7.9/10
11,851
98 user 41 critic

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

Trailer
3:05 | Trailer
The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Klute (1971)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A small-town detective searching for a missing man has only one lead: a connection with a New York prostitute.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Charles Cioffi
Coming Home (1978)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A woman whose husband is fighting in Vietnam falls in love with another man who suffered a paralyzing combat injury there.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern
Julia (1977)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

At the behest of an old and dear friend, playwright Lillian Hellman undertakes a dangerous mission to smuggle funds into Nazi Germany.

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant.

Director: James Bridges
Stars: Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A railroad official, Owen Legate comes to Dodson, Mississippi to shut down much of the town's railway (town's main income). Owen unexpectedly finds love with Dodson's flirt and main ... See full summary »

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Natalie Wood, Robert Redford, Charles Bronson
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson
A Doll's House II (1973)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Nora Helmer has years earlier committed a forgery in order to save the life of her authoritarian husband Torvald. Now she is being blackmailed lives in fear of her husband's finding out and... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Jane Fonda, Edward Fox, Trevor Howard
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Paul, a conservative young lawyer, marries the vivacious Corie. Their highly passionate relationship descends into comical discord in a five-flight New York City walk-up apartment.

Director: Gene Saks
Stars: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Charles Boyer
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two desperate people have a wonderful romance, but their political views and convictions drive them apart.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Bradford Dillman
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.

Director: Mark Rydell
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians, and proves to be a match for their warriors in one-on-one combat on the early frontier.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Will Geer, Delle Bolton
Tootsie (1982)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Michael Dorsey, an unsuccessful actor disguises himself as a woman in order to get a role on a trashy hospital soap.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr
Edit

Cast

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

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 August 1970 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

El baile interminable  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (current)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The Rolling Stones used the film's set as a rehearsal space prior to a pair of shows at The Forum as part of their 1969 U.S. tour. See more »

Goofs

The film is supposed to take place in 1932. However, during the opening sequence posters for the films Varsity Show and Off the Record can be seen outside the ballroom on the pier. See more »

Quotes

Rocky: You know somethin', Turkey? My old man never got out of the fourth grade. When it came to people, he didn't know his ass from his elbow. You know what he was? He was a faith healer. I used to travel the circuit with him. I was the one he healed. I was the shill to get the crowd set up. "Walk, my boy. When I lay my hand on you, you will walk." You will walk. Sodden old bastard. He thought it was him they believed in, but it was me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in ...Promises to Keep (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Can-Can
(1858) (uncredited)
from "Orphée aux enfers"
Written by Jacques Offenbach
Played at the Dance Marathon during a race
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Hard To Watch, But A Memorable Story
4 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I saw this movie in the theater over 35 years ago, I found it very interesting and one of those movies you don't forget about an hour after you leave the theater. This was a haunting type of story, especially when my folks, who went with me, informed me that these marathon type of dance contests really did happen. The characters might have been fictional, but not story of these awful contests.

Jane Fonda plays the central character, "Gloria Beatty," an angry-at-the-world and profane woman who certainly has a cynical attitude. It almost echoed her real-life persona at the time, but I won't go there. I was more fascinated with Gig Young's performance in this film as the ruthless dance promoter - emcee "Rocky." To me - and Academy Award voters - his performance stands out among all the others, even though everyone does an outstanding job. That includes director Sydney Pollack, who had only made a few movies until this one.

The deep cast in this film did not include big-name stars but they were known celebrities: actors like Michael Sarrazin, Susannah York, Red Buttons, Bonnie Bedalia, Bruce Dern and Al Lewis.

This is a sad tale of desperate people in desperate times trying to make a few extra bucks during the Great Depression years. Dancing in pairs, they literally risked their health by trying to stay on their feet by dancing longer than every other couple. One became mentally exhausted just watching these poor people on screen trying to survive these "marathons."

Like a lot of movies which deal with unpleasant topics, this is a haunting film that will leave you thinking about it for a long time afterward. I can't say I enjoyed watching it the second time around, on VHS - Fonda's nastiness too much to take - but I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from watching this movie. It's a story about an unique event in American history guaranteed to be one you won't forget.


43 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Would you watch this film again? boramaster
What are your top 10 most depressing movies? Vergilya
Winners paying expenses 2004RedSox
With all due respect to Klute.... momphone
Has anyone ever wondered why? darlakarla
Please explain Alice shower scene? edunn91
Discuss They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?