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  • They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
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They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Price: $58.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Susannah York, Gig Young, Red Buttons
  • Directors: Sydney Pollack
  • Writers: James Poe, Robert E. Thompson, Horace McCoy
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 2004
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002KPHZQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,464 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Nominated* for nine Academy Awards(r), this vivid (Cue), fascinating (Leonard Maltin) film stars Oscar(r) winner** Jane Fonda as a woman driven to seize her last best chance during the very worst of times. A brilliant (LA Herald-Examiner) achievement by director Sydney Pollack, it is a stunning period piece (Variety). In Depression-era America, desperation spawned a bizarre fad: the dance marathon. Couples competed to stay on their feet for thousands of hours, and audiences flocked to watch. But Gloria (Fonda) doesn't think of herself as a spectacle. She is a fierce, unforgiving contestant in a battle she's determined to win. At stake is much more than the $1,500 prize. The marathon is her only hope for dignity, accomplishment and salvation. *1969: Director; Actress (Jane Fonda); Supporting Actress (Susannah York); Supporting Actor (Gig Young, won); Adapted Screenplay; Art Direction; Costume Design; Editing; Musical Score **1978: Actress: Coming Home; 1971: Klute

Customer Reviews

He is so convincing in the role it won him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Golden Girls fan
I made a bunch of notes about the film that I now cannot read, it's too bad because while I remember the film well I really don't remember what I jotted down there.
It was the lesser characters that really brought the most credibility to the story and the film.
Rex Dillon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By RALPH PETERS on October 8, 1999
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was overjoyed to receive a gift of the reissue of this video in 1995, that is until I watched it in all its "pan & scan" desecration. It is truly a joy to watch this DVD (VHS is now available in widescreen as well) in the right format with all the extras. But all that aside, this is a towering, neglected masterpiece of American cinema that virtually put director Sydney Pollack on the map and established Jane Fonda as the premier American actress of the Sixties and Seventies. Who else could have captured the tragic essence of the bitter, beaten Gloria but Fonda? Watch her especially in the final elimination round as she desperately (and literally) carries her ailing partner around the floor in a final attempt to win the big prize and (symbolically) maybe give life one more try. Fonda never sentimalizes this great character as a lesser actress would have been tempted to; no simple answers or easy forgiveness will do for Gloria--she is too important to be trivialized. Red Buttons, Susannah York, and Gig Young are also superb in supporting roles; the cinematography and music also deserve kudos. If you haven't seen it, do not miss this American classic and one of the century's greatest actresses just entering her prime. How we do miss Jane.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ilona Novotny on December 22, 2006
Format: DVD
In this age of "Reality" TV shows like "Survivor", in which "The Most Devious and Unscrupulous Person Wins" for a grand prize of a million dollars, the grim reality of the Great Depression makes inconsequential dreck like this look like a walk in the park. Sydney Pollack's "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?", based on the novella by Horace McCoy, is a harrowing heartbreaking , and unforgettable experience. Set in Southern California in 1932, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" is the tale of a marathon dance, and the desperate people who participate in it. For those of you who don't know what a marathon dance was, couples had to dance for 2 hours, take a 10 minute break to sleep or eat, and then dance again....and again...and again. These grueling endurance contests went on for weeks, and the last remaining couple on the dance floor would win the Grand Prize...if they were still alive and/or still conscious enough to claim it....while spectators watched the whole grotesque show.

Jane Fonda (in the performance of her career, IMO) plays Gloria Beatty, an embittered young woman who has had more than her fair share of hard knocks. Her dance partner is the dreamy-eyed and naïve country boy Robert Syverton (Michael Sarrazin), Among the other contestants are a flinty, middle-aged sailor (Red Buttons), aspiring actress Alice LeBlanc (Susannah York) and her partner Joel (Robert Fields), and hayseed couple James and Ruby (Bruce Dern and Bonnie Bedelia). Presiding over the dance is the cynical emcee Rocky (Gig Young, in an Oscar-winning performance) The action of the film covers the weeks that transpire during the dance, and the physical, emotional, and mental toll that it takes on the contestants is, quite simply, horrifying.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Golden Girls fan on October 17, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Sydney Pollack has given the world some of most memorable and engrossing films ever such as "The Way We Were," "Out of Africa," "Tootsie", and "The Firm." However, most seem to forget about this little masterpiece he helmed back in 1969, about a dance marathon that causes more disillusionment that being told your life is a worthless shame. Jane Fonda heads out the cast as a struggling actress who seeks out the dance marathon as a means of survival during the Great Depression. Marathons of this type were popular, luring in poor folks to see who would be willing to go so far to win a cash prize. Susannah York is another actress from Hollywood who has had her share of bad luck and it gets worse and worse as the marathon wears on. Red Buttons is a sailor who has seen his share of human loss and heartache but matters to almost nothing when he sees what this marathon will do to its contestants. Gig Young is well-cast as the scheming marathon promoter who loves to sit back and watch the people collapse and give up. He puts the show on soley for human spectacle and idiotic display. What he does to select contestants will have you loathing and seething with hatred for his character. He is so convincing in the role it won him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Young, who was a major comedy star back in the 1940-50's, was sinking into deep melancholy over life and his work and the Oscar did little to nothing to help him. In 1978 he shot his wife and then himself, always convinced that he was the result of an accidental pregnancy. However, despite this pitiful knowledge, he has given the entertainment world some of the best work we've ever seen, including his own TV show in the 50's in which he went behind the scenes of movies in production.Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jim Casey on December 13, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Not for the squeamish or those looking for "a good time" in movie entertainment. Set in depression era L.A. at an endless dance marathon, Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin play variations on down-&-outers of the period. Jane's a would-be acrtress who's done a little extra work & now wants more; Michael is just a farmboy cajoled into the dance marathon by emcee Gig Young. Young gives a wonderful performance as the sardonic, wicked emcee -- more vocal & abrasive than any other character in the movie! Young won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his job handling the mike & the dancers. There isn't much real dancing -- the characters are endlessly exhausted and weary from staying on their feet trying to win measly prizes along the way & wishing to win the big final prize. Big climactic scenes: the heal-and-toe race to eliminate dancers & what drives Suzannah York's character over the edge! Other standout performances are by Red Buttons, as an old-time sailor who's tough as nails; Suzannah York, as a fey British high-society actress who gets taken down quite a few notches; also, look for Al Lewis, the grandfather from the ol' Munsters TV show, as assistant emcee at the dance marathon. More actor trivia: the actor who played the Sargent on the first years of Hill Street Blues is also a dance floor bouncer. Other miniscule roles with big actors: Allyn Ann McClearie as Buttons's girlfriend/partner; Bonnie Bedalia & Bruce Dern as the expectant couple struggling to stay afoot against all odds. For serious trivia nuts, anyone who knows who Paul Mantee is will recognize him as one of the other dance floor bouncers!Read more ›
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