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Johnny Cash’s Fame and Struggles In “Walk the Line” Movie

walk the line movie

When you are a fan of your favorite artist in any genre, you will either feel these three things whenever their lives are put into film: inspired, in awe, and just amazed.

The Walk the Line movie, released on September 4, 2005, is the creation born from director and screenwriter James Mangold as he was inspired by the autobiographies of Johnny Cash. People and fans left positive reviews and praise as it showed the life of Johnny Cash and how his country music career started to rise. From his humble beginnings as a son of cotton farmers to his rising fame and a huge downfall, the film depicts Johnny’s resilience and passion not only for music but also for the ones he truly loves.

The movie earned praise from country music fans and non-fans as well because they can see the upbringing of Johnny Cash and his struggles with addiction. The film was superb, and beautifully directed according to some reviews, and others were listening to Johnny Cash’s songs ever since they watched the movie. There were also a lot of appreciation for the actors and actresses who absolutely nailed their roles in the movie.

About the Film

Walk the Line movie stars John R. Cash, now famously known as Johnny Cash, who is born to a family of cotton farmers in Arkansas. He grew up with his parents, Ray and Carrie, and his brother, Jack. While Johnny was out fishing one day, Jack was killed in an accident. Their father started putting the blame on Johnny for the horrible incident that happened to Jack and said that the wrong son was taken.

While trying to move on from the loss of his brother, Johnny enlisted in the US Air Force, purchased his first guitar, and started writing songs. Inspired, he wrote his song “Folsom Prison Blues” after watching a movie about Folsom Prison. 

In 1954, he married Vivian Liberto, his girlfriend, and moved to Tennessee. Johnny worked as a door-to-door salesman to support his wife and family.

He organized a band together with his two friends and auditioned for Sun Records. The owner, Sam Phillips, firstly was not impressed with their gospel music. But after the band sang “Folsom Prison Blues,” they signed Johnny and his friends and began touring as Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two. The band got to play along with other big names during the time, such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley.

While on tour, Johnny meets June Carter, whom he falls in love with almost immediately. But along with that feeling of love for June, his love for alcohol and drugs start to develop.

Johnny’s tour continues, and his wife apparently goes on tour with him. Vivian, at this point, is already skeptical about Johnny and June’s relationship.

One evening, Johnny was behaving erratically and passed out on stage. June noticed that maybe it was the pills Johnny had taken the night before. June disposed of all of Johnny’s drugs and wrote “Ring of Fire” to describe her pain as she sees Johnny fall further into addiction.

This is where Johnny’s life started to spiral out of control.

Johnny was arrested when he decided to buy more drugs in Mexico. His wife, Vivian, filed for divorce, and he was left to move to Nashville. 

After a Thanksgiving meal with Johnny and June’s family, June’s mother told her daughter to help Johnny with his struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. June complies, and she tells Johnny that they were given the second chance that they needed.

Eventually, Johnny and June went together on tour. After performing “Ring of Fire,” Johnny invites June to go on stage with him for a duet, but he stops mid-performance to propose to June, to which she said yes.

The Film’s Cast

The Walk the Line movie cast delivered their roles perfectly. With Joaquin Phoenix playing Johnny Cash, Reese Witherspoon as June Carter, Robert Patrick as Ray Cash, Ginnifer Goodwin as Vivian Cash, and Dallas Roberts as Sam Phillips, the fans are sure to be in awe of their performances as they said their lines with such ease and accuracy, especially with Phoenix nailing the main role.

Tyler Hilton and Waylon Payne also made their appearances in the movie as Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, respectively.

Walk the Line Movie Soundtrack

The platinum-certified original soundtrack of Walk the Line featured songs originally composed and sung by Johnny Cash, and others are sung by the actors and actresses themselves. 

  1. Get Rhythm
  2. I Walk the Line
  3. Wildwood Flower
  4. Lewis Boogie
  5. Ring of Fire
  6. You’re My Baby
  7. Cry! Cry! Cry!
  8. Folsom Prison Blues
  9. That’s All Right
  10. Juke Box Blues
  11. It Ain’t Me Babe
  12. Home of the Blues
  13. Milk Cow Blues
  14. I’m a Long Way from Home
  15. Cocaine Blues
  16. Jackson

Walk the Line also included additional songs that were not featured on the CD. The songs were “Engine 143,” “Didn’t It Rain,” “I Was There When It Happened,” and “Rock N’ Roll Ruby.”

The original soundtrack topped the US Billboard Soundtrack Albums chart while it ranked #3 on the Top Country Albums.

Where to Watch the Movie

The Walk the Line movie is already available on Hulu, Prime Video, Google Play Movies, and Disney+.

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