Billy the Kid

Critics Consensus

Jennifer Venditti's doc Billy the Kid turns "special" into a double edged sword, forging a sharply honest film around a strangely enigmatic -- if awkward -- kid named Billy.



Reviews Counted: 30

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Audience Score

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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
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Average Rating: 4/5

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Movie Info

"Billy the Kid" is a sensitive and verite portrait of Billy, a 15 year-old outsider growing up in small-town Maine. Billy appears, in many ways, like other teenage boys. He's into heavy metal and martial arts, is desperate to find a girlfriend, and aspires to a career as an actor and rock star. Yet, in other ways Billy is unique. A troubled past and ongoing behavioral issues have left him marked. But, he is unapologetic about his personality and refuses to be victimized, creating his own techniques to help him survive in an environment of pain, conformity, and prejudice. Billy is funny, sharp, strangely wise for his age, and remarkably candid. We witness life from his perspective - from intimate conversations with his mother, to be bullied at school, to his fantasies of becoming a superhero. We also experience the exhilarating pangs of first love as Billy pursues Heather, a shy 16 year-old waitress. Will Billy get the girl? Will his community accept him on his own terms? "Billy the Kid" challenges viewers to imagine themselves beyond labels.

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Critic Reviews for Billy the Kid

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (12)

  • The best documentaries take you places you don't normally have access to.

    Feb 29, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Billy's resilience, though, is nothing short of amazing. Not to mention part of growing up.

    Feb 8, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • What you ultimately take from the film is the awareness that this smart, self-aware, uncensored kid has been playing to a camera in his own head since well before Venditti came along.

    Feb 7, 2008
  • Billy the Kid, a movie that's as interesting as it is dewy-eyed, may be the rare snapshot of an adolescent 'outcast' who is really the guy made for fame, with a built-in radar for how to present himself in front of the camera.

    Jan 9, 2008 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Nobody ever said growing up a small-town geek was easy. I know from personal experience, and so does Billy Price, the subject of director Jennifer Venditti's affecting documentary Billy the Kid.

    Dec 7, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • There's something to be said for Venditti's ability to build the kind of trust with a subject necessary to get full participation.

    Dec 6, 2007 | Rating: B+

    Noel Murray

    AV Club
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Billy the Kid

Very sweet and endearing documentary with a great subject. I think anyone can relate with the awkwardness. My problem comes with how they dealt with one aspect of his life (his love for a girl) and we only gets bits and pieces of some really nice scenes. I think that to say this kid is "normal" is kind of a stretch, but that's not a bad thing and only adds to a feeling of being voyeuristic instead of just connecting with the subject. There are some priceless, very funny moments that carry you through the rough spots.

Tim Sigur
Tim Sigur

Super Reviewer


Get ready to cringe uncomfortably as you get to experience those awful, awkward teen years all over again. God, 15 was a tough age. Billy, the subject of this fantastic documentary, may be a tad strange and angst ridden (what teen isn't?) but all in all he's a sweet kid with a weird way of expressing himself. The moments when he's trying to strike up conversation with Heather, the girl he has a crush on, should have folks running out of the theater screaming. This is uncomfortable viewing. But in the end, the audience is right there with him, suffering his failures and feeling his sadness. A great documentary, and make sure to watch the short follow up doc included on the DVD.

Christopher  Brown
Christopher Brown

Super Reviewer

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