They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

M  |   |  Drama  |  13 August 1970 (Argentina)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 11,678 users  
Reviews: 97 user | 41 critic

The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Fields ...
Severn Darden ...
Madge Kennedy ...
Jacquelyn Hyde ...
Felice Orlandi ...


Gloria is a young woman of the Depression. She has aged beyond her years and feels her life is hopeless, having been cheated and betrayed many times in her past. While recovering from a suicide attempt, she gets the idea from a movie magazine to head for Hollywood to make it as an actress. Robert is a desperate Hollywood citizen trying to become a director, never doubting that he'll make it. Robert and Gloria meet and decide to enter a dance marathon, one of the crazes of the thirties. The grueling dancing takes its toll on Gloria's already weakened spirit, and she tells Robert that she'd be better off dead, that her life is hopeless - all the while acting cruelly and bitterly, alienating those around her, trying to convince him to shoot her and put her out of her misery. After all, they shoot horses, don't they? Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


People are the ultimate spectacle




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 August 1970 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

El baile interminable  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(original) | (current)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sydney Pollack shot some of the frightening derby sequences himself, donning a pair of roller skates to get right in the action with the frantically heel/toe-ing actors. See more »


The Edward Heyman/Johnny Green song "Easy Come Easy Go", which is used as the film's title theme and is performed by a singer at the fictional dance marathon, was not published until 1934 (two years after the film's 1932 setting). See more »


Rocky: That's what were all interested in, isn't it? The show?
Robert: No, it's a contest. Isn't that what it's supposed to be? Isn't that what you advertised? A contest?
Rocky: Not for them. For you maybe, but not for them. Do you think they're laying out two bits a throw just to watch you poke your head up into the sunlight or Alice look like she just stepped out of a beauty parlor? They don't give a damn whether you win or James and Ruby or Mario and Jackie or the Man in the Moon and Little Miss Muffet. They just...
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References Off the Record (1939) See more »


Sweet Sue, Just You
(1928) (uncredited)
Music by Victor Young
Played at the Dance Marathon
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Deeply unsettling and emotionally draining
25 June 2007 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

During the Depression, many had nothing... and the few that did were almost equally as miserable. This movie displays a dance marathon, held for the entertainment of the latter, and the expense of the former. The contestants dance for daily meals and a place to sleep, and the weak hope of a prize, if they are the last couple standing. The rules are cruel, and whilst the many dancers fight to remain standing, the audience is served snacks and fast-food. The film shows how callous people can be, sometimes. The plot is magnificent, the story-telling excellent. Acting(Sarrazin can exude an extraordinary amount of emotion through his eyes), casting, editing(with extremely few slightly weak moments), pacing, direction, cinematography, lighting, music, production design, everything, it's all amazing. This is a very difficult film to watch(which is by no means to say that I regret doing so). It is not entertainment, nor is it something to escape one's everyday life with. It is brutal and uncompromising, a window into an era and an event, both of which show humanity at its worst. A masterpiece. I intend to look for other films by Pollack, there is no doubt about that... fortunately, my fiancée has told me that he has done lighter fare(I would prefer watching something less bleak than this for the next of his movies I view). This is a very important movie, particularly in today's world, where reality shows are all over TV. I recommend this to anyone certain that they can sit through it. 8/10

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