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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Kit
...
...
Ramon Bieri ...
Alan Vint ...
Deputy
Gary Littlejohn ...
John Carter ...
Rich Man
Bryan Montgomery ...
Boy
Gail Threlkeld ...
Girl
Charles Fitzpatrick ...
Clerk
Howard Ragsdale ...
Boss
John Womack Jr. ...
Trooper
Dona Baldwin ...
Maid
Ben Bravo ...
Gas Attendant
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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 »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

5 January 1974 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

La balade sauvage  »

Box Office

Budget:

$450,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Debut theatrical feature film as both a director and a producer for Terrence Malick. Malick also debuted as an uncredited editor on the picture. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Kit records his confession on a record, he places coins in the machine and then flips the switch from 78 rpm to 45 rpm. The instructions above the switch clearly says "Before Inserting Coins Select Recording Speed." If he were following directions he would have flipped the switch then inserted the coins. See more »

Quotes

[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.
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Connections

Referenced in At the Movies: Dune/Starman/Mass Appeal/Runaway (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

A BLOSSOM FELL
(Howard Barnes-Harold Cornelius-Dominic John (as H.Barnes-H.Cornelius-D.John)
Sung by Nat 'King' Cole
Courtesy of Capitol Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Slower Is Better In This Crime Tale
29 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Made in the early 1970s, this was more of classic type crime story than a modern-day one in that the violence wasn't overdone and it was a slower-paced story than what you would see if re-made today.

That slower pace makes for a better study of the two main characters, who were based on the real-life serial-killing duo of the 1950s: Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend.

Martin Sheen's Starkweather-type character "Kit Carruthers" is amazingly low- key for a killer and Sissy Spacek, playing his girl, "Holly," shows some really strange reactions (she hardly reacts after Sheen shoots her father) while providing fascinating narration. In fact, the more I watch this film, the more Spacek's narration is the highlight for me. It's great stuff.

Being a Terrence Malick-directed film, you know you are going to get some nice photography. He really loves closeups of nature. Another plus is the absence of profanity. There is very little of it.


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