The film’s timeless themes have made it a popular choice for film studies.

Places in the Heart is frequently examined in academic settings due to its rich narrative and exploration of universal human experiences.

Places in the Heart inspired a deeper appreciation for the role of farmers in society.

The film brought to light the often overlooked contributions of farmers and their vital role in sustaining communities and the economy.

Places in the Heart showcases the power of forgiveness and redemption.

The film’s narrative arc emphasizes the transformative nature of forgiveness and redemption, challenging viewers to reflect on their own capacity to heal and grow.

Places in the Heart is a celebration of the indomitable human spirit.

The film’s enduring legacy lies in its ability to inspire and uplift audiences, reminding us that love, resilience, and connection can carry us through even the darkest of times.

Places in the Heart is a cinematic treasure that continues to captivate audiences with its timeless story and exceptional performances. With its exploration of love, loss, and the power of community, this film has left an indelible mark on the history of cinema and holds a special place in the hearts of movie enthusiasts everywhere.


Places in the Heart is a timeless classic that captivated audiences with its touching story, compelling performances, and beautiful cinematography. Set in a small Texas town during the Great Depression, the film takes viewers on an emotional journey as they follow the trials and triumphs of its characters.

The film not only showcases the incredible talent of its cast, which includes Sally Field, John Malkovich, and Danny Glover, but also highlights the power of resilience, community support, and the enduring strength of the human spirit.

With its heartwarming message and unforgettable scenes, Places in the Heart has left a lasting impact on film lovers around the globe. It serves as a reminder of the importance of love, forgiveness, and the bond that can be formed in the most unexpected of places.


Q: When was Places in the Heart released?

A: Places in the Heart was released in 1984.

Q: Who directed Places in the Heart?

A: Places in the Heart was directed by Robert Benton.

Q: What is the storyline of the movie?

A: The movie follows the journey of a widow named Edna Spalding, who struggles to save her farm during the Great Depression.

Q: Who are the main cast members?

A: The main cast includes Sally Field, John Malkovich, Danny Glover, and Ed Harris.

Q: Did Places in the Heart receive any awards?

A: Yes, the film received critical acclaim and won two Academy Awards for Best Actress (Sally Field) and Best Original Screenplay.

Q: Is Places in the Heart based on a true story?

A: No, the film is not based on a true story, but it portrays the resilience and determination that many people faced during the Great Depression.

Q: What themes are explored in Places in the Heart?

A: The film explores themes of loss, love, forgiveness, and the strength of community.

Q: Where was Places in the Heart filmed?

A: Places in the Heart was filmed in Waxahachie, Texas.

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