6.3/10
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35 user 27 critic

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
Jane Fonda ... Hallie
Valerie Perrine ... Charlotta
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
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 1979 picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound but lost out to Apocalypse Now (1979). See more »

Goofs

The video footage shown on television of Sonny Steele's speech about the horse doesn't match what Alice would have actually shot. The camera movement, lighting and direction of where Steele was facing while talking is completely different. See more »

Quotes

Hallie Martin: Mr. Steele, why were you 45 minutes late to the press confrence?
Sonny Steele: Well, I'd like to aplogize for that. I was giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to a bottle of tequila. And, we lost her too.
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Teri Garr/The B-52's (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
(uncredited)
Written by Ed Bruce
Performed by Willie Nelson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Seen this movie 100 times
15 December 2004 | by ejb4501See all my reviews

OK, first, to the reviewer that suggested "too much Fonda" and would have liked to see Susan St. James or Jennifer Warren in the role of Alice, you are forbidden from ever reviewing again. Fonda was perfect, and more on that later.

Second, this is not about a cowboy freeing a horse who is about to be drugged, as some reviewers have said. The horse was drugged from the beginning. Sonny noticed it, and that was a contributing factor to his subsequent actions.

This movie is about a man who strayed far from who he was, and who sought to find himself again. The horse is metaphoric: it is drugged, exploited, and broken, just like the man. So, the man attempts to find himself, as he helps the horse find itself again, so to speak. And, in the process of trying to report the story, the Fonda character attempts to find herself as well, for she has become neurotic, pill-popping, and uptight in her quest to become a star reporter. And, of course, as they travel the countryside, we find America.

Back to Fonda. Fonda's casting has always been that of the strong but flawed "career" woman, from "Barbarella", to "Klute", to "Electric Horseman". She is independent, doesn't need a man. As the tough and aggressive reporter in personal crisis, she is cast perfectly. St. James has neither the strength nor the necessary equal dose of vulnerability that Fonda can muster. This is about chemistry as well. Redford and Fonda have teamed up before, and the chemistry is proved.

So this brilliant and simple story illustrates and creatively reinforces the the idea of straying from true nature, and the need to find it again.

VERY good film.


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