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With: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates, Ramon Bieri, Alan Vint, Gary Littlejohn, John Carter
Written by: Terrence Malick
Directed by: Terrence Malick
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 94
Date: 10/13/1973

Badlands (1973)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Dean Sweep

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

One of the most outstanding of American feature filmmaking debuts, Terrence Malick's dark beauty Badlands tells one of the most American of stories: the lovers on the run. As Kit, the kid from the wrong side of the tracks—who begins the film working as a garbageman—Martin Sheen affects a James Dean look and walk, casually absorbing his surroundings and offhandedly asking about a set of antlers or a fine hat. Sissy Spacek matches him as the lovely, ethereal Holly, fascinated by Kit and never hysterical or frightened. Her narration, accompanied by Carl Orff's lilting, lifting "Musica Poetica" theme tune, as well as Malick's daydreaming, wide-open camerawork, turn this familiar story into pure heartland poetry. The great Warren Oates gets a few precious scenes as Holly's father, and brings a grizzled pride to them.

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