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 »


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

Classic, Tragic love story.
22 October 2001 | by (Malad City, Idaho) – See all my reviews

An excellent movie my today's standards. There are no "F" words, no visual sex, & the only nudity is a brief shot of the top portion of a woman's breasts (no nipples shown) before the camera cuts away to another scene. I would recommend this to any parent wanting a movie that they can show in a mixed audience of teens/pre-teens. If it were made today, it would probably receive a PG rating.

Robby Benson & Glynnis O'Connor play their parts well. The movie manages to capture the haunting atmosphere of the song by Bobbie Gentry. I saw it for the first time when I was 15 in 1976 and I still love to watch it.

7 of 11 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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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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