7.9/10
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They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

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3:05 | Trailer
The lives of a disparate group of contestants intertwine in an inhumanely grueling dance marathon.

Director:

Sydney Pollack

Writers:

Horace McCoy (novel), James Poe (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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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
Stars: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Valerie Perrine
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane Fonda ... Gloria
Michael Sarrazin ... Robert
Susannah York ... Alice
Gig Young ... Rocky
Red Buttons ... Sailor
Bonnie Bedelia ... Ruby
Michael Conrad ... Rollo
Bruce Dern ... James
Al Lewis ... Turkey
Robert Fields Robert Fields ... Joel
Severn Darden ... Cecil
Allyn Ann McLerie ... Shirl
Madge Kennedy ... Mrs. Laydon
Jacquelyn Hyde Jacquelyn Hyde ... Jackie
Felice Orlandi ... Mario
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Storyline

Gloria is a young woman of the Depression. She has aged beyond her years and feels her life is hopeless, having been cheated and betrayed many times in her past. While recovering from a suicide attempt, she gets the idea from a movie magazine to head for Hollywood to make it as an actress. Robert is a desperate Hollywood citizen trying to become a director, never doubting he'll make it. Robert and Gloria meet and decide to enter a dance marathon, one of the crazes of the 1930's. The grueling dancing takes its toll on Gloria's already weakened spirit, and she tells Robert that she'd be better off dead, that her life is hopeless - all the while acting cruelly and bitterly, alienating those around her, trying to convince him to shoot her and put her out of her misery. After all, they shoot horses, don't they? Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

People are the ultimate spectacle

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

18 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 August 1970 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Baile de ilusiones See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (current)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Sydney Pollack rewrote James Poe's original script to make the story more claustrophobic. See more »

Goofs

When they're 'jogging' around the dance floor, Gloria's shirt is soaked with sweat. In the next shot it has only one sweat spot, and in the next it's all drenched again. See more »

Quotes

Rocky: The doctor's decision is: Lillian Kramer stays on in the marathon! The doctor's assured me Lillian just has a slight sinus headache.
Gloria Beatty: Headache. For all that quack knows she's... she's got a brain tumor.
Robert: No, I don't think so. Only I'm not exactly sure, but I think it's different with a brain tumor. Different symptoms.
Gloria Beatty: Yeah? How do you know?
Robert: I saw it in a movie. Anita Louise and Richard Cromwell. That's what she died of. Anita Louise. A brain tumor. But it was different. Everything just suddenly ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Afghan Luke (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

I Cover the Waterfront
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Johnny Green
Played on piano by Lynn Willis
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Deeply unsettling and emotionally draining
25 June 2007 | by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviewsSee all my reviews

During the Depression, many had nothing... and the few that did were almost equally as miserable. This movie displays a dance marathon, held for the entertainment of the latter, and the expense of the former. The contestants dance for daily meals and a place to sleep, and the weak hope of a prize, if they are the last couple standing. The rules are cruel, and whilst the many dancers fight to remain standing, the audience is served snacks and fast-food. The film shows how callous people can be, sometimes. The plot is magnificent, the story-telling excellent. Acting(Sarrazin can exude an extraordinary amount of emotion through his eyes), casting, editing(with extremely few slightly weak moments), pacing, direction, cinematography, lighting, music, production design, everything, it's all amazing. This is a very difficult film to watch(which is by no means to say that I regret doing so). It is not entertainment, nor is it something to escape one's everyday life with. It is brutal and uncompromising, a window into an era and an event, both of which show humanity at its worst. A masterpiece. I intend to look for other films by Pollack, there is no doubt about that... fortunately, my fiancée has told me that he has done lighter fare(I would prefer watching something less bleak than this for the next of his movies I view). This is a very important movie, particularly in today's world, where reality shows are all over TV. I recommend this to anyone certain that they can sit through it. 8/10


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