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Cockfighter (1974)

R | | Drama | August 1974 (USA)
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Southern action drama film about cockfighting.

Director:

Monte Hellman

Writers:

Charles Willeford (novel), Charles Willeford (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Warren Oates ... Frank Mansfield
Richard B. Shull ... Omar Baradansky
Harry Dean Stanton ... Jack Burke
Ed Begley Jr. ... Tom Peeples
Laurie Bird ... Dody White Burke
Troy Donahue ... Randall Mansfield
Warren Finnerty ... Sanders
Robert Earl Jones ... Buford
Patricia Pearcy ... Mary Elizabeth
Millie Perkins ... Frances Mansfield
Steve Railsback ... Junior
Tom Spratley Tom Spratley ... Mister Peeples
Charles Willeford ... Ed Middleton
Pete Munro Pete Munro ... Packard
Kermit Echols Kermit Echols ... Fred Reed
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Storyline

Frank Mansfield has wanted to win the Cockfighter of the Year medal for ages. Frank never speaks. After shooting his mouth off one too many times then losing a champion rooster in a casual hotel room cockfight, he swore never to speak again until he's won that award... He makes a bet with old crony Jack to be settled at the upcoming meet. Frank puts his car and his trailer on the line; he loses. Jack gets the trailer, and Frank's part-time girlfriend who goes with it. Frank's long-time girlfriend Mary Elizabeth wants him to get serious and settle down. But Frank has to raise some money for a new cock - $500 - then he can form a partnership with fellow cocksman Omar Baradansky and make another try for that medal... Written by David Woodfield

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

August 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Born to Kill See more »

Filming Locations:

Juliette, Georgia, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite generally positive critical reception, this film was, according to Roger Corman, the only New World Pictures release to lose money. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Final Exam (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the most extraordinary movies of the 1970s, and further proof that Monte Hellman is one of the most underrated directors of all time.
16 August 2004 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

Being a major fan of American movies of the 1970s 'Cockfighter' has been like a Holy Grail for me for as long as I can remember. When I finally got a hold of a copy I'm happy to say it more than lived up to my expectations. I think it's one of the most extraordinary movies of the decade, and further proof that Monte Hellman is one of the most underrated directors of all time. Hellman, like many other film makers, got his first big break working for Roger Corman, directing 'Beast From Haunted Cave' in the 1950s. He then went on to work on Corman's 'The Terror' alongside Coppola and Jack Hill, and edited the biker classic 'The Wild Angels'. Hellman never became a Hollywood legend like Coppola, or a much loved exploitation cult hero like Jack Hill, and has always had difficulties getting his movies made. Why, I really don't know, just watch 'The Shooting', 'Two-Lane Blacktop' and 'Cockfighter' back to back and tell me that he isn't a major talent. After going their separate ways for some time Corman and Hellman reunited for 'Cockfighter'. Apparently Corman hated the ending and the movie is supposedly one of the very few that lost him money, but I think it's an amazing achievement. The controversial bird fighting sequences are very brutal and very beautiful. Animal lovers will abhor the movie for this reason. The morality of filming them is very problematic, even Hellman admits he was disgusted doing it. Aside from that can of worms 'Cockfighter' features a superb performance from Warren Oates, one of his very best ever, so if you are an Oates fan you MUST try and see this movie! Hellman and Oates worked on four movies altogether, and the supporting cast also includes Harry Dean Stanton and Millie Perkins, who had three Hellman movies apiece, and Laurie Bird who co-starred in 'Two-Lane Blacktop'. On top of that you have some strong performances by a whole bunch of character actors like Warren Finnerty ('Cool Hand Luke'), Ed Begley Jr, Steve Railsback (in one of my favourite scenes) and - one of the biggest surprises - Troy Donahue, who has a memorable cameo as Oates alcoholic brother. Richard B. Shull is great as Oates' partner, as is Patricia Pearcy who plays his love interest. Even Charles Willeford who wrote both the movie script and the original novel it was based on has a great bit as a fight official. 'Cockfighter's explicit fight sequences will repel most people but if you persevere you'll witness some brilliant acting, especially from Warren Oates. 'Cockfighter' has immediately rocketed into my all time favourite movies list.


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