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Badlands (1999)

Warren Oates , Martin Sheen , Terrence Malick  |  PG |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Warren Oates, Martin Sheen, Ramon Bieri, Sissy Spacek, Alan Vint
  • Directors: Terrence Malick
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: French, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2011
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005KQVE1S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,331 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek play young lovers on a shooting spree across 1950s South Dakota in Terrence Malick's turbulent, gut-grabbing masterwork. Kit Carruthers, a young garbage collector and his girlfriend Holly Sargis from Fort Dupree, South Dakota, are on the run after killing Holly's father who disagreed with their relationship. On their way towards the Badlands of Montana they leave a trail of dispassionate and seemingly random murders. A very intriguing narrative without judgements, and lacking the usually sensational approach of this genre. Very good acting and directing, and beautiful photography. The script was based upon the true story of the Charles Starkweather and Caril-Ann Fugate murders in 1958.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before the Fall February 6, 2006
Format:DVD
Kit and Holly are presented in this story by Terrence Malick as total innocents, living in a prelapsarian state, completely unaware of right and wrong, good and evil, and ignorant of guilt or sin. They have minimal conception of the consequences of their actions; in effect, they appear almost totally to lack imagination or foresight, and can barely empathise with each other, let alone other people. Things just happen, as Holly sees it. Kit doesn't feel hostility to the people he kills: they are merely in his way. There is no remorse. He is only marginally conscious that the structured world outside his own will eventually catch up with him. These kids are like Adam and Eve, with a limited knowledge of what is forbidden, but no real knowledge of the meaning of life and death. Holly throws out her sick catfish, showing no feeling. Her dog is shot as a punishment by her father, indicating he, too, is careless of death or pain. Kit stands on a dead cow, as though puzzled by its absence of life. Neither of the two seems to cry or laugh much. In one way these characters might also be thought of as throwbacks to a prehistoric, animalistic past, where the younger man simply eliminates the older, in order to secure a mate for himself. Just the way of nature, and beyond criticism. Apparently, so I've read somewhere, this is the mindset of the criminal, who cannot see what he is doing wrong. He has to get by, somehow, and takes the easiest path. Why work, when you can steal? If obstacles arise, eliminate them. People are OK, otherwise. Live now, die later. This is an extraordinary film, superbly acted.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A COMPLEX TALE OF EVIL... February 19, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This is an amazing directorial debut, as the film works on so many fronts. It is both a love story and a crime drama, with sneak peaks at what makes the two main protagonists tick. It remains for the audience to decide who is the more chilling and disturbed of the two characters, twenty five year old Kit (Martin Sheen) or fifteen year old Holly (Sissy Spacek).
This is a film in which two unlikely characters become lovers. Kit, a James Dean-like loser espies the fresh-faced Holly twirling her baton one day and is smitten. He approaches her and, despite her initial reluctance, she begins to see him against her protective father's wishes. Kit is ten years older than Holly, a high school drop out from the wrong side of the tracks, who is unable to maintain a job and appears to have a limited future. He falls in love with Holly and wants her to be his exclusively. Eventually, they become lovers.
Holly, a loner who has been raised by her father since her mother died many years ago, lives a middle class, materially comfortable existence. Her father, while he no doubt loves and cares for her, lacks a certain sensitivity. His idea of punishing Holly for disobeying him is to shoot her dog in cold blood. When her fish is dying, his solution is to toss it into the yard while it is still gasping for breath, replacing it with a new fish. Holly's naive, fresh-faced, freckled countenance belies a soul that has atrophied. It is as if Holly were disconnected from her feelings.
When Kit tries to talk to the father about his feelings for Holly, he is told in no uncertain terms to hit the road. Kit then decides to leave and take Holly with him. Kit enters Holly's house one day, packing a suitcase of her things in anticipation of their departure, when Holly and her father unexpectedly arrive home.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable debut from Terrence Malick November 17, 1999
Format:DVD
This is one of the best criminal/lovers on the run films to date. As in all of director Malick's films, the music, acting, and photography are all first rate. Malick does not stylize or glorify the violence like too many other films of the same plotting. The violence makes its impact on the viewer without resorting to any exaggerations or excessiveness. What is most striking about the film are its many contrasts with the characters. For example, the characters' alienation is depicted in the shots of lonely desolate landscapes. Many of their spoken thoughts, points of view, and statements are absolutely senseless....just like their killings. Martin Sheen is very chilling as the remorseless and trigger-happy Kit. What also makes Badlands different is that the film does not blame society for the behavior of Kit and Holly (played wonderfully by Sissy Spacek). Powerful, chilling, extremely well done and highly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars when the god of self supercedes all others... October 26, 2003
Format:DVD
The film opens up and ends in diary fashion - the voice of Sissy Spacek narrates here and there, telling the tale her bleak existence in 50s rural midwest America. Holly (Spacek) lives alone with her father, dog and pet catfish. Her catfish gets sick, so she tosses him in the yard as he flounders for a gasp of air before he suffocates to death... and this is just the appetizer. She disobeys her father, so he shoots and kills her dog - and then you start to see a set of characters full of rules, but no true love... just self-imposed morality as it fits their need for control of every situation.
One lazy day Holly meets Kit (Martin Sheen), a handsome James Dean-esque character who is cocky, handsome, intelligent and shows interest in Holly. Kit is far from a father's dream of a catch for his daughter - kit is at least 10 years older and works as a garbage collector. While that profession pays better today, in the 1950s, it was hardly something worth writing home to mother about.
Holly's father forbids her to see Kit, but Kit is persistent and finally decides to kill the man who is in the way of their romance. The killing is less passionate or spontaneous than it is cold, emotionless and calculating. Similar to the way one swats a fly without remorse, killing it simply because it became too annoying, and life goes on. Holly just watches in a daze, not truly horrified at her wounded, dying father, and not surprised or mad at her beau.
Kit feels compelled to burn down the family home to cover up his crime, but then takes a record player outside so it won't burn - then goes to a self-recording record-making booth to make a confession record that plays outside the burning house as his morbid confession.
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That is the way that I read it. Does anyone know for sure?
May 17, 2014 by Michael W. Meade |  See all 2 posts
Criterion - Please put Badlands on blu ray!! Be the first to reply
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