success with an attractive plot for modern-day youth.
Laughlin stars as Billy Jack a half-Indian/half-white
ex-Green Beret who is being drawn more and more toward his
Indian side. He hates violence, but can't get away from it
in the white man's world. Pitting the good guys, the
students of the peace-loving free-arts school in the
desert vs. the conservative bad guys in the near-by town,
the movie plays definitive late-60s themes/messages:
anti-establishment, make love not war, the senseless
slaughter of God's creatures, the rape of society
(figuratively and literally), two-sided justice, racial
segregation and prejudices, and basic socialist ideals.
Although filming began in Prescott, Arizona, in fall 1969,
American International Pictures pulled out of the
production, halting filming.
Twentieth Century Fox came in and
filming eventually resumed, but when that studio refused
to distribute the film, Warner Bros. took over.
The film was released in the spring of 1971 after more
than one year of shooting. It opened in Cincinnati, Ohio,
only, on April 19, 1971. The film lacked distribution, so
Laughlin took it to theaters himself. He had had terrific
problems with the studio; at one time the studio had taken
the masters with plans to reedit the film without him.
Laughlin actually sued Warner Bros. for millions and ended
up settling years later for a six-figure payoff.
The theme song by Coven, "One Tin Soldier," was a hit on
the Billboard charts.
The film died at the box office in its initial run but
took in more than $40 million in its 1973 re-release,
which was supervised by Laughlin.
The hat Tom Laughlin wore in the film was actually a
Halloween present from his daughter T.C.!!
- Attractive Retail Box
Action/Adventure, Cult Film, Drama, Indians, Justice,
Race Relations, Classic Fight Scenes
(Canadian Home Video Rating)
Reason: For Violence, Nudity, Adult Situations,
Rape & Sexual Abuse and Adult Language.
Bert Freed, Howard Hesseman, Tom Laughlin
- Directed By:
- Release Information:
- Studio: Warner Studios
- Theatrical Release Date: January 1, 1971
- DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
- Run Time: 114 minutes
- Production Company: Warner Home
- Package Type: Snap Case
- Box Office $32.5 million - Among top grossing
films of 1971
- DVD Features:
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada
This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other
- Aspect Ratio(s):
- Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1
- Available Audio Tracks:
- English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
- French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
English and French
- Closed Captioned:
- Bonus Features:
- No Extras
- Interactive Features:
- Interactive Menus
- Scene Access