7.9/10
12,176
100 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
Comedy | Western | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Sonny Steele used to be a rodeo star, but his next appearance is to be on a Las Vegas stage, wearing a suit covered in lights, advertising a breakfast cereal. When he finds out they are ... See full summary »

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Valerie Perrine
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
The Yakuza (1974)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Harry Kilmer returns to Japan after several years in order to rescue his friend George's kidnapped daughter - and ends up on the wrong side of the Yakuza, the notorious Japanese mafia...

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Ken Takakura, Brian Keith
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 | 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
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
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
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
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
...
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 he'll make it. Robert and Gloria meet and decide to enter a dance marathon, one of the crazes of the 1930's. 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 | Plot 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

Holds the record for the movie with the most Academy Award nominations without a nomination for Best Picture: 9. See more »

Goofs

When they're 'jogging' around the dance floor, Gloria's shirt is soaked with sweat. The next shot it has only one sweat spot, and in the next it's all drenched again. See more »

Quotes

Robert: Suppose we did win? What would you do with it?
Gloria Beatty: What, what, what?
Robert: The money.
Gloria Beatty: Maybe I'd buy some good rat poison.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fired Up: They Sell Horses, Don't They? (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Paradise
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Played at the Dance Marathon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Grisly, Sickly Entertaining Film
20 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A brutally bleak screen adaptation of the pulpy Horace McCoy novella, about a Depression-era dance marathon where down-and-outers drive themselves to the brink of exhaustion to win the cash prize.

This film has become relevant again today in the age of reality T.V., where people tune in to watch strangers be humiliated, rejected and made fun of. Meanness and suffering sells today, and apparently it sold back then as well. The M.C. of the dance marathon, played wonderfully by Gig Young in one of his last (if not the last) film performances before the troubled actor murdered his wife and then killed himself, creates little narratives and dramas around each of the dancers, so that the audience can have their favorites to root for. Every once in a while, someone will show off a special talent, singing a song or hoofing a little dance number, and the audience will throw change at them, which the performer then frantically scrabbles up like a desperate pigeon. The cast of dancers is led by Jane Fonda, in a break-out role as Gloria, the jaded woman-of-the-world who's seen it all and doesn't want to see anymore; Susannah York, as a pretentious wannabe actress, who acts up a storm during a mesmerizing breakdown scene; Red Buttons, as an aging ex-serviceman who struggles to keep up with the young kids around him; and Bruce Dern and Bonnie Bedelia, as a sweet couple of country bumpkins who are desperate to win the cash for their unborn baby. And yes, that is Al Lewis (aka Grandpa Munster) lurking around in the background as one of the dance marathon officials.

Director Sydney Pollack vastly improves on the source material, making something much richer and deeper out of McCoy's lurid novella. He uses an edgy, jarring style that's suited perfectly to the material, and which he would never again display.

"They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" holds a sort of grisly fascination over its audience. Bleak as it is, it's also entertaining in a rather morbid way, making us feel like we're members of the audience watching this sick spectacle and making it that much harder for us to condemn the film audience without labeling ourselves as hypocrites.

Grade: A


57 of 64 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:
?