Ode to Billy Joe (1976)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Based on Bobby Gentry's haunting 1967 song, this drama attempts to explain why 17-year-old Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Talahatchie Bridge. Billy Joe is in love with Bobbie Lee Hartley, until he gets drunk one night and has an encounter that leaves him depressed and confused about his identity.
Drama , Gay & Lesbian
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Robby Benson
as Billy Joe McAllister
Glynnis O'Connor
as Bobbie Lee Hartley
Joan Hotchkis
as Anna 'Mama' Hartley
Sandy McPeak
as Mr. Hartley
James Best
as Dewey Barksdale
Terence Goodman
as James Hartley
Simpson Hemphill
as Brother Taylor
Ed Shelnut
as School Bus Driver
Eddie Tair
as Tom Hargitay
William Hallberg
as Dan McAllister
Frannye Capelle
as Belinda Wiggs
Rebecca Jernigan
as Mrs. Thompson
Ann Martin
as Mrs. Hunnicutt
Will Long
as Trooper Bash
John Roper
as Trooper Ned
Becky Brown
as Becky Thompson
Pat Purcell
as Youth In Car
James Westerfield
as Youth In Car
Jack Capelle
as Youth in Car
Al Scott
as Master of Ceremonies
Becky Bowden
as Becky Thompson
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Critic Reviews for Ode to Billy Joe

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (1)

Very weak plot, acting based on flash hit song of the '70s.

February 19, 2008

Quote not available.

February 25, 2007
F5 (Wichita, KS)

Quote not available.

June 25, 2005

Quote not available.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ode to Billy Joe

A great slice of life movie- I thought this film perfectly covered small town living, expectations and dynamics a bit better than it covered homosexuality, but that doesn't really take away from the film. The movie I felt was a bit too afraid to actually deal with Billy Joe's potential gayness, though in leaving room for you to interpret if he was actually gay or perhaps just taken advantage of is also an interesting dynamic either way. What I thought the most interesting lesson of this film was about how expectations in small towns are quite literally everything and any deviation can be soul crushing.

Jenna Ipcar
Jenna Ipcar

Such a sad kind of gut wrenching mysterious story, yet there is something so riveting about it...Robbie Benson and Glynnis O'Connor for starters as well as the hit song by Bobbie Gentry which I guess is the premise for this movie? Even though I hate what happens in it, to a confused, frustrated, misled boy...I've always liked this movie.

Robin P.
Robin P.

Great song but a dull indifferently acted movie.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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