The Spitfire Grill (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Spitfire Grill1996

The Spitfire Grill (1996)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Spitfire Grill Photos

Movie Info

With the help of her former warden, ex-con Percy Talbott moves to Gilead, Maine to make a fresh start. She gets a job waiting tables at the Spitfire Grill and rents a room above it. The cafe proprietor is the irritable Hannah Ferguson. Friendliness is not a word used to describe Gilead and the locals are suspicious of Percy. That she does not conceal her incarceration does not help them warm to her. This gentle drama tinged with joy and sadness centers on the relationships between Percy, the townsfolk and the Spitfire Grill. One day Hannah suffers a bad fall and is forced to bed to recover. To help her, shrewd local businessman Nahum Goddard, whose biggest concern is preserving the character of the town so as to attract renewed interest in an abandoned granite quarry, sends his introverted wife, Shelby to help Percy at the Grill. His ulterior motive is to have Shelby spy on her and report anything strange, but Shelby and Percy instead become good friends. Eventually, the three women decide to sell the restaurant by holding a national raffle/essay contest in which contestants send in $100 and an composition explaining why they want it.

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Alison Elliott
as Percy Talbott
Ellen Burstyn
as Hannah Ferguson
Marcia Gay Harden
as Shelby Goddard
Will Patton
as Nahum Goddard
Kieran Mulroney
as Joe Sperling
Gailard Sartain
as Sheriff Gary Walsh
Louise De Cormier
as Effy Katshaw
John M. Jackson
as Johnny B.
Ida Griesemer
as Rebecca Goddard
Lincoln Grow
as Molly Goddard
Louise Grow
as Molly Goddard
Sam Lloyd Sr.
as Meeshack Boggs
Patty Smith
as Customer No. 1
Faith Caitlin
as Neighbor
Janet St. Onge
as Town Member No. 2
Jim Hogue
as Deputy
Cliff Levering
as Aaron Sperling
Dennis Mientka
as Customer No. 2
Stuart Jackson
as Customer No. 3
Monica Callan
as Woman at Bar
Richard Addis
as Man at Bar
View All

Critic Reviews for The Spitfire Grill

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (8)

It's an unabashedly manipulative, melodramatic tearjerker with plot twists that Horatio Alger would have been embarrassed to use, and the fact that it's so well acted only confuses the issue.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Original in some ways but the same old plate of fried green tomatoes in others, this Sundance Festival favorite might rate wider acclaim for its two leads if the overall tone weren't so bloodless and even dreary.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4
Top Critic

It's really quite good and Ellen Burstyn is great

December 5, 2020 | Full Review…

Like High Plains Drifter as a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation.

February 3, 2007 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Methodical and lyrical in its well-paced movement. A durable and devoted drama that is so unassuming in its execution

June 26, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

Soul-satisfying movie about the spiritual process of turning pain into joy and bringing new life out of darkness.

August 28, 2002 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Spitfire Grill


Saw this years ago, remember thinking it was okay, but pretty predictable and overall nothing impressive considering actors like Ellen Burstyn and Marcia Gay Harden were in this film. Can't say I remember much of the movie, other than the fact that it's a character study about an ex-convict trying to start over. If you want a great movie with a similar plot and a much better ending, "Sling Blade" is your safer bet.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

A beautiful movie. The characters are memorable. I wish they made movies like this more often.

Dannielle Albert
Dannielle Albert

Super Reviewer

One of my favorites...

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

The Spitfire Grill Quotes

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