Birgitta Bannon

Birgitta Bannon

Published: 06 Oct 2023


The movie Affliction, directed by Paul Schrader, is a gripping and thought-provoking drama that explores the dark depths of human nature. Released in 1997, this cinematic masterpiece captivated audiences with its intense performances, compelling storyline, and atmospheric visuals. Affliction delves into the life of its protagonist, Wade Whitehouse, played brilliantly by Nick Nolte, as he navigates the turbulent waters of small-town life, family dysfunction, and personal demons. With its stellar cast, including Sissy Spacek, James Coburn, and Willem Dafoe, Affliction garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards nominations, shedding light on the often hidden complexities of human relationships and the consequences of unresolved trauma. In this article, we will uncover 49 fascinating facts about the production, cast, and impact of this unforgettable film.

Table of Contents

Affliction was released in 1997.

Affliction, a gripping psychological drama, hit the cinemas in 1997, captivating audiences with its intense storyline and exceptional performances.

The movie is based on the novel by Russell Banks.

Affliction is an adaptation of the novel of the same name, written by the acclaimed author Russell Banks.

The film was directed by Paul Schrader.

Paul Schrader, renowned for his contributions as a screenwriter and director, helmed the project, bringing his unique vision to the big screen.

The main protagonist of the film is Wade Whitehouse.

Wade Whitehouse, flawlessly portrayed by Nick Nolte, is the central character around whom the gripping narrative unfolds.

James Coburn won an Academy Award for his role.

The late James Coburn’s outstanding performance as Glen Whitehouse earned him the prestigious Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Affliction was critically acclaimed.

The film received rave reviews from critics, praising its compelling storytelling, exceptional acting, and powerful themes.

The movie explores themes of family, repression, and violence.

Affliction delves into the complex dynamics of family relationships, the consequences of repression, and the darker aspects of human nature.

Nick Nolte’s portrayal of Wade Whitehouse is exceptional.

Nick Nolte delivers a raw and emotionally charged performance as the troubled protagonist, truly capturing the essence of his character.

Affliction received two Academy Award nominations.

In addition to James Coburn’s win, the film also secured nominations for Best Actor (Nick Nolte) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Paul Schrader).

The movie explores the effects of toxic masculinity.

Affliction delves into the destructive nature of toxic masculinity and its impact on the lives of the characters, offering a thought-provoking commentary on societal norms.

Affliction features a stellar supporting cast.

Alongside Nick Nolte and James Coburn, the movie boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Sissy Spacek, Willem Dafoe, and Mary Beth Hurt, who deliver memorable performances.

The film has a haunting and atmospheric score.

The atmospheric and haunting score, composed by Michael Brook, adds another layer of intensity to the film, enhancing the overall viewing experience.

Affliction was shot on location in New Hampshire.

The movie was filmed on location in New Hampshire, capturing the rugged beauty of the state and creating an authentic backdrop for the story.

The cinematography beautifully captures the bleakness of the setting.

The cinematography in Affliction masterfully depicts the bleakness and desolation of the small-town setting, adding to the overall atmospheric tone of the film.

Affliction explores the impact of family legacies.

The movie delves into the consequences of inherited family legacies, examining how the past can shape an individual’s present and future.

The film delves into the dark underbelly of small-town America.

Affliction offers a raw and unflinching portrayal of the dark underbelly that exists within the seemingly ordinary facade of small-town America.

Affliction won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.

In recognition of its exceptional screenplay and performances, Affliction was awarded the Silver Bear at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival.

The movie’s screenplay was penned by Paul Schrader.

In addition to directing, Paul Schrader also wrote the screenplay for Affliction, showcasing his talent for crafting riveting narratives.

Affliction explores the concept of self-destruction.

The film delves into the destructive tendencies that reside within individuals, exploring the internal struggles that lead to self-destruction.

The movie has a realistic and gritty portrayal of small-town life.

Affliction offers a realistic and gritty depiction of small-town life, capturing the harsh realities and complexities that exist within such communities.

Affliction was nominated for a Golden Globe.

The film received a nomination for Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globe Awards, further highlighting its excellence in storytelling.

The editing in Affliction enhances the suspense and tension.

The skillful editing in Affliction contributes to the building of suspense and tension, intensifying the viewer’s emotional engagement with the story.

Affliction is a powerful exploration of human nature.

The movie provides a profound exploration of human nature, delving into the complexities of the human psyche and the choices individuals make.

The meticulous production design adds authenticity to the film.

The attention to detail in the production design of Affliction adds authenticity and enhances the overall immersive experience for the viewers.

Affliction is a thought-provoking and emotionally challenging film.

The thought-provoking themes and emotionally charged performances in Affliction make it a truly impactful and unforgettable cinematic experience.

The movie garnered positive reviews for its character development.

Affliction received acclaim for its well-rounded and deeply developed characters, adding layers of depth and complexity to the narrative.

The film examines the cycle of abuse within families.

Affliction bravely tackles the harsh reality of the cycle of abuse within families, shedding light on the lasting impact it can have on individuals.

The movie’s pacing keeps viewers captivated throughout.

