The Butler

A look at the life of Cecil Gaines who served eight presidents as the White House’s head butler from 1952 to 1986, and had a unique front-row seat as political and racial history was made.
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Credits: TheMovieDb.

Film Cast:

  • Cecil Gaines: Forest Whitaker
  • Gloria Gaines: Oprah Winfrey
  • Louis Gaines: David Oyelowo
  • James Holloway: Lenny Kravitz
  • Carter Wilson: Cuba Gooding Jr.
  • Howard: Terrence Howard
  • Dwight Eisenhower: Robin Williams
  • John F. Kennedy: James Marsden
  • Jackie Kennedy: Minka Kelly
  • Lyndon B. Johnson: Liev Schreiber
  • Ronald Reagan: Alan Rickman
  • Nancy Reagan: Jane Fonda
  • Richard Nixon: John Cusack
  • Earl Gaines: David Banner
  • Charlie Gaines: Elijah Kelley
  • Rev. James Lawson: Jesse Williams
  • Hattie Pearl: Mariah Carey
  • Thomas Westfall: Alex Pettyfer
  • Annabeth Westfall: Vanessa Redgrave
  • Maynard: Clarence Williams III
  • Carol Hammie: Yaya DaCosta
  • Cecil Gaines (8): Michael Rainey Jr.
  • Abraham: LaJessie Smith
  • Cecil Gaines (15): Ami Ameen
  • Mr. Jenkins: John P. Fertitta
  • R.D. Warner: Jim Gleason
  • Admiral Rochon: Stephen Rider
  • Senator Kassebaum: Nealla Gordon
  • Senator Robertson: Rusty Robertson
  • Military Social Aide (uncredited): Duane Cothren
  • Self (archive footage): Jimmy Carter
  • Self (archive footage): Rosalynn Carter
  • Self (archive footage): Gerald Ford
  • Self (archive footage): Barack Obama
  • Freddie Fallows: Colman Domingo
  • White Usher: Joe Chrest

Film Crew:

