They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)

A total of nine Academy Award nominations went to this wildly acclaimed, allegorical drama set amongst the contestants in a marathon dance contest during the Great Depression. Gig Young stars as Rocky, the obnoxious emcee for a dance… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: December 10, 1969
DVD Release Date: March 13, 2001
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Critic Score: 85% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

The material is simple and irresistible, and Sydney Pollack stages it well (though without transcending the essential superficiality of his talent).

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Vincent Canby
New York Times

The movie is by far the best thing that Pollack has ever directed (with the possible exception of The Scalphunters).

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Wesley Lovell
Cinema Sight

There has never been a film quite so original as this, featuring a wealth of noted actors fighting for their lives in a dance competition taking place during the Great Depression.

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Variety Staff

A sordid spectacle of hard times, a kind of existentialist allegory of life.

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Kyle Turner
Under the Radar

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? becomes not merely an incisive critique of the exploitation that celebrities are inclined to, but perhaps of capitalism itself.

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TV Guide

An allegorical, socially conscious response to the injustices of the Depression era.

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Time Out

The acting is strident and overblown, the narrative technique gimmicky and obvious, and the implication that the competitors' situation is a microcosm of a wider-reaching American malaise rather pretentious.

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Austin Kennedy
Film Geek Central

It's depressing as hell, so it's not a movie I would watch repeatedly, but I'm sure glad I saw it. This is an important film about a time in America's history that wasn't so glamorous. You won't forget it.

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Pollack's adaptation of Horace McCoy's depression era novel has not dated well.

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Flixster Audience Score: 89% Flixster User Reviews
Jim Hunter
A dance hall requires poor drifters and lost Depression-era souls to keep dancing for prize money. This film shouldn't work: set almost entirely in one… More
Dan Schultz
A mostly competently made, fascinatingly bleak tale concerning a dance marathon and how some very different characters are affected by its rigorous rules. This… More
jay nixon
extremely well acted but profoundly depressing
Michael Gildea
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? is one of those movies where you recognize its greatness as you watch it, but at the same time you know you're watching… More
Kevin M. Williams
In Depression era down-and-out Los Angeles a dance marathon on Santa Monica pier affords the opportunity to look in on the various lives involved. Overdone,… More
Tim Sigur
This movie was not what I expected at all. I was floored by how good it was. The entire film is a brilliant satire of the American way through the eyes of these… More