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

M  |   |  Drama  |  13 August 1970 (Argentina)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 11,146 users  
Reviews: 95 user | 40 critic

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

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(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

People are the ultimate spectacle

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

13 August 1970 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

El baile interminable  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (current)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter James Poe planned to make his directing debut with this film, seeing it as a low-budget movie without stars. He had planned to use Shirley Knight as Gloria, Lionel Stander as Rocky, Allen Jenkins as Sailor and his own wife Barbara Steele in another role. The deal fell through, the film became much more expensive, Poe's script was rewritten (and, he claimed, softened) and stars were cast in the leading roles - some of them former clients of ex-agent Martin Baum, who was involved in producing the film. See more »

Goofs

When Sailor (Red Buttons) is passed out, two referees take his pants off him to dunk him into a tub of ice water; Buttons lifts up his hips so they can easily remove his pants. See more »

Quotes

Gloria Beatty: What is this?
Rocky: Tabs on you and Robert.
Gloria Beatty: You're charging me this?
Rocky: Only if you win. If you don't win, you don't pay. I'm not out to cheat anybody.
Gloria Beatty: Oh, Jesus!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Biography: Al Lewis: Forever Grandpa (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Pop Goes the Weasel
(1853) (uncredited)
Music anonymous
Arranged by Charles Twiggs (1859)
Played at the Dance Marathon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The Grand Prize: Surviving The Depression!!!!
13 October 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As I first noticed the credits to this movie, it came to my attention that Sydney Pollack was the director of this film... This should come as no surprise to me, Sydney Pollack is one of the greatest directors in Hollywood!! He pinpoints reality to an unprecedented succinctness level!! Reality is often times a subtle yet very rude formidability with indisputable facts that will decimate anyone or anything that gets in the way!!The movie "They Shoot Horses Don't They" depicts a cross section of individuals who masquerade a paper thin veneer of flippancy about them selves. These actions serve as a subterfuge for the fact that they have been mangled by the Depression!! Everybody is at the same place, a dance marathon.. By tittle, a dance marathon would seemingly suggest a sort of paraded panacea, in reality, it is a cinematic slaughterhouse!! Such an event cultivates a macabre audience whose voyeuristic amusement is based on witnessing human misery.. The tragic social pitfalls of financial collapse caused by the Great Depression are the culprits to spurring on these dance marathons, nevertheless, regardless of cause and effect, the show must go on!!

As the movie lingers on, it portrays the desperation and apocalyptic suffering all of the major characters endure... This needless agony is all in the hopes that they will win the grand prize.. The indigence everybody is victimized by sparks a pejorative identification that all involved parties are afflicted with!! All of them are mired in an abyss of despondence and gridlocked by the sorry element of individual demoralization!!

The acting in this movie is absolutely phenomenal!! Jane Fonda is superb at portraying the disgruntled spawn of economic hardship!! Her witty retorts and justified pathos resonate themselves to a point of insignificant consolation and comfort for her overall situation!! Gig Young is terrific as the dance marathon coordinator, he has become callous as a necessary defense mechanism for his basic survival!! Jane Fonda's dance partner, Michael Sarrazin, must expedite moral imperatives, his final dilemma makes him very peccant, this is accompanied by a gargantuan ethical conundrum!! That is all I can say without giving away the plot to this movie!! As I previously stated, Sydney Pollack does a remarkable job directing this film!! All of the dance marathon victims have become sullen and dejected!! The Depression has evoked a totally effective form of vilification to each and every one of them by making them realize the outcome of their end results!! Heroics would allow people to rise above adversity, even the Great Depression!! Reality, however, dictates that the vast majority of Americans did not fall through the cracks, nor, did they divide and conquer... the fact is, that anonymity and attrition relegated most working class Americans to tragic statistics!! The dreadful circumstances of the Depression cogently asserted that many lives were virtually categorized as utterly valueless!!

The talent and powerful story line make this film worth seeing!! Reality is a prevailing quality in a film, even if it is difficult to stomach, try to remember that and you will probably enjoy this film quite a bit!! Catastrophe has been calculated in this movie, to effectuate tragic poignancy to the letter of the law!! The law of the jungle that is!! If one of your favorite hobbies is ruminating the unfortunate truth, then, you will like this film very much!!!!!


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