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Boxcar Bertha (1972)

During the 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 »
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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
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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:

 »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Martin Scorsese personally drew about 500 storyboards for this film See more »

Goofs

The currency shown in the film is all modern, post 1960s, with modern banking money bands. See more »

Quotes

Boxcar Bertha: I'd do anything you want. Wanna quit, we'll quit. We'll go away.
'Big' Bill Shelly: I ain't a quitter. If you wanna leave, there are no chains on you, honey.
Boxcar Bertha: You dumb.
'Big' Bill Shelly: What do you mean?
Boxcar Bertha: I ain't leavin'.
See more »

Connections

References The Grapes of Wrath (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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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.


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