Release date October 15, 1973.
Running time 1 hour 35 minutes.
As a reminder, you can click on this or any other photo in the blog and it will enlarge it for you. This movie, starring Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen, is one of those underrated American films that only movie critics and other nerds talk about. Which is why it is being featured here on "Busting Chops".
The story is loosely based on the 1958 real-life crime spree of 20-year old Charles Starkweather and his then 14-year old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, which left eleven people dead all over Nebraska and Wyoming. Starkweather received the death penalty and Fugate, who never actually murdered any of the victims but was along for the ride and did aid and abet her boyfriend while the were on the run from the law, received a 17 year sentence for her role. The film is narrated from the POV (movie parlance for Point Of View) of the young girl.
The dreamlike, fair-tale manner in which the film was done worked in it's favor. The director, Terrence Malick, used this tactic to juxtapose the immature, youthful, romantic relationship of the two fugitives with the horrific violence perpetrated by the boyfriend.
Never have two losers looked so mahvelous, dahling. Spacek and Sheen were both young and good looking, and the film is beautifully shot in some pretty breathtaking locations. But it's the superb acting that makes it worth watching. You get the feeling you're watching two maestros at work. Both Sheen and Spacek really disappear into their respective roles and make the audience believe they are watching two young people in love and running off looking for excitement like any other foolishly young couple in love. Except in this case Sheen just so happens to be a sociopathic killer.