Badlands (film)

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Badlands is a 1973 film written and directed by Terrence Malick, starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. Warren Oates and Ramon Bieri are also featured. Malick has a small speaking part although he does not receive an acting credit.

The story, though fictional, is loosely based on the real-life murder spree of Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, in 1958.[1]

Contents

Plot

Badlands is narrated by Holly (Spacek), a teenage girl living in a dead-end South Dakota town. One day she meets Kit (Sheen), a rebellious young greaser who charms her and takes her as his accomplice on a cross-country killing spree. Holly's narration, describing her adventures with Kit with romantic clichés, is juxtaposed with the grim reality of Kit's sociopathic appetite for grisly violence. This use of voice-over to create a dialectic between sound and image has become a dominant feature of Malick's work. It is revealed by Holly during the ending that Kit was executed for his crimes.

Cast

Production

Malick began work on Badlands after his second year as a student at the American Film Institute. "I wrote and, at the same time, developed a kind of sales kit with slides and video tape of actors, all with a view to presenting investors with something that would look ready to shoot," Malick said. "To my surprise, they didn't pay too much attention to it; they invested on faith. I raised about half the money and executive producer Edward Pressman the other half."[2]

Principal photography took place in the summer of 1972, beginning in July, with a non-union crew and a considerably low budget of $300,000 (excluding some deferments to film labs and actors).[2]

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