Boxcar Bertha R

Amazon Instant Video

(24) IMDb 6.1/10

An orphaned farm girl (Barbara Hershey finds romance and adventure fighting the railroad with union organizer Big Bill Shelley (David Carradine). Martin Scorsese directs this explosive story of America in the 1930s. Based on "Sister of the Road" by Boxcar Bertha Thompson as told to Ben L. Reitman.

Starring:
Barbara Hershey, David Carradine
Runtime:
1 hour 29 minutes

Boxcar Bertha

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Martin Scorsese
Starring Barbara Hershey, David Carradine
Supporting actors Barry Primus, Bernie Casey, John Carradine, Victor Argo, David Osterhout, Grahame Pratt, 'Chicken' Holleman, Harry Northup, Ann Morell, Marianne Dole, Joe Reynolds, Jerry Cortez, Louie Elias, Michael Fitzgerald, Gayne Rescher, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Scorsese
Studio MGM
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Thank goodness Scorsese was able to learn from his mistakes and move on to the artistic brilliance he showed in his later work.
Glenn Gallagher
I would not recommend buying this for casual viewers, but rather renting it - you won't want to review it often but it is fun to have if you are collector.
Robert J. Crawford
Set in the Great Depression, this move shows, if somewhat romanticized, life of the southern railroad unionizer and an young orphan girl who fall in love.
Rocky M

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 2002
Format: DVD
This is the cut and censoured version of that movie. Wait for the unrated version.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By different drummer 63 on March 7, 2005
Format: DVD
Like many talented young U.S. directors of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Martin Scorsese got a big break from American International Pictures studios. This was in the days of drive-in movies and so-called "B" pictures, meaning that something like Boxcar Bertha would be secondary to whatever feature attraction was playing. AIP directors worked on a strict schedule, small budget, and were required to goose things along with softcore sex and bright red violence. No surprise, Scorsese delivered, and found ways to punch it up with his trademark kinetic editing style. He also knew how to get solid performances, even back then. Barry Primus, Bernie Casey, and John Carradine shine here; Barbara Hershey and David Carradine aren't so great or convincing. The movie, like Bonnie And Clyde six years earlier, is about contemporary rather than past times, even though it's set in the 30s. Hershey and Carradine are early 70s free lovers and free spirits, not really nice folks but much more moral than their foes in banking and legal institutions. The film is uneven, but just when you find your attention drifting, Scorsese makes his presence felt with imaginative, original, playful images and sequences. For example, pay close attention to the scene in which Carradine goes to his union office with stolen money, and see how much effort Scorsese puts into images that other directors would blow off. The DVD looks great, a huge improvement over cruddy, pan and scan VHS. No extras except for the original trailer, which is a treat: lots of it is shot through bright colored tinted lenses, taking you back to 70s schlock at its finest.Read more ›
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bindy Sue Frřnkünschtein TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 24, 2004
Format: DVD
Produced by Roger Corman and directed by Martin Scorsese, BOXCAR BERTHA is a romp through the deep south of the great depression. Bertha (Barbara Hershey) is young, beautiful, and not at all afraid of taking her clothes off! This is good, since she's naked a lot in this movie! Plot?? Well, Bertha's dad is killed in an airplane accident, sending Bertha on an adventure of boxcar jumping, bankrobbing, murder, prison escapes, trainrobbing, prostitution, and lots of laughs. Bertha is accompanied by Big Bill Shelly (David Carradine) and two other cohorts played by Barry Primus and Bernie Casey. Did I mention Bertha's lack of clothing? It just keeps flying off for some reason! Anyway, Bertha and her gang decide to take down an evil railroad baron (played nastily by John Carradine), not realizing just how evil he really is. This leads to the gang's downfall. The finale is pure savage mayhem and revenge! Worth a peek. Oh, and Bertha spends a great deal of time in her birthday suit too...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on May 8, 2010
Format: DVD
This is a very early Scorsese effort, so definitely worth a viewing. Indeed, it is a funny disjointed story with the young Barbara Hershey - a flower child from acting royalty - and David Carradine in his prime. Orphaned, she wanders around via train hopping and has a series of misadventures, finding love with a union activist and blithely blundering into crime and prostitution as if it were a game. Hershey kind of acts like a stoned out 60s bimbo, though in fact the aimlessness and subtle despair of her character signals the debut of a very talented actress. She is also at the height of her beauty, truly stunning. The depression era of poverty, chaos, and racism is evoked well, including railroad goon squads, chain gangs, and obscure union halls full of "reds".

Unfortunately, the film is choppy, clearly a low-budget affair in spite of some notable scenes. I remember seeing pix from it in Playboy when it came out, touting the real-life romance that started between Carradine and Hershey. I would not recommend buying this for casual viewers, but rather renting it - you won't want to review it often but it is fun to have if you are collector.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rocky M on January 27, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Boxcar Bertha, based on the true story of "Boxcar" Bertha Thompson, features a dynamic young cast. Set in the Great Depression, this move shows, if somewhat romanticized, life of the southern railroad unionizer and an young orphan girl who fall in love. And how the unionizer and the girl, along with two other cronies turn to petty crime to survive. The climatic ending must be seen to be believed. Also if you are interested in steam era railroading, there are plenty of steam locomotive and train scenes to satisfy you. Not to mention the 24 year old Barbara Hershey is hot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Bonesteel on May 7, 2008
Format: DVD
This early effort by Martin Scorsese for low-budget legend Roger Corman manages to sustain interest, but it's only a glimmer of the genius to come. Bertha (Barbara Hershey) hooks up with labor agitator Big Bill Shelley (David Carradine); with their gang (Bernie Casey and Barry Primus) they pull off a number of robberies and find themselves on the run right up until the suitably bloody climax. This will be of interest to Scorsese completists and lovers of exploitative B-movies; others need not bother.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wolflox696 on June 23, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I looked for another version, but this one is ok. Anytime Barbara is wearing no panties in a movie, that can't be at all bad IMV. I recall this from a while back and just occasionally I add a few movies from times past to my collection, and this is one I wanted. I like Barbara Hershey films.
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