Badlands (1973)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5

USA, 1973.  Warner Bros., Pressman-Williams, Jill Jakes Production.  Screenplay by Terrence Malick.  Cinematography by , , .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Terrence Malick’s first classic is also the film that introduced Sissy Spacek and  to a wide audience, a crime drama that plays as a gritty Bonnie And Clyde of sorts. Sheen is a badass drifter who picks Spacek up and together they murder her entire family, then travel across the Dakota badlands on a killing spree, doing their best to avoid the authorities until the inevitable catches up with them.

Spacek is fantastic, and Sheen at his most James Deanesque is a memorable anti-hero icon. Based on the real-life Starweather-Fugate killing spree of 1968, the story here has been fictionalized and the names changed but the disguise is very thin.

The Criterion Collection:  #651

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