7.9/10
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103 user 50 critic

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

M/PG | | Drama | 1970 (Norway)
Trailer
3:05 | Trailer

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The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.

Director:

Sydney Pollack

Writers:

Horace McCoy (novel), James Poe (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane Fonda ... Gloria
Michael Sarrazin ... Robert
Susannah York ... Alice
Gig Young ... Rocky
Red Buttons ... Sailor
Bonnie Bedelia ... Ruby
Michael Conrad ... Rollo
Bruce Dern ... James
Al Lewis ... Turkey
Robert Fields Robert Fields ... Joel
Severn Darden ... Cecil
Allyn Ann McLerie ... Shirl
Madge Kennedy ... Mrs. Laydon
Jacquelyn Hyde Jacquelyn Hyde ... Jackie
Felice Orlandi ... Mario
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Storyline

Gloria is a young woman of the Depression. She has aged beyond her years and feels her life is hopeless, having been cheated and betrayed many times in her past. While recovering from a suicide attempt, she gets the idea from a movie magazine to head for Hollywood to make it as an actress. Robert is a desperate Hollywood citizen trying to become a director, never doubting he'll make it. Robert and Gloria meet and decide to enter a dance marathon, one of the crazes of the 1930's. The grueling dancing takes its toll on Gloria's already weakened spirit, and she tells Robert that she'd be better off dead, that her life is hopeless - all the while acting cruelly and bitterly, alienating those around her, trying to convince him to shoot her and put her out of her misery. After all, they shoot horses, don't they? Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

People are the ultimate spectacle

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

M/PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1970 (Norway) See more »

Also Known As:

Baile de ilusiones See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (current)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Jack Clayton at one point was slated to direct this film. See more »

Goofs

Shadow of camera and operator on Derby contestants. See more »

Quotes

Rocky: That's what were all interested in, isn't it? The show?
Robert: No, it's a contest. Isn't that what it's supposed to be? Isn't that what you advertised? A contest?
Rocky: Not for them. For you maybe, but not for them. Do you think they're laying out two bits a throw just to watch you poke your head up into the sunlight or Alice look like she just stepped out of a beauty parlor? They don't give a damn whether you win or James and Ruby or Mario and Jackie or the Man in the Moon and Little Miss Muffet. They just...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Spin City: They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen
Played at the Dance Marathon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"I've got my eye on you!" ... "Which one?"
6 July 2002 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

This is the movie that "The Day of the Locust" might have aspired to be. It captures the tone of desperation and helplessness of Depression-era characters (would-bes, wanna-bes, and fade-outs) like few films I've seen. It's a fascinating downer, ripe with interesting losers and gritty drama. Jane Fonda's performance as a marathon-entry at the end of her rope ranks with her very best work, and Oscar-winner Gig Young is smashing as the M.C. Also superb: Susannah York as a glamor girl who gets her clothes (and sanity) dirty, and Red Buttons as an over-the-hill sailor. There's not a happy or hopeful moment in sight, but for gripping human drama you could do no better. James Poe and Robert E. Thompson adapted their screenplay from Horace McCoy's novel; Sydney Pollack directed, impeccably. ***1/2 from ****


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