Affliction maintains a gripping pace, keeping viewers engaged and on the edge of their seats as the story unfolds.

The film received the Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay.

Affliction was honored with the Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay, recognizing its outstanding writing and storytelling.

Affliction is a haunting and introspective film.

The haunting and introspective nature of Affliction invites viewers to reflect on their own lives and the impact of their choices.

The movie explores the nature of truth and perception.

Affliction delves into the complex themes of truth and perception, raising questions about how our subjective experiences shape our understanding of reality.

The film’s performances are emotionally charged.

Affliction features emotionally charged performances from its cast, capturing the turmoil and inner conflicts of the characters with great depth.

Affliction was nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The film received nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role (Nick Nolte) and Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (James Coburn) at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The movie explores the consequences of unresolved trauma.

Affliction delves into the lasting effects of unresolved trauma, highlighting the importance of addressing and healing from past experiences.

Affliction premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

The film made its debut at the esteemed Venice Film Festival, where it was met with critical acclaim for its exceptional storytelling.

The costume design reflects the characters’ inner struggles.

The meticulous costume design in Affliction subtly reflects the internal struggles and emotional state of the characters, adding another layer of depth to their portrayal.

Affliction received the C.I.C.A.E. Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film was awarded the C.I.C.A.E. Award at the Cannes Film Festival, recognizing its excellence and contribution to world cinema.

The movie’s title symbolizes the characters’ afflictions.

The title “Affliction” is symbolic, representing the burdens and afflictions that the characters carry throughout the film.

Affliction explores the impact of parental influence on individuals.

The movie delves into the profound influence that parents have on the development and choices of their children, exploring the complex dynamics of this relationship.

The film was praised for its atmospheric and noir-like cinematography.

Affliction received acclaim for its atmospheric and visually stunning cinematography, which effectively contributes to the overall mood and tone of the film.

The movie’s dialogue is poignant and impactful.

Affliction’s dialogue is both poignant and impactful, capturing the emotional depth of the characters and their struggles.

Affliction challenges societal norms and expectations.

The film presents a compelling narrative that challenges societal norms and expectations, encouraging viewers to question the status quo.

The movie explores the concept of masculinity in crisis.

Affliction delves into the concept of masculinity in crisis, examining the ways in which societal pressures can lead to personal turmoil.

The film engages viewers with its powerful storytelling.

Affliction captivates viewers with its powerful storytelling, drawing them into the emotional journey of the characters and leaving a lasting impact.

The screenplay masterfully balances drama and suspense.

Affliction’s screenplay expertly balances moments of intense drama with suspense, creating a gripping narrative that keeps viewers invested throughout.

The movie offers a nuanced exploration of guilt and responsibility.

Affliction delves into the complexities of guilt and responsibility, exploring the ways in which these emotions shape the choices we make.

The film’s themes resonate with audiences on a personal level.

Affliction’s themes of family, repression, and personal struggles resonate deeply with audiences, eliciting emotional and introspective responses.

Affliction features a captivating and thought-provoking narrative.

The captivating and thought-provoking narrative of Affliction lingers in the minds of viewers long after the credits roll, prompting reflection and discussion.

The movie’s ending leaves an impactful impression.

The ending of Affliction brings the story to a powerful conclusion, leaving an impactful impression on the viewers and sparking conversations about its deeper meaning.


Affliction is a gripping movie that delves into the dark realms of human nature, family dynamics, and the consequences of unresolved trauma. Through its masterful storytelling, captivating performances, and thought-provoking themes, the film offers a profound exploration of the complexities of the human experience.

With its powerhouse cast led by Nick Nolte, James Coburn, and Sissy Spacek, Affliction delivers raw and authentic performances that captivate viewers from start to finish. The film’s atmospheric visuals and haunting soundtrack add depth to its narrative and create a truly immersive viewing experience.

Affliction’s exploration of themes such as abuse, addiction, and the cyclical nature of violence shines a light on the darker aspects of human behavior. It forces viewers to confront uncomfortable truths about the human condition and raises important questions about accountability, forgiveness, and redemption.

In conclusion, Affliction is a cinematic masterpiece that stands the test of time and continues to resonate with audiences. Its powerful storytelling, exceptional performances, and thought-provoking themes make it a must-watch for any movie lover.


Q: Who directed the movie Affliction?

A: The movie Affliction was directed by Paul Schrader.

Q: When was Affliction released?

A: Affliction was released in 1997.

Q: What is the genre of the movie Affliction?

A: Affliction is a drama/mystery film.

Q: Who are the main actors in Affliction?

A: Nick Nolte, James Coburn, and Sissy Spacek are the main actors in Affliction.

Q: Did Affliction receive any awards or nominations?

A: Yes, Affliction was critically acclaimed and received several awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for James Coburn, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Q: What is the plot of Affliction?

A: Affliction follows the story of Wade Whitehouse, a small-town sheriff with a troubled past, as he investigates a mysterious hunting accident that uncovers dark secrets and triggers his own descent into madness.

Q: Is Affliction based on a book?

A: Yes, Affliction is based on the novel of the same name by Russell Banks.