* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: Karl's [[spoiler: baptism]].
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: [[spoiler: [[PapaWolf "Mister, don't you never lay another hand on that boy, you understand me?"]]]] Also, [[spoiler: Frank snaps and throws everything he can reach when Doyle crosses his MoralEventHorizon.]]
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: All of Daniel Lanois's score. Also a well-placed country ballad when Karl and Melinda are on their 'date' and [[spoiler: [[HeartwarmingMoment she brings him flowers]]]].
* CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming: [[spoiler: As Karl prepares to leave, he sits by the lake with his new best friend, the boy Frank. Karl gingerly puts his arm around Frank and says, "I love you, boy." [[ManlyTears Not a dry eye in my head when I first saw it.]]]]
** [[spoiler: Also, after Karl revisits his home and gives a ReasonYouSuckSpeech to his senile/insane old father, he visits the gravesite he created so long ago for his premature little brother and honors him briefly... "Little feller."]]
** Karl proclaims that he'd never hurt Linda or Frankie, and would lay his hand on the Bible and say the same thing.
* HollywoodHomely: Billy Bob Thornton was told by Billy Wilder that he was too ugly to be an actor and should write a screenplay to exploit his features
* HeReallyCanAct: Billy Bob Thornton is so known for playing Jerks and Sleazes that seeing Him as the gentle but unstable Karl is something of a shock.
** Also, country singer DwightYoakam is surprisingly damn frightening as Doyle.
*** When promoting the film on LateNightWithConanOBrien, Yoakam shared an amusing anecdote about how he knew he had done a good job when after the premiere, his own mother looked him dead in the eyes and said "[[spoiler: I'm glad he killed you!]]".
* [[IAmNotShazam Some folks call me Shazam]]: Because of the film, "Sling Blade" is used by some as a derogatory term for the mentally challenged.
* MoralEventHorizon: Doyle's may be when he flings poor Terrence in his wheelchair against the screen door in the act of kicking his band out.
** [[spoiler:Frank Childers's was carried out long before the events of the movie, as related by Karl: he expected Karl to dispose of his premature little brother as though he were trash; the follow-through to this unseen event is shown in the HeartwarmingMoment above.]]
* TearJerker: [[spoiler: Karl relating to Frankie how his father made him dispose of his prematurely-born little brother in a trash barrel, when he was "six or eight"; even then it didn't seem right, so Karl took the tiny being and gave him a decent burial in the backyard.]]
** [[spoiler: Made a bit worse by the fact Frankie delivers a WhatTheHellHero to Karl for this; but being mentally challenged and a little boy, he had no idea how to care for any baby, let alone a premature one, so it was a bit misplaced; still, [[FridgeBrilliance it does speak to Frankie's high moral fiber]].]]
*** [[spoiler: This thread is left hanging until a bit farther in the movie, when the [[HeartwarmingMoments Crowning Moment of Heartwarming]] mentioned above happens... [[ManlyTears When he said, "Little feller..."]]]]
* TheWoobie: Frankie. He is consistently oppressed by his mother's boyfriend, [[DeletedScene as well as constantly being turned down by his crush Karen Cross]]. He does get his share of hugs, but don't you feel like you need to give him one more?
** To say Karl had a crappy life is one heck of an understatement. He was forced to live his childhood in a shed with a dirt floor, sleeping in a hole in the ground. He was bullied constantly by all the children his own age and treated like crap by everyone including his own parents right up until he killed his mother and her lover.