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Plot, Details & Awards

The Spitfire Grill

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements.

PG-13 In Theaters 09/6/1996 , 116min.
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Plot & Details

This debut drama from writer-director Lee David Zlotoff (creator of the TV series MacGyver) won the audience award at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. Alison Elliott stars as Percy Talbott, an ex-convict who's come to the small Maine town of Gilead in the hope of finding work and a place to start her life over again. With the help of the local sheriff, she lands a waitress job at the Spitfire Grill, eventually winning over the crusty owner Hannah (Ellen Burstyn) and simple-minded fellow waitress Shelby (Marcia Gay Harden) with her hard work and trustworthiness. Percy even finds a new love with a woodsman, Joe (Kieran Mulroney) and befriends a hermit (John M. Jackson) who lives in the nearby woods and is regularly fed by Hannah. When Hannah falls ill, Percy devises a scheme to help her sell the café in a national contest, but Shelby's husband Nahum (Will Patton) doesn't trust Percy's motives -- and his suspicion leads to tragedy. The Spitfire Grill, which played as a cross between To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), got initial financing from an organization of Roman Catholic priests and sold at Sundance for a then-record $10 million.

Sundance Film Festival

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Won

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