6.5/10
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Ode to Billy Joe (1976)

PG | | Drama | 4 June 1976 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Max Baer Jr. (as Max Baer)

Writers:

Bobbie Gentry (song), Herman Raucher
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robby Benson ... Billy Joe McAllister
Glynnis O'Connor ... Bobbie Lee Hartley
Joan Hotchkis ... Anna 'Mama' Hartley
Sandy McPeak ... Glenn 'Papa' Hartley
James Best ... Dewey Barksdale
Terence Goodman ... James Hartley
Becky Bowen Becky Bowen ... Becky Thompson
Simpson Hemphill Simpson Hemphill ... Brother Taylor
Ed Shelnut Ed Shelnut ... Coleman Stroud
Eddie Talr Eddie Talr ... Tom Hargitay
William Hallberg William Hallberg ... Dan McAllister
Frannye Capelle Frannye Capelle ... Belinda Wiggs
Rebecca Jernigan Rebecca Jernigan ... Mrs. Thompson
Ann Martin Ann Martin ... Mrs. Hunicutt
Will Long Will Long ... Trooper Bosh
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Storyline

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 ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What the song didn't tell you, the movie will. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 June 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Ponte do Desejo See more »

Filming Locations:

Greenwood, Mississippi, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The release weekend for this movie coincided with the date from the first line of the song that inspired it: "It was the 3rd of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day" See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Carol Burnett Show: Episode #10.8 (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Ode to Billie Joe
Written and Performed by Bobbie Gentry
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A sweet and tragic rural romance.
9 March 2003 | by DEREKFLINTSee all my reviews

ODE TO BILLY JOE is a humerous and touching tale of events leading up to why "Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge", as related in the Bobbie Gentry hit. Director Max Baer Jr. (who would have thought "Jethro" had this kind of talent?) skillfully re-creates an atmosphere of 1950's rural Mississippi. and breathes life into characters only hinted at in the song. Scripted by Herman Raucher, with the same feeling of nostalgia he gave SUMMER OF '42, and beautifully scored by Michel Legrand, ODE TO BILLY JOE is a sweet and touching story of the awkwardness of teenage love, and the consequences of an unfortunate event, which, in today's politically correct times, would probably be scorned or laughed at. Glynnis O'Connor and Robby Benson, are re-teamed after their excellent debut in JEREMY. Another treasured film on VHS, that I hope will someday come out on DVD.


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