7.9/10
13,374
104 user 46 critic

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

M/PG | | Drama | 1970 (Norway)
The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ruby
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Turkey
Robert Fields ...
Joel
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Cecil
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Shirl
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Mrs. Laydon
Jacquelyn Hyde ...
Jackie
Felice Orlandi ...
Mario
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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 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/PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1970 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

El baile interminable  »

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Technical Specs

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(original) | (current)

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gig Young was sick with the flu when he acted in this movie. See more »

Goofs

The film is supposed to take place in 1932. However, during the opening sequence posters for the films Varsity Show (1937) and Off the Record (1939) can be seen outside the ballroom on the pier. See more »

Quotes

[final scene]
Robert: [standing outside looking at the ocean] I used to love to look at he ocean, walk by it, just sit and listen to it. Now I don't care if I ever see it again.
Gloria Beatty: That, or anything else.
Robert: What are you gonna do know? Try in the movies again?
Gloria Beatty: No. I'd never make it. And maybe it wouldn't make no difference, even if I did. Maybe it's just the whole damn world is like central casting: They got it all rigged before you ever show up.
Robert: I know what you mean. I know just what you mean.
Gloria Beatty: Do you?
Robert: What *...
[...]
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

By the Beautiful Sea
(1914) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Carroll
Played at the Dance Marathon during a race
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Deeply unsettling and emotionally draining
25 June 2007 | by 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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