Ode to Billy Joe (1976)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  4 June 1976 (USA)
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Billy Joe confesses his love to the lovely Bobbi Lee only to cover his growing fear that he may, in fact, be homosexual. One night, at a barn dance, he gets a little drunk and rather than ... See full summary »


(as Max Baer)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Hotchkis ...
Anna 'Mama' Hartley
Sandy McPeak ...
Glenn 'Papa' Hartley
Dewey Barksdale
Terence Goodman ...
James Hartley
Becky Bowen ...
Becky Thompson
Simpson Hemphill ...
Brother Taylor
Ed Shelnut ...
Coleman Stroud
Eddie Talr ...
Tom Hargitay
William Hallberg ...
Dan McAllister
Frannye Capelle ...
Belinda Wiggs
Rebecca Jernigan ...
Mrs. Thompson
Ann Martin ...
Mrs. Hunicutt
Will Long ...
Trooper Bosh


Billy Joe confesses his love to the lovely Bobbi Lee only to cover his growing fear that he may, in fact, be homosexual. One night, at a barn dance, he gets a little drunk and rather than going with the hired whores, gives into his desires and sexual relations with an unnamed man. The guilt causes him to run away, hide in the woods and eventually confess everything to Bobbi Lee who doesn't want to believe him only because she was enjoying the forbidden nature of their love. In the end, he cannot accept his sexuality nor can he hide behind Bobbi Lee and that's why he throws himself off the Tallahachee bridge. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What the song didn't tell you, the movie will.




PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Ponte do Desejo  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This movie date of release, Friday, June 4th, 1976, was one month before the United States' bi-centennial date of (Thursday), July 4th, 1776, Sunday, July 4th, 1976. See more »


At the dance, one of the band is playing an Ovation guitar. The movie is set in 1960, but the company Ovation Guitars was not founded until 1966. See more »


Bobbie Lee Hartley: It's gonna be all right. We've just been waiting so long and trying so hard. Oh, it's all right Billy Joe.
Billy Joe McAllister: It ain't all right! I ain't all right!
[long pause as Billy Joe walks a few steps away from Bobbie Lee]
Billy Joe McAllister: Bobbie... I have been with a man! Did you hear me? Which is a sin against nature! A sin against God! I don't know how I could have done it, I swear! I don't know how I could be wanting you and do that.
Bobbie Lee Hartley: But you were drunk. Maybe you just imagined it.
Billy Joe McAllister: I didn't imagine nothing!
Bobbie Lee Hartley: But you were ...
See more »


Referenced in The Carol Burnett Show: Episode #10.8 (1976) See more »


Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Music by Michel Legrand
See more »

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User Reviews

That's What I Love/Hate About the South
10 January 2003 | by (Nashville) – See all my reviews

If this film had been directed by Truffaut or Bergman it would have swept Cannes. The fact that many viewers find it almost impossible to understand is testimony to the film's authenticity. As a life-long Southerner I feel compelled to state that anyone from the South over the age of 35 either knows or is one of these characters. The time period represented is one which lives in the memories of those alive today. Mississippi is particularly well drawn. I lived in Mississippi for four years and this film captures that distinct Mississippi flavor of charm,vindictiveness,religious observance,and sin. The bridge scene is what Southern pride and "redneck" are all about. Daddy just WON'T back up. One of the main themes of Southern art is the fact that many of the characters are so far from introspection and so close to instinctive, impulsive, animalistic behavior. When someone is "different" tragedy and/or myth tends to happen. Tennessee Williams mined that vein. Like the characters in this film, his people often dimly understood that they needed to either leave home or accept self-revelation in the confines of their environment. Most couldn't do either. The result is usually some sort of denial,death, or sacrifice. Great films/novels/short stories about the South have a sense of yearning and fatalism which I find very honest and moving. If you are into Russian literature, you are probably into Southern literature too! My thanks to Max for this beautiful film.

28 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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When/why/how was he with another man? libertino85
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coming to dvd on 2/10/09 jemglamgirl
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