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Dancing Outlaw (1991)

Jessico , Jesico , Jacob Young  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

Price: $29.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Dancing Outlaw + The Wild Wonderful Whites of West Virginia + White Lightnin'
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jessico, Jesico, Jesseco, Jeseco, Jescoe Jesco White
  • Directors: Jacob Young
  • Format: Full Screen, NTSC
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MOVIEFISH
  • DVD Release Date: June 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009XBR6O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,730 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dancing Outlaw" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


"Dancing Outlaw is" "a cult screen legend" and "a white trash classic!" -- Film Threat, August 9, 2003

DANCING OUTLAW is on the "Core List", a "short list of best and brightest works of non-feature videos". -- American Library Association

John Waters meets Tennessee Williams. -- London Independent

Oxford American Magazine lists DANCING OUTLAW as one of the "13 Essential Southern Documentaries". -- Oxford American Magazine, Southern Movie Issue, Winter 2002

This titanic 1991 documentary…spawned a thousand late-night "dude, you've GOT to see this" sessions, and for good reason. -- The Stranger, Vol 12 No. 9, Nov 14 - Nov 20 2002

Product Description

This listing is for sale to individuals for private use, video rental stores and small libraries.

Included in the DANCING OUTLAW DVD:

- The OriginalDANCING OUTLAW Director's Edition, 60 minutes (Includes the original Outtakes, 30 minutes

- The Original DANCING OUTLAW II: Jesco Goes To Hollywood, 30 minutes

This unscripted, strikingly unique documentary film, is a revealing portrait of the nearly extinct "Hillbilly" culture that focuses on Mountain Dancer Jesco White's uphill battle against abject poverty, drug abuse, petty crime and mental instability. In his struggle to live up to his father's legacy as the finest mountain dancer in Appalachia, he leans on Jesus, Elvis Presley, and his wife, Norma Jean.

DANCING OUTLAW has screened at several major events, including the Sundance Film Festival.

Winner of 7 major awards, including:
Best Public Television Program
1992 Emmy Award
American Film Institute Award.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must Own" DVD March 27, 2005
Dancing Outlaw is a classic documentary of a tap dancer and Elvis impersonator from Boone County, West Virginia. The documentary is both comical and sad but it gives a glimpse of life that you probably would not believe unless you saw it. I've first saw a dubbed version of this video several years ago that was of rather poor quality. I recently found "Dancing Outlaw" as well as "Dancing Outlaw II, Jesco Goes To Hollywood" both on a single DVD. The DVD is available for $49.95 on [...] I purchased the DVD and have now viewed the recently released DVD and it is of much better quality that the VHS tape and offers all the advantages of DVD including the viewing quality not diminishing with use and time.

What Amazon does not tell you in the above description is this DVD includes both "Dancing Outlaw" and "Dancing Outlaw II: Jesco Goes to Hollywood" and the video viewing time is 101 minutes. Still $99 is too much to pay when you can get the identical video directly from the producer for 1/2 the price.

I own a copy and I highly recommend it.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great kitsch video August 24, 2004
By 2201
Format:VHS Tape
The Dancing Outlaw is a great video documentary which goes through the quotidian routine of a very abnormal man--Jesco White. He has coined himself the "last mountain dancer" and does a form of tap dancing set to old-timey country music (mainly, The Wildwood Flower.) Where the video is so interesting is in its portrayal of his obvious mental illness(es) including his split personality syndrome (Jesco/Jesse/Elvis,) his dysfunctional and somewhat abusive relationship with his wife Norma, and his brain damage from huffing too much lighter fluid in his troubled youth. You'll see what he does for fun (mud bogging, etc) and basically explore all the areas of this man's life. Even with the obvious humor, it is presented in a very artistic fashion, leaving an intelligent viewer to question how someone from dirt poor roots with this level of mental illness could still exist in this day and age. Yet even more puzzling is that he seems very happy with what most people would consider a pathetic life.

