Badlands. It's not just a place. It's also a frame of mind.

What's it all about?
Fifteen-year-old Holly loves Kit because she thinks he looks like James Dean. While Holly's vision is faulty, she's a perfectly loyal girlfriend who stands by her man even after he kills her widower father for coming between them. Holly continues to outdo Tammy Wynette as Kit continues killing on their cross-country run from the law.


Kit and Holly stroll down the street
Kit and Holly flee bounty hunters at their campsite
The fugitive couple at the rich man's house
Kit and Holly in the car backseat
Criminal mastermind Kit demonstrates his talent for fleeing from the law
Actor Martin Sheen and director Malick on the set

Cast credits

  • Martin Sheen (Kit)
  • Sissy Spacek (Holly)
  • Warren Oates (Holly's Father)
  • Ramon Bieri (Cato)
  • Alan Vint (Deputy)
  • Gary Littlejohn (Sheriff)
  • John Carter (Rich Man)
  • Bryan Montgomery (Boy)
  • Gail Threlkeld (Girl)
  • Charles Fitzpatrick (Clerk)
  • Howard Ragsdale (Boss)
  • John Womack, Jr. (Trooper)
  • Dona Baldwin (Maid)
  • Ben Bravo (Gas Attendant)

Memorable Lines

My mother died of pneumonia when I was just a kid. My father kept their wedding cake in the freezer for ten whole years. After the funeral he gave it to the yard man. He tried to act cheerful but he could never be consoled by the little stranger he found in his house. Then one day hoping to begin a new life from all his memories he moved us from Texas to Fort Dupree, South Dakota.

Heard the news Kit?
Been in all the headlines.
What's that?
You've been fired. Ain't that a hell of a note?

Little by little we fell in love. As I'd never been popular in school and didn't have a lot of personality I was surprised that he took such a liking to me especially when he could have had any other girl in town if he'd given it half a try. He said that I was grand though, that he wasn't interested in me for sex and that coming from him this was a compliment.
He'd never met a fifteen year old girl who behaved more like a grown up and wasn't giggly. (Shot of a cow lying on its side panting. It looks like it's dying.)
He didn't care what anyone else thought. I looked good to him and whatever I did was okay. And if I didn't have a lot to say well that was okay too.

Kit made me get my books from school so I wouldn't fall behind. We'd be starting a new life he said and we'd have to change our names. His would be James. Mine would be Priscilla. We'd hide out like spies somewhere in the north where people didn't ask a lot of questions. I could have snuck out the back or hid in the boiler room I suppose but I sensed that my destiny now lay with Kit for better or for worse and that it was better to spend a week with someone who loved me for what I was than years of loneliness.

We had our bad moments like any couple. Kit accused me of only being along for the ride while at times I wished he'd fall in the river and drown so I could watch.

One day while taking a look at some vistas in dad's stereopticon it hit me that I was just this little girl born in Texas whose father was a sign painter who had only just so many years to live. It sent a chill down my spine and I thought where would I be this very moment if Kit had never met me or killed anybody this very moment if my mama'd never met my dad if she'd never died and what's the man I'll marry gonna look like? What's he doing right this minute? Is he thinking about me now by some coincidence even if he doesn't know me? Does it show on his face? For days afterwards I lived in dread. Sometimes I wished I could fall asleep and be taken off to some magical land where this never happened.

Film and Literature References

  • In a 1975 interview with Sight and Sound, Malick says his literary influences for Badlands include: The Hardy Boys, Swiss Family Robinson, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Nancy Drew.

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