The Newton Boys

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The Newton Boys
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Linklater
Produced by Keith Fletcher
John Sloss
Clark Lee Walker
Claude Stanush
Screenplay by Clark Lee Walker
Richard Linklater
Based on The Newton Boys
by Claude Stanush & David Middleton; State House Press; 1994
Music by Edward D. Barnes
Cinematography Peter James
Edited by Sandra Adair
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • March 27, 1998 (1998-03-27)
Running time
122 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $27 million
Box office $10,452,012

The Newton Boys is a 1998 American comedy-drama film based on the true story of the Newton Gang, a family of bank robbers from Uvalde, Texas. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, who was actually born in Uvalde, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Dwight Yoakam. It was filmed throughout Texas including the towns of Bertram, Austin, Bartlett, New Braunfels, and San Antonio.


A miscarriage of justice lands Willis Newton in prison, and he learns quickly that as a convict his only way up the social ladder is through having money. With two others, Slim and Glasscock, he carries out a bank robbery in broad daylight. Slim is caught when the three of them try to escape on horseback while the sheriff chases them in a car. Willis and Glasscock later find a bank director who buys the looted war bonds and sells them information on plenty of other banks. Henceforth, Willis and Glasscock rob banks at night and get away by car. Glasscock turns out to be an expert with nitroglycerin. Willis talks his brothers into supporting him. He tells them that bankers are the worst crooks of all and therefore robbing them of their money would only mean that little thieves are stealing from big thieves. He also says all banks are insured anyway and the insurance companies ought to be thankful because they would not be able to sell any insurance if there were no bank robberies.

The Newton gang is very prolific and some bankers prove to be the crooks Willis takes them for because they exaggerate their losses. Then the insurance companies force banks to invest in enhanced safes, which can withstand nitroglycerin. Consequently, the Newton Gang goes to Toronto and ambushes a cash transport in broad daylight. Despite an elaborate plan, many things go awry and the gang members are scarcely able to escape. Willis decides to become "legal", but the oil well he buys is a huge setback that costs him nearly all his money. In his despair he goes so far as to tell his wife that God did not want him to be "legit". After that he is easily lured into another criminal endeavor. He becomes very enthusiastic about a night-time train robbery. Unfortunately Glasscock is not as good with a gun as he was with nitroglycerin. He confuses Dock Newton with a guard, panics and shoots him. Willis needs to bring his wounded brother to a doctor, and this undertaking eventually blows their cover.

All the Newton brothers are finally arrested and sentenced.



The film received mixed reviews from critics, with a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 38 reviews.[1]


  1. ^ "The Newton Boys (1998)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 

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