However, most people with whom I've seen the documentary totally miss the social commentary and treat it as a comedy. "Ha ha look at those dumb hillbillies" and "wow West Virginia must be a really weird place" kinds of reactions. If that's all you take from the documentary, you're the unsophisticated one. Do not make broad generalizations about the people of Appalachia or of working-class and rural populations based on the film.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best 25 minute biographical film ever made August 15, 2005
I had the world DVD premiere for this film in February 2005 at the South Charleston Museum in South Charleston, WV. Hundreds showed up - and for good reason. It is the best selling film ever made inside West Virginia - about a West Virginian. It is also the best short documentary about an unusual man and his life ever made, making my Top Ten list of all times - in Facets Multimedia. The director, Jacob Young, watched films by Les Blank and Errol Morris, and using some of their style and his own, created a masterpiece. At one time the state library of West Virginia had at least 8 copies of this film, loaning all of them out for a decade or more. It is hilarious, sad, tragic, insightful - and about everything else one can show in a film. It stands with any film, including Errol Morris' masterpieces like THE FOG OF WAR.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a very limited edition October 22, 2005
A Kid's Review
This is not the traditional version of "Dancing Outlaw" that is available on Amazon and others for around $50. The other reviewers were wondering why this is so expensive when it is available for less on the developers' web site. It is acutally $175 on the developers web site with only a few copies left. If you are a hard core Jesco fan -- you'll want this very limited edition. If not -- stick with the OG version for $50. As others have said -- this film is amazing. You'll quote it for years. The only comparable film is "My Brothers Keeper". However, Jesco has a great deal more humor to it -- in the fashion of a WV Mackenzie brother.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing August 3, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I was given a copy of this program several years ago, together with a 30-minute segment containing clips that never made it into the original. Since I no longer own a VHS machine, I came looking for a DVD version, and even though I did not find one, felt compelled to correct a quote in the previous review (Stu, July 16, 2004). A review was born.


"Dancing Outlaw" is the story of Jesco White and his family, all living in rural West Virginia. It is never clear what Jesco actually does for a living, though his identity certainly hinges on Elvis impersonation and filling the shoes (literally) of his now-deceased father, whose tap dancing skills are legendary in "the holler", where they all live.

It is an oversimplification to say this film is funny and engrossing because it showcases hillbillies. If that's all you're looking for, there is probably something more shocking and comic on "reality TV". "Dancing Outlaw" succeeds because it is a story first and foremost, and because that story is told by the participants.

My objection to Stu's partial quote is that it completely strips the intensity from the scene. Jesco (referring to an incident with his wife, Norma Jean): "...I took the butcher knife and put it up to her neck, and said, 'If you want to see better start fryin' them eggs better then what you been fryin' em. I'm tired of eatin' slimy, sloppy eggs'"

And that is by no means the most memorable Jesco quote from the film.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great documentary about west virgina mountain people
Published 22 days ago by F. H. Hendrix
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY IT!!!
A must have!!!!
Published 1 month ago by luke
4.0 out of 5 stars great stuff
It's riveting--Jessco's as out front as you can get.
Very honest and compelling documentary.
Well edited, well shot, well set up, and compassionate towards its subject,... Read more
Published 6 months ago by scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
If you like the Whites of WVA - you should check this out - very entertaining - a must have companion DVD - would like for it to have been a little less expensive and a little... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dirty H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Jesco rulz!
Great little video about the famous mountain tap dancer, Jesco White. Wish it was longer, loved it. Read more
Published 8 months ago by PunkyBrewster
5.0 out of 5 stars A Study in a Different Culture
Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction and Jesco White and his family definitely prove this. We lived in WV when Jesco became famous after this documentary was made and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jean M. Life
5.0 out of 5 stars WV is alive and well!!!
I love ole jessco white. He has been Honest always!! Ya gotta love the man, who loves Elvis and his family. Yes he is correct, no runny Eggs!!!
Published 10 months ago by Kimberley G. Shiflett
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This was very entertaining. Funny at times, yet sad at the same time. You really start to root for this guy to make it!!
Published 11 months ago by Fonda R. Upton
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Jessie keep right in STEP
What you people don"t understand, Jessie is a real individual. In Boone County , Logan , Mingo and other Counties in West Virginia. These are real people and not Hollywood. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ron Fowler
5.0 out of 5 stars He knowed 42 more steps than anyone else.
What's not to love about this psychotic documentary? This family puts the "fun" in "dysfunctional. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Loco
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