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Badlands (1973)

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



4,041 ( 171)
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


In 1959 a lot of people were killing time. Kit and Holly were killing 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
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Did You Know?


Both this and Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973) debuted at the New York Film Festival 1973. Warner Brothers picked up both films. See more »


For the last two lines in the discussion about the fudgecicle, the actors lips do not move. 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 »


Theme "Migration"
by James Taylor
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"Saw her standing on her front porch, just a-twirling her baton..."
26 November 2003 | by (Saffron Walden, UK) – See all my reviews

The serial killer genre is the most overdone in modern cinema, but director Terrence Mallick took a real life story to make his powerful debut, 'Badlands'. He even toned it down, his interest being not in presenting a picture of pure (and wholly artificial) evil but rather in portraying a wholly human story. Murder is depicted here in all its banality - people shot (off-screen) through locked doors, by a young man acting for wholly normal motives but without the customary restraints on behaviour that we term morals. The result is a haunting, though occasionally pretentious, study of individuals drifting beyond the bounds of civilisation, their physical location (America's still-wild west) symbolically matching their mental isolation. Sissy Spacek is particularly good as the ordinary girl just along for the ride. A fine film, 'Badlands' is also genuinely disturbing, in a way that Hannibal Lector could only dream of.

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