They Shoot Horses, Don't They?



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 89%
IMDb Rating 7.9 10 14,446


Downloaded 33,633 times
April 7, 2019



Al Lewis as The Godfather
Bonnie Bedelia as Pam Marshetta
Bruce Dern as Keeg
Jane Fonda as Eileen Tyler
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
889.95 MB
23.976 fps
129 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.83 GB
23.976 fps
129 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by HotToastyRag 9 / 10 / 10

Incredible but upsetting drama

During the Great Depression, participating in dance marathons was a very popular activity. Couples would enter and dance nonstop for hours, days, weeks, or months, and audiences would flock to watch and cheer on their favorite team. The winning couple would receive some prize money, and in the meantime, the contestants would be fed and sheltered for as long as they endured. If you've never heard of this, or you're not up on your 1930s history, you might want to read up on the horrors of the Great Depression before renting They Shoot Horses, Don't They? If you don't really understand how desperate and hopeless these dance contestants felt, you might not be able to appreciate Robert E. Thompson's and James Poe's screenplay. The characters in the film act like condemned gladiators who will do anything to entertain the crowd before getting thrown into the lion's den. They stay on their feet no matter the cost, whether it's their health or dignity. They sleep while dancing, leaning on their partners, and one woman enters the contest while pregnant because she has no other prospects. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? is incredibly bleak. There are no happy parts to the story; this isn't a two-sided view of the famous walkathons of the Great Depression. The camera captures the up close and personal horrors the contestants experience, backstage and in front of the audience cheering in the stands. The audience is shown cheering when horrible things happen to the dancers; they treat them like animals in a horse race. Sydney Pollack directed the movie, and while it would have been easy to film it in a sensational, flashy manner, he chose a bleak approach. The colors are muted and dusty against the cheery façade of the event, and the sweaty and haggard faces show through the performance makeup. Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Susannah York, Red Buttons, Bruce Dern, Robert Fields, and Bonnie Bedelia are the featured dance contestants, and Gig Young is the MC. Everyone gives a superb performance, and Fonda, York, and Young were honored at the 1970 Oscars. Sydney Pollack was also nominated for his outstanding direction, as were the costumes, art direction, adapted screenplay, music, and editing. I've seen this film three times, but it isn't for everyone. It's extremely heavy and upsetting. But if you like movies that fall under the "people are terrible" mantra, like Network or The Great Gatsby, you'll be in a good position to appreciate this well-crafted film. Kiddy warning: Obviously, you have control over your own children. However, due to some upsetting content, I wouldn't let my kids watch this movie.

Reviewed by Woodyanders 6 / 10 / 10

Grim and upsetting for sure, but still quite powerful and impossible to shake

The early 1930's. Various down and out contestants put themselves through sheer physical, emotional, and psychological hell while participating in a grueling dance marathon for $1,500 dollars in prize money. Director Sydney Pollack offers a vivid and convincing evocation of the Great Depression-era period setting, maintains an unsparingly harsh and downbeat tone throughout, and astutely captures an overwhelming sense of despair, futility, and utter hopelessness. The pungent script by James Poe and Robert E. Thompson not only offers a potent and provocative meditation on the desperate measures people will resort to for the sake of fame, money, success, and survival, but also makes an equally profound statement on our culture's obsession with instant celebrity and how the premise of cruelty as entertainment serves as a means of enabling miserable spectators to take their minds off their own troubles for a while. The uniformly superb acting by the terrific cast helps a whole lot: Jane Fonda delivers a bang-up performance full of rage and defiance as the bitter and broken down Gloria, Michael Sarrazin makes a fine and sympathetic impression as the gentle and sensitive Robert, Gig Young totally deserved his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his fabulously lived-in portrayal of the corrupt and cynical emcee, Susannah York likewise excels as glamorous aspiring actress Alice, Red Buttons contributes a wonderfully exuberant turn as the hearty Sailor, Bonnie Bedelia projects a sweet innocence as the pregnant Ruby, Bruce Dern does his usual ace work as Ruby's fierce ox of a husband James, and Robert Conrad and Paul Mantee are appropriately stern and steely as a pair of hard-nosed referees. Philip H. Lathrop's crisp cinematography thrusts the viewer right into the harrowing thick of the punishing ordeal. By no means a pleasant or comforting film, but nonetheless a highly effective and unforgettable one.

Reviewed by roddekker 6 / 10 / 10

All They Do Is Dance-Dance-Dance!

Set in California during The Great Depression of the 1930's - "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" is all about the wretchedness, and all the utter hopelessness of an era of impoverishment like none other in American history. Here the viewer is witness to every despairing detail of destitution. All so graphically depicted. All so clearly unfolded through the sad experiences of a pitiful collection of marathon dancers, each one at the utter brink of desperation. This is a dance marathon to beat all other dance marathons. To date it has been running now, non-stop, for 2 months, solid. It's guaranteed to be a real record-breaker. And, the one, final couple that remains on their feet to the bitter end, out-dancing all others, will be crowned the winners, receiving as their hard-earned reward a grand prize of $1,500. Not much money by today's standards, but, for the many who were absolutely poverty-stricken during The Depression, it represented a literal fortune. Yep. That's what "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" is all about.

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