  • Sound Mixer: Jay Meagher
  • Executive Producer: Bob Weinstein
  • Executive Producer: Harvey Weinstein
  • Casting: Billy Hopkins
  • Producer: Laura Ziskin
  • Director of Photography: Andrew Dunn
  • Production Design: Tim Galvin
  • Sound Re-Recording Mixer: Robert Hein
  • Title Designer: Randall Balsmeyer
  • Costume Design: Ruth E. Carter
  • Producer: Lee Daniels
  • Prosthetic Designer: Matthew W. Mungle
  • ADR Voice Casting: Bruce Winant
  • Hairstylist: Robert L. Stevenson
  • Writer: Danny Strong
  • Music Arranger: Steve Bartek
  • Sound Editor: Robert Fernandez
  • Casting: Leah Daniels Butler
  • Producer: Cassian Elwes
  • Art Direction: Jason Baldwin Stewart
  • Editor: Joe Klotz
  • Prosthetic Designer: Clinton Wayne
  • Foley Artist: Marko Costanzo
  • Assistant Sound Editor: Chris Fielder
  • Foley Supervisor: Matthew Haasch
  • ADR Editor: Ruth Hernandez
  • Costume Supervisor: Wendy Talley
  • Art Direction: Erik Polczwartek
  • Music Editor: Suzana Peric
  • Set Decoration: Diane Lederman
  • Animal Wrangler: Jeff Galpin
  • Hairstylist: Sherri Hamilton
  • First Assistant Director: Lisa C. Satriano
  • Set Decoration Buyer: Deanna Simmons
  • Producer: Ari Daniel Pinchot
  • Digital Intermediate Colorist: Tim Stipan
  • Music Supervisor: Lynn Fainchtein
  • ADR Recordist: John Jay Martyn
  • Producer: Buddy Patrick
  • Camera Operator: Jeffery J. Tufano
  • Makeup Designer: Debra Denson
  • Second Assistant Director: Peter Dress
  • Key Costumer: Paul A. Simmons Jr.
  • Set Dresser: Ryan Martin Dwyer
  • Original Music Composer: Rodrigo Leão
  • Principal Costumer: Jennifer Kamrath
  • Set Designer: Sarah Forrest
  • Art Direction: Lori Agostino
  • Makeup Department Head: Beverly Jo Pryor
  • Property Master: Kevin Ladson
  • Set Decoration Buyer: Kimberly Murphy
  • Costume Supervisor: Dana Kay Hart
  • Sound Re-Recording Mixer: Michael Barry
  • Dialect Coach: Elizabeth Himelstein
  • Music Editor: Ben Schor
  • Greensman: David Keith Broome
  • Set Designer: Michelle C. Harmon
  • First Assistant Editor: Ulysses Guidotti
  • Assistant Sound Editor: Alexa Zimmerman
  • Sound Designer: Debby VanPoucke
  • Visual Effects Supervisor: Ray McIntyre Jr.
  • Second Unit Director of Photography: Francis James
  • Additional Hairstylist: Marcos Gonzales
  • Visual Effects Producer: Aniela Sidorska
  • Aerial Director of Photography: Hans Bjerno
  • Key Set Costumer: Mustapha Mimis
  • Sound Effects Editor: Glenfield Payne
  • Hair Department Head: Candace Neal
  • Lighting Technician: Trey Shaneyfelt
  • Special Effects Coordinator: David K. Nami
  • Script Supervisor: Amy Sanderson
  • Construction Coordinator: Randall S. Coe
  • Hairstylist: Dana Boisseau
  • Additional Camera: Luis Lopez DeVictoria
  • Greensman: Michael Arena
  • Key Makeup Artist: Yolanda Sheridan
  • Wigmaker: Victoria Wood
  • Special Effects Makeup Artist: Jonah Levy
  • Production Supervisor: Jen Wall
  • Art Department Coordinator: Robin Simmerly
  • Set Designer: Brian A. Waits
  • Construction Foreman: Steve Martemucci
  • Greensman: John Lindsay
  • Leadman: Gus Coto
  • Dialogue Editor: David Wahnon
  • Foley Artist: Cariella Smith
  • Visual Effects Producer: Daniel Cohen
  • Visual Effects Producer: Ted Markovic
  • Visual Effects Supervisor: Luke DiTommaso
  • Visual Effects Editor: Charlotta Forssman
  • Steadicam Operator: Grayson Austin
  • Additional Camera: Michael Stumpf
  • Still Photographer: Anne Marie Fox
  • Chief Lighting Technician: Len Levine
  • Lighting Technician: Kristopher Weaver
  • Set Costumer: Annette Farnsworth
  • Digital Intermediate Producer: Kevin Vale
  • First Assistant Editor: Kat Spiess
  • Location Manager: Virginia McCollam
  • Location Manager: Mickey Lambert
  • Truck Costumer: Melissa Reed
  • ADR Mixer: Tom Ryan
  • Compositing Supervisor: Austin Meyers
  • Assistant Editor: Rick Derby
  • Makeup Artist: LeDiedra Richard-Baldwin
  • ADR Mixer: Krissopher Chevannes
  • Assistant Hairstylist: Daina Daigle
  • Prosthetic Makeup Artist: Courtney Lether
  • Supervising Dialogue Editor: Branka Mrkic
  • ADR Voice Casting: Dann Fink
  • Costumer: Janet Marie Ross
  • Production Coordinator: Lauren Von Huene
  • Grip: Dacoda Bartles
  • Grip: Tyler Garrett
  • Key Rigging Grip: King Lanaux
  • Costumer: Misti Moreaux
  • Set Dresser: Iggie Colomer
  • Casting Associate: Ashley Ingram
  • Executive Producer: Len Blavatnik
  • Assistant Editor: Anne O’Brien
  • ADR Recordist: Fredrick Cuevas
  • ADR Recordist: Reagan Mendoza
  • Lighting Technician: Sidney Brisco
  • Foley Editor: Heather Gross
  • Best Boy Grip: Hilton Garrett
  • ADR Mixer: Michael Miller
  • Editorial Staff: Richie Roefaro
  • Set Dresser: Stephen P. Durante
  • ADR Mixer: Billy Theriot
  • Sound Engineer: Avi Laniado
  • Costumer: Mollie Middleditch
  • First Assistant Camera: Richard Lacy
  • Production Accountant: Mike Revell
  • Production Sound Mixer: Dan Izen
  • Makeup Artist: Kellie Robinson
  • Grip: Jeremy Wren
  • Special Effects Technician: Edward Joubert
  • Additional Lighting Technician: Jordan Whaley
  • Boom Operator: Michael Piotrowski
  • Special Effects Technician: Jake Whitney
  • Set Dresser: Ed Burcham
  • Digital Intermediate Assistant: Christi Leftwich
  • Costume Illustrator: Chloe Ji Yoon
  • Electrician: Justin Wright
  • Ager/Dyer: Lesley D. Wickham
  • First Assistant Camera: Michael Charbonnet
  • Rigging Grip: Gerald Autin
  • Utility Sound: Steven Huerstel
  • Dolly Grip: Jeremy Webre
  • Painter: Sian C. Sanzone
  • Rigging Grip: John Vinson
  • Set Dresser: Tony Ziegler
  • Dolly Grip: Robert Morrison Jr.
  • Costume Assistant: Josie Works
  • Set Dresser: Sam Jacobs
  • Rigging Grip: Shawn Stone
  • Second Assistant Camera: Jonathan Robinson
  • Lighting Technician: Carter Lee Garrett
  • Rigging Grip: Raúl J. Marín
  • Dialect Coach: Thom Jones
  • Costumer: Kasey Bazil Young
  • Extras Casting Coordinator: Robin Batherson
  • Second Assistant Camera: Aeron McKeough
  • Compositing Supervisor: Mark Scott Friedman
  • Rigging Grip: Ben Wachsmann
  • Casting Associate: Kacee Devoe
  • Animal Wrangler: Jason Frannino
  • Electrician: Justin LeBlanc
  • Additional Lighting Technician: Zach Smithers
  • First Assistant Camera: Tom Hutchinson
  • Grip: Andy Young
  • Costume Coordinator: Carmen Rodrigues Davis
  • Lighting Technician: Pete Chiaramonte
  • Set Dresser: Jordan Lightner
  • Additional Lighting Technician: Bradley Martin
  • ADR Mixer: Jonathan Jost
  • Assistant Property Master: David Warburton
  • Set Dresser: Michael Dares
  • Graphic Designer: Will Eastin
  • Online Editor: Eric Leverenz
  • Boom Operator: James Eck Rippie
  • Rigging Grip: Creig Symons
  • Props: Stephen Finders
  • Painter: Sonda L. Rowland
  • Graphic Designer: Roger Johnson
  • Painter: Spencer J. Abadie
  • Painter: Camile Kelsey
  • Digital Imaging Technician: Damon Meledones
  • Generator Operator: Jason Prowell
  • Grip: Kevin Fannon
  • Grip: Jerone A. Ordon Sr.
  • Art Department Assistant: Josh Crouchet
  • Carpenter: Nicholas Ellerbee
  • Carpenter: Charlie Mann
  • Painter: Daniel E. Kiker
  • Matte Painter: Patrick Paul Mullane
  • Extras Casting: Christopher Stoudt
  • Costumer: Barbara Marko
  • Seamstress: Laura Faye Sirkin-Brown
  • Digital Intermediate Assistant: Ryan Rolandelli
  • Digital Intermediate: Eric Horwitz
  • Digital Intermediate: Patrick Rossi
  • First Assistant Accountant: Ryan Gomez
  • Producer’s Assistant: Davida Chanel Smith
  • Production Secretary: Carl Lawson
  • Second Assistant Accountant: Chantel Passantino
  • Second Assistant Accountant: Danielle Loosemore
  • Travel Coordinator: Ashley Renee Saunders

