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?


Directed by Max Baer Jr., who portrayed "Jethro Bodine" in the long running comedy The Beverly Hillbillies (1962). 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 »


Billy Joe McAllister: HEY! I've been holding up this here bridge for over an hour so it wouldn't fall on you.
Bobbie Lee Hartley: Right Neiborhly of Mr.McAllister.
See more »


Remade as Ode (1999) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Historic Film
19 April 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

While this good film is no masterpiece, it certainly has earned its place in Hollywood lore. First of all, the screenplay was co-written by Bobbie Gentry. She hand picked Herman Rauncher( Summer of Forty Two) and spent weeks helping him with the screenplay Belinda( the stripper in the film) is a song from Bobbie's masterpiece album, PatchWork. Benjamin( the imaginary childhood friend) started out life as a Bobbie Gentry song too. Her vision is all over this film. Her grandparents farm in Mississippi even served as the back-drop for the story.Billie Joe is the first gay character portrayal in film history without a hint of stereotying. He is full of real depth and humanity. On a production budget of 1 million dollars, this film had a box office run of 50 million. Business savy Bobbie Gentry still owns 10% of it in her deal with Warner Brothers. Because of its success,Coal Miners Daughter would receive a huge production budget in 1979.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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When/why/how was he with another man? libertino85
The whole homosexuality issue bigtwang
Ambiguity in Billy Joe ode by Bobbie Gentry bettiem
It was a baby they threw and here is why... darkmoonlady2002
Okay, a little help please... welwutevrnvrmind
coming to dvd on 2/10/09 jemglamgirl
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