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Comedy - Family, Uncategorized

Bronco Billy (1980)

Duration1h 56m
RatingsUK: A, USA: 
Source of storyThere was a Western producer called Bronco Billy Anderson back in the 1920s in Hollywood, but only the name is a connection.
DirectorClint Eastwood
Writers/ScriptDennis Hackin
StarringClint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Scatman Crothers, Bill McKinney, Sam Bottoms, Dan Vadis, William Prince, Merle Haggard
RatingsIMDb: 6.1 by 10,727 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 75% by 20 reviewers

Elevator Pitch: Heiress Antoinette Lily has had to marry before her thirtieth birthday in order to inherit. She does but while staying in a country motel her new husband steals her car and her luggage. Fortunately for her Bronco Billy’s travelling Wild West show is passing and Billy picks her up.. The show is on its last legs, no-one has been paid for six months and Miss Lily is considered to be bad luck, particularly when the tent burns down. She and Billy fall for each other, but she leaves and returns to her former life. Despite a new tent made from flags things do not go well. What to do?

Content: There is no sex or nudity although there is a bit of snogging, and a flash of Miss Lily’s underwear. There is drinking at various times, at least one of the guys is an alcoholic. The show travels across the  country in a couple of tatty trucks and a van and horse trailer. There are stops in small towns, and the show takes place, featuring the star Bronco Billy doing trick riding on his horse, then shooting plates and finally shooting balloons from the close proximity of the assistant who is strapped to a rotating target. Over time it is revealed that none of the performers are quite what they appear to be.

A View: I had always given this film a miss over the years, since I had not generally appreciated Eastwood’s move into comedy, or his on screen relationship with Sondra Locke. But there it was on TCM, so my wife and I watched it. We enjoyed it, and we thought Miss Locke was OK, despite a Razzie nomination for “Worst Actress”.  It cost under $5 million and made $24 million, but Clint was dissatisfied with the financial return. However by now it is a classic so if you fancy s slightly different view of Clint Eastwood give it a go.

Additional Info: Eastwood has said that the shoot was “one of the most affable of his career”. The photo I have included is the finale of the film. It as if the cast had lined up like they do on stage.  

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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