Movie Reviews:

  • CinemaSerf: We begin with some brutality at the hands of a character (Alex Pettyfer) who believes that the negroes on their cotton plantation are, quite literally, worthless. He rapes a woman then murders her husband when he raises a very mild objection! His mother (Vanessa Redgrave) takes a liking to their now orphaned boy and promotes him from the fields to be their houseboy. Learning how to keep his head down and to play the game, he quickly succeeds and ends up working in the White House. His period there (ending in the Reagan administration) allows for an interesting conduit to depict the evolution of the American civil rights movement, of changing (and not) attitudes and it gives a little insight into how the Oval Office and it’s occupants might work. The supporting cast list is impressive, but with the exception of Oprah Winfrey (his wife “Gloria”) most have but fleeting appearances as the story moves along. Their own life is not without heartache and troubles – one of their sons is determined to do what he can to fight for their freedom from oppression, an activity done at considerable peril to him and those around him. The narrative also, gently, exposes discrimination across the board – from salaries and promotion opportunities, to segregated seating at a milk bar, as well as nodding, tragically, to the war in Vietnam. Perhaps it is the gentle way in which it illustrates the prevalent racism that is most potent. It allows us to evolve with him, sometimes slowly, sometimes shockingly and that is to the credit of Whitaker who exudes a decency that is hard not to admire. The production is well paced with a complimentary soundtrack that is well worth a look.
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