Billy Jack - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Billy Jack Reviews

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½ October 23, 2016
Danny Peary's essay in Cult Movies homes in on Tom Laughlin and Dolores Taylor's machinations to have the picture made and released to maximally exploit the youth audience.
I liked it more than I expected to. I was amazed/appalled at how issues it broached are paralleled in our current events.
Super Reviewer
March 6, 2016
My dad loves this, so i will never see it.
February 6, 2016
Great cult movie. The theme of peace loving Indians being defended by one violent army veteran is a bit comical.
November 21, 2015
I have watched this movie every time it came on. Love the Billy Jack movies. I saw it in 1971 and it is still good.
½ February 22, 2015
I finally saw "Billy Jack," from 1971, in Tom Laughlin's character from 1967's unwatchable "Born Losers", becomes a pop culture icon. "Billy Jack" captures the zeitgeist of the late Sixties / early Seventies youth movements, despite awful acting from the leads and a script so liberal it seems to exist in a parallel universe. That said, the council meeting and the national anthem are just as relevant now, and seeing a young Howard Hesseman is worth the price of admission. For pop culture historians.
½ October 30, 2014
A film so fascinatingly liberal it almost seems to exist in a different universe.
½ October 28, 2014
Despite it's bad acting and poor sound, this film is oddly very good. Sometimes it's accidentally funny, other times it's purposely hilarious. I sincerely, albeit weirdly, enjoyed this film.
August 8, 2014
awesome i remember seeing at the drive-in as a teen
½ April 2, 2014
What a strange ambivalent film. If there's a discernible message, it's that peace is the answer ... but people really suck, so sometimes you have to use violence ... but using violence will probably just get you killed anyway. I honestly can't figure out whether Tom Laughlin is some kind of genius or a complete moron. He's definitely not somewhere between those two poles. The endless hippie school scenes are ... well ... endless, and drag the film down (a pox on that little girl singing that song about her brother dying), but the action scenes are quite good and where else do you get to see a hippie Howard Hesseman do improv comedy?
½ March 14, 2014
Real honest to goodness hero who fights against other white oppressors who harass Natives! A real film critic would never criticize Tom Laughlin's role in this one along with the other 2 spin off films. Anyways.. that's my scoop on this.
March 5, 2014
Being an Indian isn't a matter of blood, it is a way of life.

Billy Jack is a former Green Beret who served in the Vietnam War. He didn't agree with the war, and when his time of service was over, he returned home to live on an Indian reservation. Billy is half American and half Native American, but he studies the old ways with a shaman in the caves. He also serves as the protector and police force for the Native Americans as well as a special school that has recently opened on the reservation. Unfortunately, some locals don't like Native Americans or the school, and Billy may go down fighting to protect his people and the children of the school.

"You're making a mistake."
"I've made them before."

Tom Laughlin, director of The Proper Time; Like Father, Like Son; The Born Losers; The Trial of Billy Jack; Billy Jack Goes to Washington; and The Return of Billy Jack, delivers Billy Jack. The storyline for this picture is okay but seemed too much of a mix of Indian culture and the school was almost depicted as "cult like." The racial stereo types and lessons learned were depicted well and the action scenes were definitely cool. The cast delivers okay performances and includes Tom Laughlin, Victor Izay, Delores Taylor, and Clark Howat.

"When was the last time you cut your hair?"
"When was the last time you brushed your teeth, sir?"

I watched this picture off Netflix because the plot sounded interesting (and it was scheduled to come off Netflix on 3/10). I will say the premise was okay and some aspects of this film were awesome; but overall, the run time was too long and some plot points were not as good as intended. This film is just okay and definitely could have been better.

"When police break the law there is no law."

Grade: C+
February 20, 2014
Saw this movie in the movie theatre when I was in HS very impressive at the time for a young adult. Loved it then & still do. :D
½ February 10, 2014
Billy Jack caught my eye as being "the most unusual box office success of all time", so I figured why not.

Billy Jack sets up to be interesting because it has a really well constructed into, using a lot of beautiful scenery and footage of horses running as the beautiful Jinx Dawson cover of the song "One Tin Soldier" plays which sets up the atmosphere for the time of the film and feel or how the story will movie.
And Billy Jack is an interesting film, because it's the first film I have scene which deals with how Native American figures are treated in the timeframe of counterculture society. And its protagonist, the titular Billy Jack, is a contemporary cowboy who fights for the equal rights of Native Americans, Caucasians and hippies. And it's rather ironic because the film's message of peace gets mixed up with all of its violence and so it poses the audience a question of just where the line is.
While Billy Jack has an interesting start, it soon dissolves into a simply extended period of talking which goes on for very long and loses it's interesting qualities very fast. It then becomes an extended period of waiting as the film explores basic characters who all play small roles in the story and other random themes which aren't essential to the story or for helping it develop. It goes on for more than a solid hour, which is more than half the film. So more than half of Billy Jack is boring and cheap storywriting which doesn't even focus enough on the titular hero to characterise him all that well.
And while the visual quality of Bily Jack is great, the audio quality is weak. The voices of the actors needs to be fixed because it's too quiet and fuzzy to be that enjoyable and distracts from the pleasure of the film.
Honestly, many of the flaws in Billy Jack remind me of the many flaws I found in a film of my own, my first feature length project. While the intro is shot well and its a determined efforts from Tom Laughlin for writing, directing and starring in it, the pacing is excessively slow and the film is a bit too long for its own good. While Tom Laughlin succeeds giving Billy Jack stylish direction and a good lead performance, he just doesn't really tell the story as best he could or give it an appropriate amount of stimulation between the effective beginning and ending of the film. Billy Jack is a hero, but I just wish the film spent more time telling us that.
So although Billy Jack has good intentions, a good cast and a memorable soundtrack, the film has an extensively dull middle section which drags the viewing experience into territory which is nothing short of boring.
February 2, 2014
Can't overstate the political effect this had on me as a kid. Also a great storyline, a pretty good theme song, and ... mmm ... let's say, a variety of acting talent. as maverick filmmaking, though, not much competes with it. Laughlin made it and distributed it himself, literally taking reels to theatres.
September 4, 2013
Absolutely the WORST ACTING on film!!!
June 25, 2013
Very slow paced and abit too preachy for my liking but some quality vigilantism from Billy Jack. Bigotry, hatred, rape , humilation and cruelty will not be tolerated on his watch. Do not fuck with this half Indian ex- Green Beret.
½ March 30, 2013
I was super disappointed in this and can't for the life of me figure out why it has such a huge following.
March 26, 2013
One of my very favorite films of all time. Made a huge impression on me when I was young.
½ March 24, 2013
I've of those movies that I guess you had to be there to get it.
½ March 20, 2013
A Forgotten Movie Hero!! For it era, the first successful commentary on society's ugliness. Raw enough to seem like sections were filmed reality. A successful followup to "Born Losers".
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