6.4/10
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32 user 21 critic

Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969)

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

Writers:

Harry Lawton (book), Abraham Polonsky
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Won 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Redford ... Cooper
Katharine Ross ... Lola
Robert Blake ... Willie
Susan Clark ... Liz
Barry Sullivan ... Calvert
John Vernon ... Hacker
Charles Aidman ... Benby
Charles McGraw ... Wilson
Shelly Novack Shelly Novack ... Finney
Robert Lipton ... Newcombe
Lloyd Gough ... Dexter
Ned Romero ... Tom
John Wheeler John Wheeler ... Newman
Erik Holland Erik Holland ... Digger (as Eric Holland)
Garry Walberg ... Dr. Mills
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Storyline

Based on true events, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, tells the story of one of the last Western manhunts, in 1909. Willie Boy, a Native American, kills his girlfriend's father in self defense, and the two go on the run, pursued by a search posse led by Sheriff Christopher Cooper. Written by Jon Hertzberg <jahertzb@students.wisc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Who gives a d--- about Indians? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 January 1970 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Willie Boy See more »

Filming Locations:

Pioneertown, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$6,000,000, 31 December 1969
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Abraham Polonsky said to a USC film class at the time that he purposely shot and edited the manhunt sequences with characters moving in all directions across the screen, rather than in the usual way wherein both runners and pursuers would move in the same direction across the shots (i.e., left to right) to enhance the impression of urgent suspense in a chase. Instead, Polonsky was looking for a different feel for the audience, of the characters wandering, feeling their way through the landscape. He implied he was willing to sacrifice some suspense to externalize the characters' confusion. He also said that for Katharine Ross' brief, artfully lit nude shot, he exposed the film correctly but then produced a high-contrast copy of the same film frames with deep blacks and transparent lights, then bi-packed both pieces of films together to rephotograph. The high-contrast overlay ensured that the shadows on Ross' body were black--so that the image could not reveal more in the shadows than it was supposed to. See more »

Goofs

Many of the hats worn in the film are not the style worn during the early part of the 20th century. Some in fact, could only have been sewn using machines created in the 1950s, nearly half a century after the films setting. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tom: Did you see that crazy Calvert go by?
Willie Boy: Ate his dust.
Tom: When did you get back to Banning, Willie Boy?
Willie Boy: Five o'clock freight.
Tom: Goin' to the fiesta?
Willie Boy: Is that where you're goin', Tom?
Tom: Trailin' Mr. Calvert with a tow just in case he breaks down - or breaks his neck.
Willie Boy: Well, I guess that's where I'm goin'.
See more »

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User Reviews

This film is overlooked too often
16 March 2005 | by connie419See all my reviews

I consider Robert Blake's performance in this movie to be one of his best, and this comes from someone who has always thought he was a fine actor. Robert Redford, too, shines here as the sheriff, and almost all the supporting cast keeps up with the two male leads.

Blake's character is a Paiute Indian who is the object of a manhunt which is sensationalized by the press because of its concurrence with a visit by President Taft. The sheriff is pressured into hunting down the Indian and the girl he loves but whose father has forbidden the match.

It's a good solid early-1900s Western with much better-than-average acting. But it's not so much an action film as it is a character study -- of Blake's character and, to a lesser degree, Redford's. It brings to life the racism and exploitation that white Europeans brought with them to America.


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