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The Betsy (1978)

R | | Drama | 9 February 1978 (USA)
The aging, retired founder of an auto giant comes out of retirement to try to develop a safe, fuel-efficient car.


Daniel Petrie


Harold Robbins (novel), William Bast (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurence Olivier ... Number One
Robert Duvall ... Loren Hardeman III
Katharine Ross ... Sally Hardeman
Tommy Lee Jones ... Angelo Perino
Jane Alexander ... Alicia Hardeman
Lesley-Anne Down ... Lady Bobby Ayres
Joseph Wiseman ... Jake Weinstein
Kathleen Beller ... Betsy Hardeman
Edward Herrmann ... Dan Weyman
Paul Rudd Paul Rudd ... Loren Hardeman Jr.
Roy Poole ... John Duncan
Richard Venture ... Mark Sampson
Titos Vandis ... Angelo Luigi Perino
Clifford David ... Joe Warren
Inga Swenson ... Mrs. Craddock


The patriarch of a family-owned corporation hires a young race car driver to help him design a fuel efficient car in secrecy. They face resistance from the president of the company (the patriarch's grandson), who wishes to eliminate the motor car division because of bad blood between himself and his grandfather. During flashbacks, a parallel set of problems is revealed in the family's past, problems that persist into the present, and the race car driver gets deeper into the web of deception and corporate intrigue. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Harold Robbins people. What you dream...they do!




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This movie is listed among The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE. Interestingly, even though it was a critical bomb, it met the approval of Harold Robbins, and although it was not a blockbuster, it was a moderate financial success. See more »


Loren Hardeman: Angelo, I don't want anyone else to get hurt. I'm giving up the Betsy.
Angelo Perino: [shocked] You're what?
Loren Hardeman: I've seen people broken before, and it's not gonna happen again. The next funeral I want to attend is my own.
See more »


Referenced in American Masters: Woody Allen: A Documentary (2011) See more »

User Reviews

One of the all time great Bad Movies We Love
18 March 2000 | by mctheimerSee all my reviews

This is one of my two favorite Bad Movies I Love, the other one being "Trapped by the Mormons." I watch this after seeing nothing but Italian Neorealism and French tragedies for a couple weeks, to remind myself of what really bad films look like, and how wonderful they can be when life has gotten too serious.

Think of this film as being "Dynasty" with a bigger budget. The basic concept is American Excess At Its Finest. If it had been shown during the Communist era in Russia, I'm sure it would have been great propaganda for the evils of capitalism.

"The Betsy" involves cars instead of oil (as in "Dynasty"). Olivier has the Blake Carrington part, except that John Forsythe is much better in the role. (I read Olivier's bio, and in it he does indeed state that when he got older and had to support one current and two former wives, that doing things for the money was a fine thing.) Leslie Anne Down has the Joan Collins role. Katherine Ross has the Linda Evans role. I don't know whose role Tommy Lee Jones has, but it's the General Stud Muffin Deluxe part, and yes, in his youth, he could pull it off.

Anyhow, this is the perfect film to see when you've had a bad week and need pure, stupid escapist fare -- sort of like why we all were addicted to "Dynasty" and "Dallas" for years!

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Release Date:

9 February 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Betsy See more »


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