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Billy Jack

Billy Jack – 1971
Just a person who protects children and other living things

Tom Laughlin
Tom Laughlin
Delores Taylor
Earl D. Elliott
Edward Haldeman
Tom Laughlin
Tom Laughlin – Billy Jack
Delores Taylor – Jean Roberts
Clark Howat – Sheriff Cole
Victor Izay – Doctor
Julie Webb – Barbara
Debbie Schock – Kit
Teresa Kelly – Carol
Lynn Baker – Sarah
Stan Rice – Martin
David Roya – Bernard Posner
John McClure – Dinosaur
Susan Foster – Cindy
Susan Sosa – Sunshine
Katy Moffatt – Maria
Gwen Smith – Angela
Richard Stahl – Council chairman
Allan Meyerson – O.K. Corrales
Ed Greenberg – Drama teacher

Review by Gary F Taylor

Billy Jack (1971)
Incredibly Pretentious,

I was twelve years old when I saw this on the big screen and loved every minute of it. Today I feel a trickle of cold sweat whenever the movie is mentioned, and when I recently had occasion to see the seventies film again I cringed to think that I had ever been enthusiastic about it in my childhood.
It isn’t so much that BILLY JACK is a bad movie as it is an awesomely pretentious one rife with glaring bouts of hypocrisy. The story of non-violent native Americans and flower children saved from hysterical cowboys by Billy Jack (who wants to be non-violent but always has to kick butt) is well-intended, but from a modern standpoint it is acutely embarrassing. The production values are so-so, and the cast is merely adequate at best. If you have fond memories of this seventies film, keep them by leaving BILLY JACK in the past: don’t see it again. And if you have never seen it… leave well enough alone.

Billy Jack (1971)
Review by Wayne Malin

Very dated but interesting,
A “Freedom School” (where children or all races are given a progressive education and learn how to deal with issues nonviolently) in Arizona is constantly under attack by a bigoted, conservative group of people from a town nearby. The school is protected by Billy Jack–a ex-Green Beret half breed. The school preaches tolerance and peace–naturally Billy protects the school by beating people up!

This film was a huge hit when it was released (or rereleased) back in 1973. Time has not been kind. The message here seems to be peace can only by achieved by violence. That’s a frightening thought and (as Leonard Maltin points out) the constant talk about peace in the movie gets ridiculous considering how violent the film is (there are beatings, shootings, child abuse, rape, etc).

The best parts of the film show the students at the Freedom School interacting and how they deal with certain topics and issues. The issues and talk is all very 70s but interesting. Their acting seems natural and unforced–they talk and act like real kids. Also Delores Taylor (as the head of the school) gives out a very good performance–especially moving is when she talks about how she felt after she’s been raped. Also the film has a great opening (and closing) song “One Tin Soldier”.

The big problem with this film is Tom Laughlin as Billy Jack. He’s handsome but he’s short (he’s always shown on a horse so we won’t realize), he’s obviously no halfbreed and his acting is really REALLY bad.

So, message aside, this is an interesting film. Worth a look.

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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