30 user 18 critic

The Electric Horseman (1979)

Sonny Steele used to be a rodeo star, but his next appearance is to be on a Las Vegas stage, wearing a suit covered in lights, advertising a breakfast cereal. When he finds out they are ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screen story) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Candidate (1972)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Bill McKay is a candidate for the U.S. Senate from California. He has no hope of winning, so he is willing to tweak the establishment.

Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Robert Redford, Peter Boyle, Melvyn Douglas
Brubaker (1980)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Stars: Robert Redford, Yaphet Kotto, Morgan Freeman
Legal Eagles (1986)
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A New York district attorney works and flirts with his adversary and her kooky artist client, who is on trial for a murder she didn't commit.

Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Robert Redford, Debra Winger, Daryl Hannah
Havana I (1990)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Cuba, December 1958: The professional gambler Jack visits Havana to organize a big Poker game. On the ship he meets Roberta and falls in love with her. Shortly after they arrive in Cuba, ... See full summary »

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Lena Olin, Alan Arkin
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A biplane pilot who had missed flying in WWI takes up barnstorming and later a movie career in his quest for the glory he had missed, eventually getting a chance to prove himself in a film ... See full summary »

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Robert Redford, Bo Svenson, Bo Brundin
Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians, and proves to be a match for their warriors in one-on-one combat on the early frontier.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Will Geer, Delle Bolton
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In a moment of madness a respectable pharmacist kills a young woman who is sun-bathing by a lake. Unable to take in what he has done, he flees from the scene of the crime and behaves as if nothing has happened.

Director: Georges Lautner
Stars: Bernard Blier, Maurice Biraud, Francis Blanche
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Paul, a conservative young lawyer, marries the vivacious Corie. Their highly passionate relationship descends into comical discord in a five-flight New York City walk-up apartment.

Director: Gene Saks
Stars: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Charles Boyer
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two desperate people have a wonderful romance, but their political views and convictions drive them apart.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Bradford Dillman
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson
Certificate: M Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Quietly cocky Robert Redford joins U.S. ski team as downhill racer and clashes with the team's coach, played by Gene Hackman. Lots of good skiing action leading to an exciting climax.

Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv
Certificate: M Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In 1909, when young Paiute Indian Willie Boy returns to his California reservation to be with Lola, whose father disapproves of him, a killing in self defense takes place, triggering a massive man hunt for Willie.

Director: Abraham Polonsky
Stars: Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Robert Blake


Cast overview, first billed only:
Will Hare ...
Timothy Scott ...
Dietrich (as James B. Sikking)
James Kline ...
Frank Speiser ...
Quinn K. Redeker ...
Bud Broderick (as Quinn Redeker)


Sonny Steele used to be a rodeo star, but his next appearance is to be on a Las Vegas stage, wearing a suit covered in lights, advertising a breakfast cereal. When he finds out they are going drug the horse in case its too frisky, he rides off into the desert... Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Electric  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film's title "The Electric Horseman" comes from the movie's iconic "electric cowboy suit". The outfit was an electrified cowboy suit which was decorated with hundreds of very small flashing light globes. When Sonny Steele (Robert Redford) rides the rodeo horse, the saddle is a matching electrified one. See more »


The video footage shown on television of Sonny Steele's speech about the horse doesn't match what Alice would have actually shot. The camera movement, lighting and direction of where Steele was facing while talking is completely different. See more »


Sonny Steele: I knew a fella once misjudged a Brahma - put a rib right through his lung. He could barely breathe, and he still got up and rode the rankest mare there.
Hallie Martin: I will never understand why you find that kind of behavior admirable!
Sonny Steele: It'll get you up the hill.
See more »


Featured in The Directors: The Films of Sydney Pollack (2000) See more »


Midnight Rider
Written by Gregg Allman and Robert Payne
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Refreshing maturity.
18 October 2008 | by (The San Francisco Bay Area) – See all my reviews

In the days when people treated one another with more civility, sound bites (bights) and high-energy opinion didn't rule the political scene, and sensationalism didn't masquerade as being newsworthy, Hollywood's film industry was cranking out fare that didn't placate to the juvenile demographic.

"The Electric Horseman" is a forward thinking film populated with adult actors that have adult sensibilities. There are no quick put-downs and one-liners comprised of single syllable words. And when I say adult, I don't mean the bawdy toilet film making styles that literally pollute the media air.

"The Electric Horseman" is mainstream cinema from the closing era of the 1970s. When people wearing ties and blouses attended the movie house, and did so politely.

In this regard "The Electric Horseman" is a throwback to another era when people had more comport in their personal presentation, and demonstrated an amount of civility and societal understanding. Even so, corporate greed is exposed in the plot, as well as the foibles of a femme-reporteress whose hunger for success shows her inner soul to both character and audience (appropriately played by Jane Fonda).

The stalwart American society is also appropriately reflected in Robert Redford's character, who gives us a character who must rediscover his "awe shucks" self through an act of humanity for the sake of a stricken and exploited living, breathing creature that cannot speak for itself; Rising Star.

Cinematography is professional, as are all elements of this film. No performance is overstated, save for Fonda, but, if I know Pollack, that was intentional. The feminist climbing the media ladder and forgetting her ideals by breaking the rules for the sake of those ideals, is met with the has-been buckaroo who has similarly rediscovered who and what he is.

The romance is standard Hollywood 101, but, though not entirely necessary, is still appropriate, and in this regard, probably satisfying to the audience--men and women alike.

It's not a deep film on a personal level, but it is profound on the character level. We sympathize with the characters and identify with them in a detached manner. They are extensions of us (or what we might've been) were we in those situations.

No flashy cuts, no CGI, no rumbling sound effects, no splashy cinema effects of any-kind, standard lensing, tight scripting, and solid thesping make this film a sight for sore eyes.

Thank you Mister Pollack, Mister Redford... and I'd never thought I'd say it, but, thank you "Mizz" Fonda.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Turning a pampered racehorse loose? Come on... bizarrebehavior74
An entertaining movie ctyankeeindc
W. Nelson song "Heroes...Cowboys" robynshay
Jane Fonda ctyankeeindc
Copy of VHS or DVD? ndn-bball
Electric Horseman - Soundtrack wgreenwald
Discuss The Electric Horseman (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page