They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)
Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 25
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 4
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 5,352
A total of nine Academy Award nominations went to this wildly acclaimed, allegorical drama set amongst the contestants in a marathon dance contest during the Great Depression. Gig Young stars as Rocky, the obnoxious emcee for a dance marathon that offers prize money of $1,500, a small fortune during hard economic times that brings out the worst in several participants. Among them are Gloria Beatty (Jane Fonda), a malcontent who's partnered with a drifter, Robert Syverton (Michael Sarrazin); a
Dec 10, 1969 Wide
Mar 13, 2001
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Watch It Now
Allyn Ann McLerie
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The material is simple and irresistible, and Sydney Pollack stages it well (though without transcending the essential superficiality of his talent).
A sordid spectacle of hard times, a kind of existentialist allegory of life.
The acting is strident and overblown, the narrative technique gimmicky and obvious, and the implication that the competitors' situation is a microcosm of a wider-reaching American malaise rather pretentious.
The movie is by far the best thing that Pollack has ever directed (with the possible exception of The Scalphunters).
It's depressing as hell, so it's not a movie I would watch repeatedly, but I'm sure glad I saw it. This is an important film about a time in America's history that wasn't so glamorous. You won't forget it.
There has never been a film quite so original as this, featuring a wealth of noted actors fighting for their lives in a dance competition taking place during the Great Depression.
An allegorical, socially conscious response to the injustices of the Depression era.
Pollack's adaptation of Horace McCoy's depression era novel has not dated well.
Grim but compelling tale set in a Depression era dance marathon. Gig Young deservedly copped the Oscar.
Sydney Pollack's screen version of the powerful Depression-era dance marathon is extremely well acted, particularly by Jane Fonda as the suicidal actress, her first great performance.
Overblown, but good anyway.
Dated, condescending moralizing
Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin portray one of the more sordid depression stories about survival on a dance floor to bring home the bacon.
Endlessly negative, the movie goes out of its way to deny the audience any moments of joy, opting instead to retreat further and further into the phantasmagoric fever dreams of the exhausted group.
Any fan of dark, dark comedy will need to seek this film out (and it's kind of hard to find), as its influence is still palpable 30 years later.
The performances are uniformly excellent, the actors -- desperate, hungry, fraught, close to breakdown -- live their roles.
Audience Reviews for They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
- Rocky: I may not know a winner when I see one, but I sure as hell can spot a loser.
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