6.1/10
6,768
44 user 39 critic

Boxcar Bertha (1972)

During the Great Depression, a union leader and a young woman become criminals to exact revenge on the management of a railroad.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay) (as Joyce H. Corrington) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

I Call First (1967)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A young man struggles with the fact that his girlfriend was once raped.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Harvey Keitel, Zina Bethune, Anne Collette
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A recently widowed woman is on the road with her precocious young son, determined to make a new life for herself as a singer.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristofferson, Mia Bendixsen
Drama | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An egotistical saxophonist and a young singer meet on V-J Day and embark upon a strained and rocky romance, even as their careers begin a long, up-hill climb.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Liza Minnelli, Robert De Niro, Lionel Stander
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Martin Scorsese interviews his mother and father about their life in New York City and the family history back in Sicily. These are two people who have lived together for a long time and ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Catherine Scorsese, Charles Scorsese, Martin Scorsese
Kundun (1997)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

From childhood to adulthood, Tibet's fourteenth Dalai Lama deals with Chinese oppression and other problems.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong, Gyurme Tethong, Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Haunted by the patients he failed to save, an extremely burned-out Manhattan ambulance paramedic fights to maintain his sanity over three fraught and turbulent nights.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman
Mean Streets (1973)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A small-time hood aspires to work his way up the ranks of a local mob.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Director Martin Scorsese talks to actor Steven Prince about his past. As the night goes on, Prince reveals some very amusing and moving stories of his experiences with drugs and violence.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Steven Prince, Martin Scorsese, George Memmoli
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The life of Jesus Christ, his journey through life as he faces the struggles all humans do, and his final temptation on the cross.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Barbara Hershey
After Hours (1985)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An ordinary word processor has the worst night of his life after he agrees to visit a girl in Soho whom he met that evening at a coffee shop.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robbie Robertson, Muddy Waters, Neil Young
Short | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Now middle-aged, mobster Murray looks back at his humble beginnings as a bootlegger and his rise to becoming wealthy and highly influential. Through it he talks about how much of his ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Ira Rubin, Sam DeFazio, Andrea Martin
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Rake Brown
...
Von Morton
...
H. Buckram Sartoris
...
McIver #1
David Osterhout ...
McIver #2 (as David R. Osterhout)
Grahame Pratt ...
Emeric Pressburger (credit only)
'Chicken' Holleman ...
M. Powell (credit only)
...
Harvey Hall (as Harry Northrup)
Ann Morell ...
Tillie Parr
Marianne Dole ...
Mrs. Mailler
Joe Reynolds ...
Joe Cox
Edit

Storyline

Based on "Sister of the Road," the fictionalized autobiography of radical and transient Bertha Thompson as written by physician Dr. Ben L. Reitman, 'Boxcar' Bertha Thompson, a woman labor organizer in Arkansas during the violence-filled Depression of the early '30's meets up with rabble-rousing union man 'Big' Bill Shelly and they team up to fight the corrupt railroad establishment and she is eventually sucked into a life of crime with him. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Life made her an outcast. Love made her an outlaw. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 June 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A lázadók ökle  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

After he finished this film, Martin Scorsese screened it for John Cassavetes. Cassavetes, after seeing it, hugged Scorsese and said, "Marty, you've just spent a whole year of your life making a piece of shit. It's a good picture, but you're better than the people who make this kind of movie. Don't get hooked into the exploitation market, just try and do something different." Scorsese's next film was Mean Streets (1973). See more »

Goofs

Bertha frees Bill Shelley from the prison gang by faking a punctured tire. The wheel with the flat is left at the side of the road. In the following car chase, the wheel is initially missing from the car. Later the tire is clearly seen fixed to the rear of the car. When the car is being destroyed, the spare tire is gone again. See more »

Quotes

Harvey Hall: Can I be of service, ma'am?
Boxcar Bertha: Oh, shit, yes! I just can't figure out how to put that thing on that thing.
Harvey Hall: Well, honey, just leave it to Harvey.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mavericks (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata no. 11 in A, K. 331, Mov. 3
(uncredited)
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Fine film with a strong female lead.
5 July 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Boxcar Bertha was based on the life of times of Bertha Thompson, during the depression era in the 1930s. After her pilot father is killed right before her eyes in a plane-crash, Bertha leaves the family farm, unable to support herself alone. Bertha takes to the road, and soon meets-up with Big Bill Shelly. Bill is a union organizer, who's determined to exact justice from corrupt railroad barons. Bertha and Bill fall in love, and travel together via hopping trains across the south. The two turn to criminal activities, to survive.

Barbara Hershey gives a light-hearted, yet also poignant performance as Bertha. David Carradine conveys the conviction and passion, evident in Big Bill Shelly. His on-screen chemistry with Barbara Hershey, is palpable. Bernie Casey gives a strong, if understated performance as Bill's partner-in-crime, Von Morton. The morality angle of this film, like many made in the 70s, is ambiguous. The viewer knows that the characters clearly commit criminal acts. Yet there's also a sense of righteousness in their lawlessness, due to their quest to overthrow the cruel railroad men.

This is one of the more interesting 70s nostalgia films, and one of the very few to revolve around a strong female character. It is a bit too slow in spots, and could've used more exciting get-a-way scenes. But it makes-up for these minor flaws, by having characters with more emotional depth, than the usual crime drama. Boxcar Bertha is a fine film, that works very well overall.


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?