After Billy Jack in sentenced to four years in prison for the "involuntary manslaughter" of the first film, the Freedom School expands and flourishes under the guidance of Jean Roberts. The... See full summary »
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Billy Jack is a half-Indian/half-white ex-Green Beret who is being drawn more and more toward his Indian side. He hates violence, but can't get away from it in the white man's world. Pitting the good guys, the students of the peace-loving free-arts school in the desert vs. the conservative bad guys in the near-by town, the movie plays definitive late-60s themes/messages: anti-establishment, make love not war, the senseless slaughter of God's creatures, the rape of society (figuratively and literally), two-sided justice, racial segregation and prejudices. Written by
Nic Cage <email@example.com>
The unusual kick that Billy Jack uses in the fight in the park is known in Hapkido as an "Outside Crescent Kick", a technique in which the leg is raised and swung outward striking with the outside edge of the foot. The kick was executed by legendary Hapkido Master Bong Soo Han. See more »
In the scene at the malt shop where Bernard and Dinosaur are picking on the students, he's dumping flour on the kids to make them white. The girl with the headband slaps him and you can see that there is no flour in his scoop. Then he turns and there's flour in it. See more »
[the deputy is holding one of the school's girls at gunpoint as Billy Jack approaches]
Now you drop that gun or I'll shoot her!
I'm not gonna ask you again.
You won't have to.
I said shoot her.
You'd kill her? just like that?
[shakes his head]
You'll kill her.
[points his rifle]
And then I'll kill you. Just like that.
See more »
Special Improvised Material by The Cast and The Committee See more »
It is true that Tom Laughlin does not look like an Indian, half-breed or otherwise. It is true that some of the scenes, particularly the scenes improvised by the committee, are unnecessary (though extremely funny) and the film itself is too long. It is true that the martial arts scenes in this film are few and far between. However:
The film is not a martial arts film and it deals more with the spirit of being an Indian, a true American, than it is about the looks of one.
Often dismissed as a cheesy karate movie, BILLY JACK is in fact an excellent study of conflicting idealogies, of violence as a quick but by no means correct solution, and of the different varieties of love. Though it is much too long a film, the sheer enthusiasm and love for the children that Jean (Dolores Taylor) expresses gets the viewer involved on an emotional level. While we cannot justify Billy Jack's (Tom Laughlin) actions, we know he is doing it out of love for Jean. We feel the rage he feels towards Bernard, a character that is suprisingly deftly acted. At the start of the film, we sympathize with him; by the time he has raped Jean we, like Billy, want to rip him a couple of new orifices. His well-deserved death is quick and pathetic, like the shooting of the dog.
Billy Jack himself is an American icon, the true definition of a hero, presented in such a way that the audience questions their own ideas about heroism.
The characters are well-drawn, the cinematography breath-taking, the improvised scenes much funnier than anything to hit SNL in a long time. So why is it that this film, the most financially-successful independent film to EVER exist, is so often dismissed as nothing more than a bad karate movie? Because of bad marketing, for one thing; the other is the way it's often described: "A half-breed indian Vietnam Vet played by a white guy protects a 'hippie' school from bigotry." Much like the Freedom School that Billy seeks to protect, the film itself is marred by such bigotry and misconceptions.
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