Ode to Billy Joe (1976) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ode to Billy Joe1976

Ode to Billy Joe (1976)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Ode to Billy Joe Photos

Movie Info

Based on Bobby Gentry's haunting 1967 song, this drama attempts to explain why 17-year-old Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Talahatchie Bridge. Billy Joe is in love with Bobbie Lee Hartley, until he gets drunk one night and has an encounter that leaves him depressed and confused about his identity.

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Robby Benson
as Billy Joe McAllister
Glynnis O'Connor
as Bobbie Lee Hartley
Joan Hotchkis
as Anna 'Mama' Hartley
Sandy McPeak
as Mr. Hartley
James Best
as Dewey Barksdale
Terence Goodman
as James Hartley
Simpson Hemphill
as Brother Taylor
Ed Shelnut
as School Bus Driver
Eddie Tair
as Tom Hargitay
William Hallberg
as Dan McAllister
Frannye Capelle
as Belinda Wiggs
Rebecca Jernigan
as Mrs. Thompson
Ann Martin
as Mrs. Hunnicutt
Will Long
as Trooper Bash
Becky Brown
as Becky Thompson
John Roper
as Trooper Ned
Pat Purcell
as Youth In Car
James Westerfield
as Youth In Car
Jack Capelle
as Youth in Car
Al Scott
as Master of Ceremonies
Becky Bowden
as Becky Thompson
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Critic Reviews for Ode to Billy Joe

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

Now that I know why Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge, I almost wish I didn't.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

A film that transcends its limitations, a film well worth remembering.

August 16, 2021 | Full Review…

Despite excellent location ,photography, fine performances and a so-called surprise ending, the film is astonishingly predictable and pedestrian.

October 30, 2019 | Full Review…

Very weak plot, acting based on flash hit song of the '70s.

February 19, 2008 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for Ode to Billy Joe

Great song but a dull indifferently acted movie.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


Not the 'manliest' of movies, in fact you could plausibly retitle it Brokeback Bridge, but I never get tired of watching it. I had quite the crush on Glynnis O'Connor back in my youth. She was sorta' the Juliette Lewis of the seventies, all soft and girl-next-doorishly sexy. Still hard to believe that Robby Benson passed her up for a roll in the hay with James Best. Dude, what were you thinking!?

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Ode to Billy Joe Quotes

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