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Billy Jack (1971)

GP  -  Action | Drama  -  2 August 1971 (Sweden)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 3,965 users  
Reviews: 114 user | 45 critic

Ex-Green Beret hapkido expert saves wild horses from being slaughtered for dog food and helps protect a desert "freedom school" for runaway.

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(as T.C. Frank)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay)
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Title: Billy Jack (1971)

Billy Jack (1971) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Clark Howat ...
Sheriff Cole
...
Doctor
Julie Webb ...
Barbara
Debbie Schock ...
Kit
Teresa Kelly ...
Carol
Lynn Baker ...
Sarah
Stan Rice ...
Martin
David Roya ...
John McClure ...
Dinosaur
Susan Foster ...
Cindy
Susan Sosa ...
Sunshine
Katy Moffatt ...
Maria
Gwen Smith ...
Angela
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Storyline

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 <2cool@zebra.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You've got due process, Mother's Day, supermarkets, the FBI, Medicare, air conditioning, AT&T, country clubs, Congress, a 2-car garage, state troopers, the Constitution, color television and democracy. They've got BILLY JACK See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 August 1971 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Billy, el defensor  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Hapkido fights in the film were choreographed by Hapkido Master Bong Soo Han. Master Han not only choreographed, but also body doubled for Tom Laughlin in the fight scenes. See more »

Goofs

Shadow of cameraman with camera visible on the back of a man's green shirt as Billy Jack surrenders himself to authorities near the end of movie. See more »

Quotes

Billy Jack: It's funny, isn't it? Only the white man wants everything put in writing, and only then so he can use it against you in court. You know, among the Indians a promise is good enough. As far as I can tell, Washington entered into 3,500 treaties with the Indians to date, and they've broken about 3,499 of 'em.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special Improvised Material by The Cast and The Committee See more »

Connections

Referenced in Yes Man (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

When Will Billy Love Me
Written and Sung by Lynn Baker
See more »

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User Reviews

An underappreciated masterwork
26 August 2001 | by (Dearborn, Michigan) – See all my reviews

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.


55 of 68 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Wow this is an awful movie allison9-2
billy jack was a great movie for its time kirbsmum
I don't understand... creeds00-1
Why didn't he bleed to death? Jinx-to-Ennien
Billy Jack 1971 and Billy Jack 2004 mrcleangarrett
Fight Scene nightpike11
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