Cat Ballou 1965

Cat Ballou

Critics Consensus

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88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 26

74%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,156

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Movie Info

When hired gun Tim Strawn (Lee Marvin) kills her rancher father, Cat Ballou (Jane Fonda) becomes an outlaw set on vengeance. Enlisting the help of washed-up gunslinger Kid Shelleen (also Marvin) as well as the handsome bandit Clay Boone (Michael Callan), Cat strikes back at the land-development company that employed Strawn, and eventually targets the assassin himself. Adding to the lively comedic mood of the film are narrative song performances by Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye.

Cast & Crew

Jane Fonda
Catherine "Cat" Ballou
Lee Marvin
Kid Shelleen, Strawn
Tom Nardini
Jackson Two-Bears
John Marley
Frankie Ballou
Reginald Denny
Sir Harry Percival
Jay C. Flippen
Sheriff Cardigan
Stubby Kaye
The Sunrise Kid
Roy Chanslor
Writer (Novel)
Walter Newman
Screenwriter
Frank Pierson
Screenwriter
Frank De Vol
Original Music
Jerry Livingston
Original Music
Jack A. Marta
Cinematographer
Malcolm Brown
Art Direction
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News & Interviews for Cat Ballou

Critic Reviews for Cat Ballou

All Critics (26) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Cat Ballou

  • Aug 12, 2017
    Most review this film simply as a film and that's certainly a legitimate way to go, all things being equal, but it misses the context of the times it was created in. In 1965 a something happened that shook the world and that something we forget or take for granted: the realisation that not everyone was free. In those days there was a riot waiting to happen behind that thought depending on what side of the street one stood on. This film imagines what life might be like otherwise and therein is its importance. So there's a woman outlaw, a Native American compadre, black and white balladeers leading the narrative, and a drunk trying to reclaim his life: all losers societally, bound together to change their lives, an American tale then. And then there's the story. The story ... eh, generic Western. But the rest carries the idea, if not perfectly, of freedom from the presumption of what role lives ought to be. "I choose my life!", but played for cute, for laughs, lightheartedly.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jul 21, 2013
    A schoolteacher hires a gang of misfits to revenge her slain father. Maybe I just don't like Westerns ... or comedies. I found all of the jokes flat and all the gags ludicrous. I chuckled once: "He did it! He missed the barn!" Lee Marvin's performance is good. He plays his typical hard-ass role, and he satirizes himself playing the drunken good guy. The film doesn't say much. There isn't a lot in the way of femme power, but Jane Fonda isn't incredibly compelling. Tom Nardini's token Native character isn't as offensive as most Western portrayals of Native characters, but the line "It wasn't me that did that to Custer" implies that Natives are generally evil, but this one isn't (never mind that Custer had it coming to him, that blond-haired, blue-eyed criminal fuck). Overall, fans of Westerns might like this comedy, but I'm everything but a fan of Westerns.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2013
    Its a weird movie that exists somewhere between a parody of westerns and a loving homage to them. It is nice to be reminded of a time when someone (in this case Lee Marvin) could win a Best Actor Oscar for such a goofy performance.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 27, 2011
    With all of these musical numbers, I though I was watching "Cats Ballou". Get it? "Cats: The Musical"? ...Sorry it's hard to make a good joke after this thing raised the standards too high for me too even think about reaching its level of hilarity. Okay, it's not that funny, but it's pretty dang funny. Still, the laughter does die down quite a bit at the many slow points. Other mood-killers include some forced scenes, a periodic lack of development, some overdrawn points, inconsistent character focus and some underwhelmingness. Still, in spite of this, the film is supported by originality, good musical numbers, charming characters and a fine storyline. As for the femenist subtext, it's noticeable, though not blatant and gets its point across. Touching on the performances, they're surprisingly fairly competent, but still don't get in the way of the hit-hard humor. The humor is snappy and well-written with razor-sharp delivery. Sight gags and dialogue are - in a good way - somewhat unsubtle, but the satire is ironically subtle and clever. This thing does poke fun at the tropes of Westerns, but doesn't shove its being a spoof down your throat. This kind of subtle, clever and sharp satirizing is hardly, if ever found in today's spoofs. In the end, "Cat Ballou" is unpretentious fun with good performances, charm, interesting messages and razor-sharp satire.
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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