At last, we're given the answers to the questions raised by the haunting 1967 Bobbie Gentry song of the same title. Eighteen- year-old Billy Joe McAllister is in love with Bobbie Lee, but her father refuses to allow her to receive gentlemen callers before she's sixteen. In the Mississippi Delta, in a time before the boondocks had seen television and indoor plumbing, a young man's fancy turns constantly to thoughts of love. Billy Joe is no different in this regard and his persistence is making it difficult for Bobbie Lee to maintain her virtue (the dog-earred issues of "Torrid Romance" don't help either). Perhaps an indictment of the artificial conventions of society, the film demonstrates the tragic consequences of a young couple's first awkward grapplings with love and sex. As Bobbie Lee says shortly after Billy Joe's lifeless body is dragged from the Tallahatchie River, "What do I know of love... I'm only a child." Yet, there seems little doubt that what she feels for the dead boy ...
What the song didn't tell you, the movie will.
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Did You Know?
Screenwriter Herman Raucher
was paid $250,000 by the Dell Publishing Company to author a tie-in paperback novel, which was ultimately deemed a colossal financial disaster. See more
At the dance, one of the band is playing an Ovation guitar. The movie is set in 1953 and Ovation Guitars was not founded until 1966. See more
Billy Joe McAllister
HEY! I've been holding up this here bridge for over an hour so it wouldn't fall on you!
Bobbie Lee Hartley
Right neighborly of you, Mr. McAllister.
Remade as Ode
Ode to Billie Joe
Written and Performed by Bobbie Gentry See more