Badlands (1974)

"He wanted to die with me and I dreamed of being lost forever in his arms." A young couple goes on a Midwest crime spree in Terrence Malick's hypnotically assured debut feature, based on the 1950s Starkweather-Fugate murders.… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG
Running Time:
Release Date: January 1, 1974
DVD Release Date: April 27, 1999
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Critic Score: 98% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Terrence Malick's debut is a masterful slice of American cinema, rife with the visual poetry and measured performances that would characterize his work.

Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out

In the fall of 1973, one could see signposts of cinema's future in Mean Streets and The Exorcist, yet with this youthful pair of proto-indie dreamers, Malick was paving a whole new road. It turned out to be the path most traveled.

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Variety Staff

Written, produced and directed by Terrence Malick, pic is his first feature and it's an impressive debut.

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Christopher Runyon
Movie Mezzanine

The movie is just as free, experimental, and unsure of itself as its main characters are, and thus fits like a glove.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

Days of Heaven put Terrence Malick's intuitions into cogent form, but this is where his art begins.

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Peter Stack
San Francisco Chronicle

Among the great American crime movies, 1973's Badlands stands alone.

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Christopher Long
Movie Metropolis

This tender treatment does nothing to alleviate the horror of the atrocities committed.

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Wally Hammond
Time Out

This first, magnificent, outpouring of the sporadic genius of cinema's equivalent to JD Salinger, Terrence Malick, still seems terrifically modern.

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Cole Smithey

[VIDEO ESSAY] Terrence Malick's self-penned feature debut is a haunting road movie pitched in '50s Americana. The film's razor-sharp tone of poetic irony is unique.

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Tina Hassannia
Slant Magazine

It's a testament to Bruce Greenwood's acting that Adan never becomes entirely as insufferable as the words that come out of his mouth.

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More reviews for Badlands

Flixster Audience Score: 91% Flixster User Reviews
Spencer S.
In today's society, the reality of the mainstream invading the private lives of many is a common occurrence. Even all the way back in 1973 it was apparent… More
Chris Weber
This is the wonderful and fascinating debut film of one of the most interesting and talented, yet secretive and least prolific filmmakers out there, Terrence… More
Kase Vollebregt
The brilliant debut of Terence Malick is measured like a beautiful poem and chock full of sumptuous visuals. 'Badlands' is an impressionistic dream of… More
Cameron Sherwell
Based loosely on the 1957/8 Charles Starkweather and Carol Ann Fugate spree killings, Badlands (1973), is Terrence Malick's outstanding début feature about… More
Alex roy
Terrence Malick's stunning debut feature Badlands ranks among his finest works. Featuring brilliant performances by Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, who have… More
danny d
the intrigue is in the details. the film, like all malick films, is heightened by incredible images, and subtle moments that define the actions of the… More