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Cockfighter (1974)

R | | Drama | August 1974 (USA)
2:33 | Trailer

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Southern action drama film about cockfighting.



(novel), (screenplay)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Mansfield
Richard B. Shull ...
Omar Baradansky
Jack Burke
Tom Peeples
Dody White Burke
Randall Mansfield
Warren Finnerty ...
Robert Earl Jones ...
Mary Elizabeth
Frances Mansfield
Tom Spratley ...
Mister Peeples
Charles Willeford ...
Ed Middleton
Pete Munro ...
Kermit Echols ...
Fred Reed


Frank Mansfield has wanted to win the Cockfighter of the Year medal for ages. Frank never speaks. After shooting his mouth off one too many times then losing a champion rooster in a casual hotel room cockfight, he swore never to speak again until he's won that award... He makes a bet with old crony Jack to be settled at the upcoming meet. Frank puts his car and his trailer on the line; he loses. Jack gets the trailer, and Frank's part-time girlfriend who goes with it. Frank's long-time girlfriend Mary Elizabeth wants him to get serious and settle down. But Frank has to raise some money for a new cock - $500 - then he can form a partnership with fellow cocksman Omar Baradansky and make another try for that medal... Written by David Woodfield

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Release Date:

August 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Born to Kill  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film has never been released in the UK and was recently banned from public showing at the 2006 Edinburgh Film Festival following intervention by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA). According to the BBFC the movie would never receive a UK certificate as the film contravened the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937 because the cockfighting scenes were organized for the purpose of filming. See more »


Featured in Monte Hellman: American Auteur (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Bring Me the Head of a Dead Game Cock ...
29 January 2006 | by (Berkeley) – See all my reviews

Monte Hellman and Sam Peckinpah recognized the particular genius of Warren Oates, and it saddens me to think that younger film goers know little about Oates, and even less about Hellman. Makes a good companion piece for "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia." Although both films have similar plot devices, the performances by Oates are bravely unique, and moving in their fearless creativity.

The DVD includes a documentary about Oates that is a welcome companion to the feature. Esteemed critic David Thomson points out that Oates was not afraid to play dumb (unlike his occasional co-star Jack Nicholson, who always has to show the audience his underlying intelligence as a safeguard). And the commentary track, although low in volume, is worth leaning close and listening to 'back stage' stories about the production. In particular: Roger Corman's angry reaction to the final scene written for the final draft of the script.

This final scene of the movie is poetic and ambiguous, nothing you'd expect from a so-called exploitation picture. Maybe that's why Corman didn't approve. "Cockfighter" is at least half documentary, with real people in supporting roles, and filming real contests in cockpits in Georgia. Because Oates was so authentic, it would be easy to forget that this is a well-crafted performance from one of the most under-rated film actors who ever lived.

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