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

M  |   |  Drama  |  13 August 1970 (Argentina)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 11,684 users  
Reviews: 97 user | 41 critic

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



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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
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
Julia (1977)
    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 | 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
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A naive hustler goes to New York to seek personal fortune but in the process finds himself a new friend.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The loons are back again on Golden Pond and so are Norman Thayer, a retired professor, and Ethel who have had a summer cottage there since early in their marriage. This summer their ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Rydell
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda
The Swimmer (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Neddy Merrill has been away for most of the Summer. He reappears at a friends pool. As they talk, someone notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley. He decided to jog from ... See full summary »

Directors: Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Janet Landgard, Janice Rule
Women in Love (1969)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The battle of the sexes and relationships among the elite of Britian's industrial Midlands in the 1920s. Gerald Crich and Rupert Berkin are best friends who fall in love with a pair of ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, Glenda Jackson
Hud (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Hud Bannon is a ruthless young man who tarnishes everything and everyone he touches. Hud represents the perfect embodiment of alienated youth, out for kicks with no regard for the ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal


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




M | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 August 1970 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

El baile interminable  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(original) | (current)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Warren Beatty and Robert Redford were considered for the role of Robert Syverton. See more »


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 »


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...
See more »


(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.

41 of 52 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
Has anyone ever wondered why? darlakarla
With all due respect to Klute.... momphone
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: