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Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 84 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Loosely based on the Starkweather-Fugate killing spree of 1958, Terrence Malick's debut features follows outlaws Kit and Holly from Fort Dupre, South Dakota to the badlands of Montana.


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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 3, 2013
    An unmissable, transcendentally beautiful classic. [28 Aug. 1998]
  2. Reviewed by: Vincent Canby
    Mar 3, 2013
    One may legitimately debate the validity of Malick's vision, but not, I think, his immense talent. Badlands is a most important and exciting film.
  3. Variety
    Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Mar 5, 2013
    Badlands is a unique American fairy tale...and it's an impressive debut.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Stack
    Mar 3, 2013
    Among the great American crime movies, 1973's Badlands stands alone. [13 Feb. 1998]
  5. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Mar 4, 2013
    Badlands is one of the great banality-of-evil films. [29 May 1998, p.C9]
  6. Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    Mar 4, 2013
    A film so rich in ideas it hardly knows where to turn. Transcendent themes of love and death are fused with a pop-culture sensibility and played out against a midwestern background, which is breathtaking both in its sweep and in its banality.
  7. Reviewed by: Pauline Kael
    Mar 5, 2013
    There's a basic flaw in Malick's method: he has perceived the movie--he's done our work instead of his. In place of people and action, with metaphor rising out of the story, he gives us a surface that is all conscious metaphor. Badlands is so preconceived that there's nothing left to respond to. [18 March 1974, p.135]

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Nov 10, 2013
    Great movie, with amazing performancesGreat movie, with amazing performances Expand
  2. Jun 12, 2015
    This film is classic Terrence Malick. Exquisitely shot with a great premise and execution of that premise, Badlands is a film that suffersThis film is classic Terrence Malick. Exquisitely shot with a great premise and execution of that premise, Badlands is a film that suffers because of its writing. The acting is fine with Martin Sheen being the stronger of the two and completely embodying his character. Sissy Spacek was alright with moments of brilliance, but also moments where she struggled mightily. The costume design here is also quite good. However, back to the writing, the story is very good. It is well developed and interesting to watch unfold. Yet, the characters are terrible, as they act irrationally and nonsensically throughout the film. The dialogue is also horrendous and completely lacking any sense of reality. At no moment does this film feel authentic and that is due to the terrible dialogue and characters. While the story may be interesting, it suffers due to those two elements that really suck you out of the film. Badlands is probably Malick's strongest film that I have seen thus far, which is sad, because you can tell he is really brilliant, but he has no idea how to write a script. Expand