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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:

A love story that's joyous, funny, and so touching you'll never forget it. 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

Second collaboration between Robby Benson and Glynnis O'Connor since Jeremy (1973). 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

Remade as Ode (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

That's What I Love/Hate About the South
10 January 2003 | by codyfantabulonSee all my reviews

If this film had been directed by Truffaut or Bergman it would have swept Cannes. The fact that many viewers find it almost impossible to understand is testimony to the film's authenticity. As a life-long Southerner I feel compelled to state that anyone from the South over the age of 35 either knows or is one of these characters. The time period represented is one which lives in the memories of those alive today. Mississippi is particularly well drawn. I lived in Mississippi for four years and this film captures that distinct Mississippi flavor of charm,vindictiveness,religious observance,and sin. The bridge scene is what Southern pride and "redneck" are all about. Daddy just WON'T back up. One of the main themes of Southern art is the fact that many of the characters are so far from introspection and so close to instinctive, impulsive, animalistic behavior. When someone is "different" tragedy and/or myth tends to happen. Tennessee Williams mined that vein. Like the characters in this film, his people often dimly understood that they needed to either leave home or accept self-revelation in the confines of their environment. Most couldn't do either. The result is usually some sort of denial,death, or sacrifice. Great films/novels/short stories about the South have a sense of yearning and fatalism which I find very honest and moving. If you are into Russian literature, you are probably into Southern literature too! My thanks to Max for this beautiful film.


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