A psychological gangster film based on fact. Machine gun totin' Ma Barker lead her family gang (her sons) on a crime spree in the Depression era. Her loyal brood have every perversion imaginable. The sadistic Herman sleeps with his Ma. When Fred Barker is released from prison, he brings home his cellmate and lover Kevin Dirkman, who also sleeps with Ma, much to Fred's chagrin. Lloyd Barker is a spaced-out drug addict who sniffs glue if nothing better is around. Ma kidnaps happy-go-lucky millionaire Sam Adams Pendlebury and holds him for ransom. Arthur Barker, Ma's wallflower son, and Herman's hooker lady friend Mona Gibson also figure in the story. The bloody finale is virtually choreographed, and a visual stunner. Filmed in the Ozarks.
You gotta' believe... You gotta' have faith... But first, you gotta' get rid of the witnesses!
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Did You Know?
Upon its release, this film was banned in the UK, France and New Zealand. These bans were subsequently lifted after a short time. See more
In the prison cell when Freddie is walking on Dirkman's back, if you look on the cell wall behind him, you'll see graffiti of a Nazi swastika on the wall. The movie takes place circa 1930 and the Nazi symbol didn't even exist (at least in America's consciousness) until the late 1930's-1940's. Correction: The swastika was used as good luck symbol long before the Nazis. It was a common Native American symbol of good fortune and was on the official patch of the 45th Infantry Division of the US Army prior to 1930. So it's use as graffiti is not impossible. See more
'Ma' Kate Barker
It's supposed to be a free country Mona. But unless you're rich, you ain't free and you know that. So I aim to be freer than the rest of the people.
The film was originally rejected for a UK cinema certificate by the BBFC and then released 8 months later in 1971 with cuts to nudity, violent beatings, a rape scene, the drowning of Rembrandt, Lloyd's injection scenes and the violent shooting of Herman. The 18-rated UK video release of this film was cut by 11 seconds by the BBFC and removes the scene where Bruce Dern drops a tethered piglet into a river to use as alligator bait. The cuts were fully waived for the 2009 Optimum DVD. See more
Referenced in Series 7: The Contenders
Written by Don Randi
, Guy Hemric
and Bob Silver
Performed by Bigfoot See more