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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN AMAZING DIRECTORIAL DEBUT...
This is an amazing directorial debut, as the film works on so many fronts. It is both a love story and a crime drama, with sneak peaks at what makes the two main protagonists tick. It remains for the audience to decide who is the more chilling and disturbed of the two characters, twenty five year old Kit (Martin Sheen) or fifteen year old Holly (Sissy Spacek).
This...
Published on 31 Mar 2003 by Lawyeraau

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little did I realise that what began in the alleys and back ways of this quiet town would end in the Badlands of Montana.
Badlands is written and directed by Terrence Malick. It stars Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Ramon Bieri and Warren Oats. Music is by George Tipton and James Taylor and cinematography by Tak Fujimoto, Steven Larner and Brian Probyn.

Badlands seems to be adored by critics, often being coined as one of the best debuts ever made by a director. Maybe based loosely on...
Published 12 months ago by Spike Owen


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN AMAZING DIRECTORIAL DEBUT..., 31 Mar 2003
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Badlands [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is an amazing directorial debut, as the film works on so many fronts. It is both a love story and a crime drama, with sneak peaks at what makes the two main protagonists tick. It remains for the audience to decide who is the more chilling and disturbed of the two characters, twenty five year old Kit (Martin Sheen) or fifteen year old Holly (Sissy Spacek).
This is a film in which two unlikely characters become lovers. Kit, a James Dean-like loser, espies the fresh-faced Holly twirling her baton one day and is smitten. He approaches her and, despite her initial reluctance, she begins to see him against her protective father's wishes. Kit is ten years older than Holly, a high school drop out from the wrong side of the tracks, who is unable to maintain a job and appears to have a limited future. He falls in love with Holly and wants her to be his exclusively. Eventually, they become lovers. While it is Kit who does all the actual killing, it is, to my mind, Holly who is the more complex and frightening character. Her prosaic and banal conversation, as well as a lack of empathy in the most heinous and disturbing of circumstances, is most unsettling. This is reinforced in the film through a voiced-over, almost toneless, detached narration by Holly of the events that took place. It is a masterpiece of point and counterpoint, chilling in its very telling and understated irony. When they are eventually caught, Holly remains impassive, while Kit relishes his celebrity and oozes charm, winning over his captors. Martin Sheen's performance is nothing short of brilliant, while Sissy Spacek is mesmerizing with her ability to chill the viewer.
This is an expertly crafted film with an ingenious use of music. The director even manages to utilize the music of Erik Satie (Gymnopedies 3) most effectively, however unlikely it may seem. Like the music of Erik Satie, the film is multi-textured and deceptively complex. Bravo!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A monument of American Cinema, 6 July 2003
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This review is from: Badlands [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
"Badlands" was a product of early 1970s American Cinema when directors dared to challenge the Hollywood moralising ethic. That said, that is resolutely not a museum piece. It is simply one of the greatest movies, road or otherwise, I have ever seen.
Sissy Spacek and especially Martin Sheen given the performances of their careers. So much is conveyed by the dialogue, sparse though it may be. Every sentence Sheen utters is at once profound, inconsequential, natural and stylised but, above all, engrossing.
The film is beautifully shot and the DVD transfer does justice to the cinematography, giving a sense of the scale of the landscape through which Kit and Holly drive on the run. Sissy Spacek's voice over gives the story a perspective in the way that the commentary in Y Tu Mama Tambien was to do nearly 30 years later.
However, the film's greatest achievement is the soundtrack. The predominance of Carl Orff and Eric Satie seems initally at odds with the setting and subject matter of the film but it complements the uniqueness of Malick's approach and amplifies the visual beauty of the film. And when Kit and Holly dance to Nat King Cole's "The Dream Has Ended", the transience of the young lovers' freedom is all too palpable.
This is a film to return to again and again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little did I realise that what began in the alleys and back ways of this quiet town would end in the Badlands of Montana., 22 Jun 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Badlands [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Badlands is written and directed by Terrence Malick. It stars Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Ramon Bieri and Warren Oats. Music is by George Tipton and James Taylor and cinematography by Tak Fujimoto, Steven Larner and Brian Probyn.

Badlands seems to be adored by critics, often being coined as one of the best debuts ever made by a director. Maybe based loosely on the Starkweather-Fugate killing spree of 1958, though the makers have been at pains to ensure we know this is a case of all the characters and situations being fictional, Badlands does indeed have impressive strands. It's a gorgeous picture visually, the surreal feel that is sometimes garnered by Malick in the narrative gives the piece a haunted edge and Spacek and Sheen are very good given the characters they are asked to play.

However, Malick's commentary on amoral youth of 50s America, a corruption of innocence, alienation and etc, never has the depth, to my mind, to really be as special as so many say it is. Some argue the sketchy motives and reasonings involving Kit and Holly are deliberately thought provoking, I'd argue that devoid of psychological meat they are dull characters only livened by the actors' performances. Holly's narration is a clever device by Malick, serving to keep us interested since the structure of the film is repetitious, where being in the company of Kit and Holly becomes a chore. And lets not get onto credibility either...

