Ode to Billy Joe (1976)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  4 June 1976 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,005 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 5 critic

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)


0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Death of Richie (TV Movie 1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A sensitive but confused teenager feels pressure on him from all directions and turns to drugs, which causes problems for him in school and at home.

Director: Paul Wendkos
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Eileen Brennan, Robby Benson
Running Brave (1983)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The story of Billy Mills, the American Indian that came from obscurity, to win the 10,000 meter long distance foot race in the Tokyo Olympics.

Directors: D.S. Everett, Donald Shebib
Stars: Robby Benson, Pat Hingle, Claudia Cron
Ice Castles (1978)
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A young girl is on top of the world until a tragic accident dashes her hopes and dreams of becoming a world-class figure skater. Only with the help of those who love her can she prove to ... See full summary »

Director: Donald Wrye
Stars: Lynn-Holly Johnson, Robby Benson, Colleen Dewhurst
Jeremy (1973)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Shy cellist boy meets upperclassman ballet dancing girl at school. They experience first-time love, then happenstance pulls them apart.

Director: Arthur Barron
Stars: Robby Benson, Glynnis O'Connor, Len Bari
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Based on a true story, Tod Lubitch is born with a deficient immune system (which is unlike being born with AIDS). As such, he must spend the rest of his life in a completely sterile ... See full summary »

Director: Randal Kleiser
Stars: John Travolta, Glynnis O'Connor, Robert Reed
Two of a Kind (1983)
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

God has had just about enough of the human's attitude so he will destroy the planet very soon. It is up to a struggling inventor and a bank teller, both with very amateur criminal minds, to... See full summary »

Director: John Herzfeld
Stars: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Charles Durning
Car Wash (1976)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Car Wash is about a close-knit group of employees who one day have all manner of strange visitors coming onto their forecourt, including Richard Pryor as a preaching 'wonder-man' who is ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: Richard Pryor, Franklyn Ajaye, Darrow Igus
Hooper (1978)
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Aging stuntman Sonney Hooper is still on top as one of the best stuntmen in the business. But up and coming Ski is starting to do bigger and better stunts. Hooper has the experience to ... See full summary »

Director: Hal Needham
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Jan-Michael Vincent, Sally Field
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A psychotic sniper plans a massive killing spree in a Los Angeles football stadium during a major championship game. The police, led by Captain Peter Holly (Charlton Heston) and SWAT ... See full summary »

Director: Larry Peerce
Stars: Charlton Heston, John Cassavetes, Martin Balsam
Rhoda (1974–1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After spending several years in her young adult life in Minneapolis but with her brash Bronx Jewish upbringing in tow and with its associated sarcasm, artistically inclined Rhoda ... See full summary »

Stars: Valerie Harper, Julie Kavner, Lorenzo Music
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

During WW2, a platoon of Marines crash-lands on a tiny Pacific island occupied by a small Japanese unit.

Director: Frank Sinatra
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Clint Walker, Tatsuya Mihashi
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The Disciples of James Dean meet up on the anniversary of his death and mull over their lives in the present and in flashback, revealing the truth behind their complicated lives. Who is the... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Cher, Karen Black, Sandy Dennis


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:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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


As Papa Hartley and the three boys are battling it out in their trucks on the bridge the camera moves from inside the Hartley truck looking out to outside looking in. As they do this you see from the inside that the windshield in front of the driver is badly cracked but as they move to the outside angle it is not cracked at all. 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 Jeopardy!: Episode #22.32 (2005) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
Discuss Ode to Billy Joe (1976) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: