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The Legend of Billie Jean (1985)

R | | Action, Drama | 19 July 1985 (USA)
A Texas teenager cuts her hair short and becomes an outlaw martyr with her brother and friends.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bobby Jones ...
Rudy Young ...


Average Texas teen, Billie Jean Davy, is caught up in an odd fight for justice. She is usually followed and harrased around by local boys, who, one day, decide to trash her brother's scooter for fun. The boys' father refuses to pay them back the price of the scooter. The fight for "fair is fair" takes the teens around the state and produces an unlikely hero. Written by Jennifer Valley

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The last thing she ever expected was to become a hero. See more »


Action | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

19 July 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fair Is Fair  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cameo: Caroline Williams as the woman in the pickup truck with the driver who chases and shoots at Billie Jean and her friends. See more »


The majority of characters are depicted to have heavy southern accents. However, in the South Texas region where Corpus Christi is located, not many residents have an accent. See more »


Ophelia: [Billie Jean steps out with her hair cut] Oh my God! Billie Jean, you look...
Binx: Famous!
Lloyd: Saint Joan.
See more »


Boys in Town
Performed by The Divinyls (as Divinyls)
Courtesy of Chrysalis Records
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User Reviews

Billie Jean, "social bandit"
25 October 2005 | by (san francisco) – See all my reviews

The British historian E. J. Hobsbawm developed the idea of the "social bandit," the peasant youth who becomes an outlaw after his honorable resistance to some outrage by the landlord ends with a landlord henchman dead. He calls to others who share his anger at injustice to follow him to the hills where they will lead the outlaw life, stealing only from those whose wealth comes from oppressing the poor, respecting the peasants and righting wrongs on their behalf, and seeking to restore a former condition when the great and powerful behaved decently and treated the poor equitably. (This equitable treatment is also close to what E.P. Thompson called "the moral economy of the poor:" the Honest Loaf, the Fair Day's Wage for a Fair Day's Work--a slogan of early labor unions--etc.)

The social bandit *isn't* a revolutionary--he has no vision of a transformed society, because his horizons are too narrow. He wants the Good Old Days back. He doesn't have a social or political theory; he wants simple decency and justice. He isn't Joan of Arc, fighting to restore a legitimate King, he's much closer to Robin Hood, resisting the oppression of a King who's forfeited the loyalty of the people by not acting as a good King should.

Billie Jean is a social bandit. The events that launch her "career," the actions she performs, and above all her simple watchword "Fair is Fair" clearly put her in the category that includes the Brazilian Lampiao, the Sicilian Salvatore Giuliano, and others. Hardly surprising, since this teenage cult script was written by a formerly blacklisted old Lefty in his seventies, Walter Bernstein, who surely had read Hobsbawm and Thompson and found, I think, a very ingenious way to illustrate their ideas in a 1980's US setting.

18 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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