I know I'm in the minority, but three times I have tried to grasp this supposed genius in Badlands, and I just don't see it. There's a myth and mysticism that has been attributed to it, even enhanced as the years have rolled by, but where there is undoubtedly beauty on the surface, down below there is no beast. 6/10
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Great Achievements of US Cinema, 3 Sep 2008
By 
Mr. G. C. Stone "mgcs" (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Badlands [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Great works of art are very much of their time, but have a relevance and impact long afterwards - and this is a great work of art. A simple story - disfunctional couple on the run, but told with great artistry and 'truth', with actors burdgeoning into great careers, and with much to say about US society, disaffection, and the cult of celebrity killers.

The cinematography is groundbreakingly beautiful, and surely the use of music has never been bettered - this movie sears itself into your brain.

Enthralling, gripping, funny, brutal (death is sad and real and pitiful), and simply a benchmark of US film-making that might never be bettered.

How many DVDs do you watch right through the end credits? I found myself doing this - in awe and contemplation, and because the music is notched up once more and demands to be listened to through to the very last. This is quite deliberate - every detail here is thought right through and infused with cinematic genius.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 11 July 2014
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This review is from: Badlands [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Great
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5.0 out of 5 stars A truly unique film from the golden age, 12 April 2014
By 
Mr. E. A. Dobson "dwardstings" (West Yorkshire,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Badlands [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
One of my favourite films of all time. I lent it to a friend, he said 'I can't believe True Romance stole so much from this! '. Well Tony Scott's film is partly a homage (of course Tarantino wrote the screenplay) & I still think it's fun but Badlands is a true classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest crime films of all time!!, 14 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Badlands [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
This is an absolute classic crime film and a key ispiration for the film directors of today, Quentin Tarantino and Oliver Stone to Tony Scott to name a few, this is a film which will never age!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Badlands, 17 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Badlands [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Love it. A true cult film, brilliant acting by all of the main characters, and one to watch many times over
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3.0 out of 5 stars The history of a statutory rape and numerous horrible murders presented as a beautiful romance..., 6 Feb 2014
By 
Maciej "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Badlands [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
It's a quite watchable crime film, inspired by real events - but honestly, I couldn't really find anything particularly extraordinary in it. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

The inspiration for this film was the real case of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate who murdered eleven people between 30 November 1957 and their arrestation on 29 January 1958. When arrested, Starkweather was 20 years old but Caril Ann Fugate was barely 14 years old... Starkweather was sentenced to death and executed - Fugate was sentenced to life in prison, but she was paroled after 17 years. Other than "Badlands", this strange and horrible couple inspired also the film "Natural Born Killers"...

"Badlands" was clearly inspired by Starkweather-Fugate murder spree, but there are also great differences. The main protagonist, Kit Carruthers (Martin Sheen), is older than Starkweather (he is 25) and it is stressed that he is very good looking and popular (which was DEFINITELY not the case of Starkweater). His girlfriend, Holly Sargis (Sissy Spacek), is 15 and unlike Caril Ann Fugate she actually doesn't actively participate in the murders (which has influence on her final fate). Also, unlike Fugate who lived in a regular, normally functionning family, with both her parents and a baby sister, Holly lives only with her father (Warren Oates), who is shown as a particularly nasty character...

The story is tragic and sad and the film is well made, no argument there, but I couldn't find any particular greatness in it. If anything, I was a little bit bothered by the sympathy shown by the director to Kit Carruthers, who in my modest opinion didn't deserve any. He is, after all, a 25 years old fully grown man who, with his looks and wits, could have any woman he wants, but who instead goes after a CHILD! In fact this whole film is mostly about statutory rape - presented as a beautiful love story!

I mean, what is wrong with this guy!? And then he actually escalates into even worse crimes - but the director doesn't seem to find anything of it very serious... No, in fact the film almost seems to show that those who cross Carruthers path are the ones who are guilty - because they bother him and prevent him from enjoying life... Even the title of this film seems to take away the blame from the killer - it is not him, it is just that in this rural country life is so boring and empty that it actually makes sense to go on killing people who displease you...

The character of Holly on another hand is better and she actually can be seen with some considerable pity. There is something clearly wrong with her, as she doesn't seem to feel anything for the victims of murders and even if she doesn't enjoy sex very much she still follows blindly and obeys without a fuss the man who half-seduced, half-abducted her - but, well, after all she is still a child and a vulnerable one with that, maybe even slightly mentally delayed... Also, she is clearly more than little scared of him ("I wouldn't mess with Kit if I were you, you know? Me, when he says 'frog', I hop...") Sissy Spacek, who was 24 at that time but looked definitely younger, certainly portrayed her very well.

So, all in all, I admit that this is a quite honest, watchable film, definitely less disgusting than "Natural Born Killers", but I really cannot consider this as a masterpiece. For me, it is a film to rent and see once. Which I did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing., 28 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Badlands [DVD] [1973] (DVD)
Martin sheen is brillant as a psychopathic drifter in this film based on the exploits of Charles Starkweather.
An absolute acting tour de force.
Sissy Spacek is also fine in her role of Caril Fugate, Starkweather's naive and malleable cohort.
Set in magificent epic scenery, this film is sheer class from start to finish.
Terrence Malick's scintillating directorial debut.
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Badlands [DVD] [1973]
Badlands [DVD] [1973] by Terrence Malick (DVD - 2003)
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