AFI Movie Club: MONSTER’S BALL – American Film Institute
Monster's Ball Film Still - Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry



Directed by Marc Forster and produced by Lee Daniels, the critically acclaimed drama MONSTER’S BALL first premiered at AFI FEST presented by Audi in 2001 and was honored with an AFI AWARD as one of the year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image. The film stars Billy Bob Thornton, Heath Ledger and Sean Combs and includes an Academy® Award-winning performance by AFI Trustee Halle Berry.

Click Here to Find Out How to Watch MONSTER’S BALL Now


Watch this exclusive video from the AFI Archive:

Movie Trivia about MONSTER’S BALL

DID YOU KNOW? Halle Berry had to fight for her role in MONSTER’S BALL since the filmmakers initially felt that she was too attractive for the part. According to Berry, it took several weeks of begging, but she was able to convince director Marc Forster to meet with her so that she could convince him she was right for the role.

DID YOU KNOW? Wes Bentley had originally committed to the role of Sonny in MONSTER’S BALL but pulled out of the project at the last minute, which allowed Heath Ledger to step into the role.

DID YOU KNOW? Before Lee Daniels became an Academy Award®-nominated director and producer, he was Wes Bentley’s manager. Even though Bentley dropped out of the project, MONSTER’S BALL became the first film that Daniels helped to produce.

DID YOU KNOW? According to Billy Bob Thornton, when his character confronts his son for breaking down while escorting a prisoner, Heath Ledger asked Thornton to really hit him. Ledger said he needed it for the scene, so Thornton really hit him – and has since said that he hit him pretty hard.

DID YOU KNOW? MONSTER’S BALL was filmed around New Orleans, and the fictional Georgia state penitentiary seen in the film was actually the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, also known as “The Farm.” The 1995 award- winning film DEAD MAN WALKING was also shot at the same location.

DID YOU KNOW? Halle Berry made history at the 2002 Academy Award® ceremony, by becoming the first woman of color to win the Oscar® for Best Actress for her portrayal of Leticia Musgrove in MONSTER’S BALL.

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.


The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-Why does Hank hate his son, Sonny?
-How does Sonny’s death affect Hank?
-What qualities do Hank and Leticia find in each other? How do their respective pasts hurt their relationship? How does it help their relationship?
-The love scene in the film caused controversary when the film was released. What makes it so provocative? Do you believe the scene went too far? Does the scene enhance the story of these two damaged characters?
-Why are Hank and Leticia content at the end of the movie even though Hank was part of Leticia’s deceased husband’s execution?
-How would you rate MONSTER’S BALL?

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

Learn more in our FAQ section.


How to Watch TODAY’S FILM Now: View Options

Comments (1)

Megan Dunaway

It wasn’t filmed around New Orleans, it was filmed in St. Francisville, La about 2 hours north of New Orleans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts