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Badlands (1973)

PG  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  5 January 1974 (Brazil)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 43,192 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 186 user | 129 critic | 12 from

An impressionable teen girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend go on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Ramon Bieri ...
Alan Vint ...
Gary Littlejohn ...
John Carter ...
Rich Man
Bryan Montgomery ...
Gail Threlkeld ...
Charles Fitzpatrick ...
Howard Ragsdale ...
John Womack Jr. ...
Dona Baldwin ...
Ben Bravo ...
Gas Attendant


It's the late 1950s. Mid-twenty-something Kit is a restless and unfocused young man with a James Dean vibe and swagger which he has heard mentioned about him more than once. Fifteen year old Holly has a somewhat cold relationship with her sign painter father, if only because she is the primary reminder of his wife, who died of pneumonia when Holly was a child. The two meet when Holly and her father move from Texas to the small town where Kit lives, Fort Dupree, South Dakota. They slowly fall in love, something about which she cannot tell her father because of their age difference and Kit coming from the wrong side of the tracks. When he tries to take Holly away with him, Kit, on an impulse, shoots her father dead. After letting the initial emotions of the situation settle down, Holly decides voluntarily to go with Kit, they trying to make it look like they committed suicide in a house fire. But they soon learn that their plan did not work, there being a bounty on their heads. As such,... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He was 25 years old. He combed his hair like James Dean. She was 15. She took music lessons and could twirl a baton. For a while they lived together in a tree house. In 1959, she watched while he killed a lot of people. See more »


Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

5 January 1974 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

La balade sauvage  »

Box Office


$450,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Martin Sheen was aged around 31-32 years. His character Kit was only 19 years, there being about a twelve year age difference between actor and character, with Sheen being about 10 years older than Sissy Spacek, who played Holly, who was at least 25. See more »


In one of her voice-overs, Holly refers to the "mountains of Saskatchewan". There are no mountains in Saskatchewan, although there is a Mt. Saskatchewan in the Rockies. See more »


[first lines]
Holly Sargis: [voice over narration] My Mother dies of pneumonia when I was just a kid. My Father kept their wedding cake in the freezer for ten whole years. After the funeral he gave it to the yard man. He tried to act cheerful but he could never be consoled by the little stranger he found in his house. Then one day hoping to begin a new life away from the scene of all these memories he moved us from Texas to Port Dupree, South Dakota.
See more »


Referenced in The Big Box: The Ritz (2009) See more »


[Street Song] (uncredited)
by 'Gunild Keetman'
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A sophisticated exploration of the nature of good and evil
24 January 1999 | by (Oxfordshire, England) – See all my reviews

Surely one of the most brilliant films ever made. The haunting music and cinematography would almost suffice by itself. The hero is little more than a child: the heroine his willing accomplice, and we are made to question what is good and what is evil by seeing the world through the eyes of children. From the moment when the girl's father shoots her dog to punish her, we lose any loyalty to traditional values or to the rights of parents over their children. By the end, it's obvious to us that society doesn't value the lives of those who were killed. It anticipates Natural Born Killers, but perhaps says more and uses a tighter structure.

Brilliantly acted and directed, with many layers to it. A film to watch again and again.

64 of 84 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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