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The Trial of Billy Jack Movie Review Summary

Actors: Tom Laughlin, Delores Taylor, Victor Izay, Michelle Wilson

Detailed Plot Synopsis of The Trial of Billy Jack

Billy Jack, a half-breed American Indian who preaches peace but is skilled at using martial arts for violence, goes on trial for involuntary manslaughter because he accidentally killed a redneck while protecting Freedom School. He offers a rambling indictment of local officials, racism, and Nixon from the stand and gets a 5-to-15 year sentence. While he's in prison, the school gets increased funding and grows into a complex that includes a TV station, newspaper, expanded class curriculum, and a child abuse center. One of the children helped at the center is a boy whose father cut off his hand in a rage. Free again after four years, Billy Jack has some wild spirit visions, but runs into more trouble with the local townspeople and cops, who hate freedom-loving hippies and Indians. The pressure builds to a violent
climax. Writer, director, and actor Tom Laughlin first introduced his oddball character in the 1967 film "Born Losers," brought him to the fore in 1971's "Billy Jack" (which cost $800,000 to make and grossed $65 million), and pulled out all the stops with this 1974 sequel, cowritten with his costar and wife, Delores Taylor. It lasts more than three hours, and has some lovely location shooting in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, but indulges in much heart-on-sleeve silliness.
This report prepared by David Loftus








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Script Analysis of The Trial of Billy Jack

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of movie:    -   1960's-1970's Polit/Social/Race/Gender activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   racism! Ethnic/Regional/Gender story?    -   Yes Main Char. ethnic: (if not US Caucasian)    -   American Indian Culture clash?    -   being oppressed by outside culture Culture of surrounding area:    -   American West

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   champion of justice Age:    -   20's-30's Has magical powers?    -   Yes Magical/mental powers of main character:    -   is very quick Ethnicity/Nationality    -   American Indian

Setting

United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southwest Desert?    -   Yes Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   hostile, like Gomer Pyle on steroids    -   ignorant small town people Misc setting    -   school

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths

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