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Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) is having difficulty adjusting to his hard-labor sentence in Mississippi. He scams his way off the chain gang with simple Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) and maladjusted Pete (John Turturro), then the trio sets out to pursue freedom and the promise of a fortune in buried treasure. With nothing to lose and still in shackles, their hasty run takes them on an incredible journey of awesome experiences and colorful characters.


In black, we hear a chain-gang chant, many voices together,

spaced around the unison strike of picks against rock. A

title burns in:

O muse!

Sing in me, and through me tell the story

Of that man skilled in all the ways of contending...

A wanderer, harried for years on end...

On the sound of an impact we cut to:


splitting a rock.

As the chant continues, wider angles show the chain-gang at

work. They are black men in bleached and faded stripes,

chained together, working under a brutal midday sun.

It is flat delta countryside; the straight-ruled road

stretches to infinity. Mounted guards with shotguns lazily

patrol the line.

The chain-gang chant is regular and, it seems, timeless.

We slowly fade out, returning to


The last of the voices fades.

After a long beat we hear the guitar introduction to Harry

McClintock's 'The Big Rock Candy Mountain.'


A road cuts across the middle background. Noonday sun beats


We hear the distant picks and shovels of men at work and

see, rising above ground level, the occasional upraised pick

and spade heaving dirt. Men are digging a ditch alongside

the road.

After a long beat, three men pop up in the wheat field in

the middle foreground. They wear faded stripes and grey duck-

billed caps. They scurry abreast toward the camera, throwing

an occasional glance back at the ditch-diggers. A clanking

sound accompanies their run. Oddly, the wheat between them

sweeps down as they run. After a brief sprint they drop back

down into the wheat.

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Coen brothers

Joel David Coen and Ethan Jesse Coen, collectively referred to as the Coen brothers, are American filmmakers. more…

All Coen brothers scripts | Coen brothers Books

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