Up 2,084 this week

Badlands (1973)

PG  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  5 January 1974 (Brazil)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 43,905 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 189 user | 130 critic | 12 from Metacritic.com

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



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $1.99 on Amazon Video

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



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A hot-tempered farm laborer convinces the woman he loves to marry their rich but dying boss so that they can have a claim to his fortune.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Terrence Malick's adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte
The New World (2005)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
To the Wonder (2012)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

After falling in love in Paris, Marina and Neil come to Oklahoma, where problems arise. Their church's Spanish-born pastor struggles with his faith, while Neil encounters a woman from his childhood.

Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple he is spying on will be murdered.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield
Breathless (1960)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Helena Rojo
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A drop-out from upper-class America picks up work along the way on oil-rigs when his life isn't spent in a squalid succession of bars, motels, and other points of interest.

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Billy Green Bush
Mean Streets (1973)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A small-time hood struggles to succeed on the "mean streets" of Little Italy.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval
Mulberry St. (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Born in the Bronx and raised in upstate New York, Abel Ferrara started his professional film career on Mulberry Street in 1975. For the past year he's been living on the block, and the ... See full summary »

Director: Abel Ferrara
Stars: Danny Aiello, Frank Aquilino, Frankie Cee
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A somewhat romanticized account of the career of the notoriously violent bank robbing couple and their gang.

Director: Arthur Penn
Stars: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard


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?


In 1993, in the picture's 20th Anniversary year, the film was selected for preservation by the American Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". 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 »


Featured in Making 'Badlands' (2013) See more »


Mariae Geburt
[The Birth of the Virgin Mary] (uncredited)
by Carl Orff
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Landmark film. One of the best directorial debuts
3 June 2005 | by (Iceland) – See all my reviews

Kit is a garbage man, Holly just a teenager living with her father. Kit and Holly get together and Holly's father disapproves. Kit kills Holly's father and together they go on the lam and a few others get killed in the proceedings.

This 1973 landmark film was the directorial debut of one Terrence Malick. It's been described by many as one of the most mature debuts in film history. The numbness of Sheen's and Spacek's characters is haunting and makes a very strong point and it's very hard to swallow. Spacek's voice-over, which tells how she experiences life with Kit, is disturbing and yet, poetically beautiful. The sheer innocence of her character, her bright-eyed view of the world, her acceptance of Kit's explanations make a stronger point in the examination of two completely alienated individuals than any other movie I can think of.

Martin Sheen has never been better than here. His Kit, obsessed with James Dean apparently, is one of cinema's coldest villains. His utter detachment in all the proceedings is a wonder to behold. He's completely numb and that's more haunting than any outburst of rage. He's a flawed product of society. He doesn't feel evil, he just doesn't feel anything. Sissy Spacek is also wonderful in her role, giving a very memorable performance as Holly.

Terence Malick's direction is superb. The cinematography by Tak Fujimoto is beautiful, every frame simply looks stunning and he captures the era wonderfully. It's hard to believe this film is over 30 years old. The music is also very good, with a catchy melody which seems to go well the innocence portrayed in Spacek's character. This almost feels like a children's tune.

This film is considered to be loosely based on the real life killing spree committed by Charlie Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate in 1958. Starkweather was executed and up until his last day alive, he said that Caril was just an observer but finally said she was as guilty of the killings as he, even initiating some herself.

Badlands however says in the end credits that the story is fictional.

One of the best films of the 1970's.

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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Question About Murderers gdifalco
Malcik at his most concise and unpretentious lv8888
Most Disturbing/Haunting Scenes Kennybee
Holly the Psychopath Kennybee
The Music SarahConnor
My take on this film, anyone share the same view? Dice_the_Boss
Discuss Badlands (1973) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: