6.8/10
1,274
24 user 15 critic

The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)

Trailer
2:01 | Trailer

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After being thrown out of her home, a young woman decides to disguise herself as a man to survive the ruthless Wild West.

Director:

Maggie Greenwald
Reviews
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Suzy Amis ... Josephine 'Jo' Monaghan
Bo Hopkins ... Frank Badger
Ian McKellen ... Percy Corcoran
David Chung ... Tinman Wong
Heather Graham ... Mary Addie
Rene Auberjonois ... Streight Hollander
Carrie Snodgress ... Ruth Badger
Anthony Heald ... Henry Grey
Melissa Leo ... Beatrice Grey
Sam Robards ... Jasper Hill
Olinda Turturro Olinda Turturro ... Elvira
Ruth Maleczech ... Shopkeeper
Jeffrey Andrews Jeffrey Andrews ... Sam
Cathy Haase ... Mrs. Addie
Peadair S. Addie Sr. Peadair S. Addie Sr. ... Mr. Addie
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Storyline

Based on a true story, this is the tale of Josephine Monaghan, a young woman of the mid-nineteenth century who is thrown out of her parents' home after being seduced by the family's portrait photographer and giving birth to his child. Josephine quickly learns that young, female, pretty, and alone are a bad combination for life in the wild west. In her desperation to survive, Josephine disguises herself as "Jo", a young man, and struggles to make a life for herself in a dingy frontier mining town. Can "Little Jo" live and love without revealing his secret? Written by Martin Lewison <lewison@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the Wild West, a woman had only two choices. She could be a wife or she could be a whore... Josephine Monaghan chose to be a man.

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and some violence | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 August 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Balada do Pequeno Jo See more »

Filming Locations:

Carbon County, Montana, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,773, 22 August 1993, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$543,091

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$565,530
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Film debut of Joe Freed. See more »

Goofs

When Jo pulls the money out of the pouch in the general store, the way she holds the money and pouch changes in the next shot. See more »

Quotes

Frank Badger: Little Jo, you are the unfriendliest fella I ever met, and frankly quite pecular.
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User Reviews

 
a little slow, but excellent nonetheless
31 December 2005 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This is a non-action-oriented Western about a woman who, for years, masquerades as a man. At the beginning of the film, she is thrown out by her father after she gives birth to an illegitimate child, so she travels west. However, along the way, she is attacked and decides to disguise herself as a guy so she'll be left alone. While this might be seen as a strongly feminist or gay-positive movie (featuring a very alternative lifestyle, indeed), the movie did not seem preachy or agenda-driven. Instead, it is a smart film that takes a very slow and leisurely pace to the ultimate conclusion. I would have preferred the pace and mood to perhaps be a little less somber, but considering how intelligent the film was, I will certainly forgive this.

Particular standouts are Suzy Amis as Jo and Bo Hopkins. I always felt that Hopkins was a bit of a light-weight (particularly considering the parts in the 1970s), but he proves himself to be an excellent actor. It's a real shame neither of these actors got much work after the film debuted--they certainly deserved it.


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