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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 4,027 users  
Reviews: 115 user | 44 critic

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

Director:

(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:

When you need him, he's always there! 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

Contract disputes between Laughlin and various producers caused the film to change hands between three different film studios, and delaying its release for three years. In 1973, Laughlin filed a fifty-one million dollar lawsuit against Warner studios for "improperly publicizing" Billy Jack. See more »

Goofs

In the barber shop, the hands of the barber on the customer's head don't match up with his reflected position in the barber shop mirrors. See more »

Quotes

Billy Jack: Being an Indian is not a matter of blood... it's a way of life.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

One Tin Soldier
Sung by Jinx Dawson of Coven
Written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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.


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