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Little Laura and Big John (1973)

Based on a true story, this action-packed, hard-hitting depiction of the infamous Ashley gang - who terrorized the southeast in the 1920's - also illustrates a desperate love between two people destined for destruction.


Luke Moberly


Luke Moberly, Philip Weidling (story) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Fabian ... John
Karen Black ... Laura
Ivy Thayer Ivy Thayer ... Laura's Mother
Ken Miller Ken Miller ... Hanford
Paul Gleason ... Sheriff
Cliff Frates Cliff Frates ... Young John
Evie Karafotias Evie Karafotias ... Young Laura
Phil Philbin Phil Philbin ... Pa
Margaret Fuller Margaret Fuller ... Ma
Jerry Albert Jerry Albert ... Bob
Lee Warren Lee Warren ... Clarence
Ben Rossi Ben Rossi ... Ray
Terri Juston Terri Juston ... Jacksonville
Tony Romano Tony Romano ... Doc
Julian Voloshin Julian Voloshin ... Lawyer


Based on a true story, this action-packed, hard-hitting depiction of the infamous Ashley gang - who terrorized the southeast in the 1920's - also illustrates a desperate love between two people destined for destruction.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


... They'll Steal Into Your Heart -- Then Shoot Their Way Out!


Biography | Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

May 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Too Soon to Laugh, Too Late to Cry See more »

Filming Locations:

Stuart, Florida, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Feb. 26, 1969, issue of Variety, in its listing of movies currently in production, listed Bruce Dern as a cast member. The May 7 issue doesn't list Dern. See more »


Featured in Grindhouse Universe (2008) See more »


Written by Bob Woodburn and Bill Walker
Vocals by Mara Lynn Brown and Cliff Johnson Jr.
See more »

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User Reviews

Flawed Bonnie and Clyde clone
6 June 2015 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

This is a good example of the kind of movies which were influenced massively by Bonnie and Clyde (1967). That film was one of the key American films that kick-started a golden age of 70's cinema that would later become known as New Hollywood. Little Laura and Big John is hardly one of those films in fairness but it nevertheless is clearly indebted to its famous precursor. It shares its rural southern USA location and its period setting, in this case the 20's. It also is a crime drama biopic about real criminals who were a romanticised male/female couple. More specifically, it's based around the exploits of the Ashley Gang who operated in Florida. Their leader John Ashley was jailed for accidentally killing a man, only to escape and become a bank robber and bootlegger.

Despite its real-life basis, its characters aren't very well developed sadly. The main star is Karen Black, who is good enough but her role is a very limited one; the main character is played by Fabian Forte who tries his best but lacks the necessary screen charisma to make his character as interesting as he needs to be. It is odd that this low budget film was made after Karen Black had already rose to considerable prominence off the back off Easy Rider (1969) and Five Easy Pieces (1971), because it has the definite feel of a minor movie and her role is quite under-written; you would have expected her to be involved in a product that better utilised her at this stage in her career. Some have already noted the contemporary 70's musical score which is used in this period set drama sounds a little odd in this context. However, I personally didn't mind this very much even if it was somewhat unusual. The film on the whole is not very good, yet hardly as bad as it's made out to be either. Its story could certainly have been told in a much more engaging fashion but it was still a half-decent period crime flick in my eyes.

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