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The Electric Horseman (1979)

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A rodeo star past his prime steals his company's horse and rides into the desert, with a feisty reporter accompanying him.

Director:

Sydney Pollack

Writers:

Robert Garland (screenplay), Paul Gaer (screen story) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Redford ... Sonny Steele
Jane Fonda ... Hallie Martin
Valerie Perrine ... Charlotta Steele
Willie Nelson ... Wendell
John Saxon ... Hunt Sears
Nicolas Coster ... Fitzgerald
Allan Arbus ... Danny
Wilford Brimley ... Farmer
Will Hare ... Gus
Basil Hoffman ... Toland
Timothy Scott ... Leroy
James Sikking ... Dietrich (as James B. Sikking)
James Kline James Kline ... Tommy
Frank Speiser Frank Speiser ... Bernie
Quinn K. Redeker ... Bud Broderick (as Quinn Redeker)
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Storyline

Sonny Steele used to be a rodeo star, but his next appearance is to be on a Las Vegas stage, wearing a suit covered in lights, advertising a breakfast cereal. When he finds out they are going drug the horse in case its too frisky, he rides off into the desert... Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Electric See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$61,801,971

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$61,801,971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Wildwood Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's title "The Electric Horseman" comes from the movie's iconic "electric cowboy suit". The outfit was an electrified cowboy suit which was decorated with hundreds of very small flashing light globes. When Sonny Steele (Robert Redford) rides the rodeo horse, the saddle is a matching electrified one. See more »

Goofs

The white splotch on Rising Star's face reverses itself in subsequent shots when Sonny releases him near the end of the movie. The splotch moves from Rising Star's right eye to left eye and then back again. See more »

Quotes

Hallie Martin: I'm just trying to be pleasant. You get so worked up about everything.
Sonny Steele: What have I got to be worked up about? I've only got a stole horse; everybody except the Coast Guard is after me; I've got nothin' but miles of open country to cross; and now I'm carrying a crazy woman around wearin' shoes from Bloomingbirds who thinks she's seen a rattlesnake round up.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film's original soundtrack has been changed in different ways for its two DVD releases:
  • The Image DVD replaces Dave Grusin's beautiful "Freedom Epilogue" score music (where the horse is set free) with a reprise of "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" by Willie Nelson, originally heard during the opening credits. This actually works well, though one wonders why a piece of original score had to be changed.
  • The newer Universal release goes a step further, removing "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" from the opening credits (and in fact from the film completely) as well as "Freedom Epilogue" and replaces them both with a very inappropriate generic harmonica-driven instrumental which is meant to sound like a Willie Nelson song.
See more »


Soundtracks

Midnight Rider
(uncredited)
Written by Gregg Allman and Robert Payne
Performed by Willie Nelson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A simple tale of a simple man who sets himself and a horse, free.
9 May 1999 | by rondineSee all my reviews

To those people who didn't understand this movie, perhaps they were expecting something other than a simple tale. In this effective movie, Robert Redford plays "Sonny" Steele, a former 5 time rodeo champion who now hocks breakfast cereal for the sinister corporation, Ampco. Although a world champion cowboy, Sonny is no good at selling cereal. When Ampco buys a thoroughbred horse to solidify a merger, Sonny is outraged at how the horse has been mistreated. When he steals the horse in an attempt to set it free & get it back to nature, he is in fact attempting to make right what is also wrong in his own life. Jane Fonda who plays Hallie Martin, a reporter, is also caught up in the hype when she tries to get the story on an exclusive. As she follows his story & his struggle to set the horse free in an appropriate place, she comes to understand Sonny the man. This charm of this movie is its underlying message of a simple life, unfettered by hypocrisy and falseness as the right way to live and the redemptive quality of a man returning to that. Understated directing and a good supporting cast make this a movie worth watching.


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