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Electric Horseman

The Electric Horseman

4.3 3
Director: Sydney Pollack

Cast: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Valerie Perrine


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A cowboy-turned-huckster unexpectedly finds love as he tries to regain his self-respect in this romantic comedy drama. Sonny Steele (Robert Redford) is a one-time rodeo star whose career as a cowboy has ground to a halt. He makes a good living as a spokesman for Ranch Breakfast, a sugar-coated cereal for kids, but he's lost most of his self-respect in the process; his


A cowboy-turned-huckster unexpectedly finds love as he tries to regain his self-respect in this romantic comedy drama. Sonny Steele (Robert Redford) is a one-time rodeo star whose career as a cowboy has ground to a halt. He makes a good living as a spokesman for Ranch Breakfast, a sugar-coated cereal for kids, but he's lost most of his self-respect in the process; his boss, corporate mogul Hunt Sears (John Saxon), considers him a property rather than a human being, and Sonny has developed a serious problem with alcohol. Sears' cereal company is negotiating a highly profitable merger with another firm and brings Sonny to Las Vegas for a publicity stunt, in which Sonny, wearing a garish cowboy outfit complete with blinking lights, will ride on-stage at Caesar's Palace aboard prize-winning thoroughbred stallion Rising Star. When Sonny discovers Sears' men have drugged the horse so that it will be able to walk on an injured leg, he's appalled, and he rides Rising Star off the stage at Caesar's and into the Nevada desert, looking for grazing land where he and the horse can heal their wounds. Sears is shocked to discover that Sonny has run off with a 12 million dollars, and he realizes that Sonny knows enough to make his firm look very bad in the press, potentially scotching the merger. Sears files charges against Sonny and posts a reward for Rising Star's safe return, though he implies that it wouldn't bother him if Sonny died in the rescue attempt. Hallie Martin (Jane Fonda), a television journalist covering Sonny's Vegas appearance, is convinced that something is fishy and manages to catch up with him in the desert; as Hallie tries to get Sonny to tell her his story, the has-been cowboy and the city-girl reporter fall in love. The Electric Horseman also stars Valerie Perrine and Willie Nelson; the country & western star made his screen debut in this film and has a very memorable line about tequila and trailer hitches. This disc presents the film in its orignal theatrical aspect ratio.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
A little over a decade after Jane Fonda and Robert Redford teamed up for the 1967 screen version of Barefoot in the Park, producer Ray Stark and director Sydney Pollack reunited the pair for this glossy romantic comedy. It's a slick studio product if ever there were one, with the most random and manufactured of conceits built around the two screen icons (Redford as a cowboy who sells breakfast cereal?!), and therefore an easy picture to be cynical about; the trailer screams the names of Redford and Fonda about thirty times, as if underscoring the superficiality of the packaging behind the enterprise. Fortunately, the movie rises above its synthetic origins. It soars on the strength of the ineffable chemistry between the two leads, who - it should be remembered - were arguably the biggest male and female stars in the country back in 1979, and spend the better part of two hours reminding us why. And if the formula is well-trod - screwball dialogue and situations within a modern setting - the screenplay (credited to Robert Garland, though Pollack heavily rewrote it during production) is also consistently witty and amusing enough (with a few really big laughs) to succeed. The movie benefits as well from its breathtaking rocky vistas and the neat transposition of western tropes and a "cowboy" lead into a contemporary, late '70s framework. (It's vastly superior to Fonda's awful revisionist western from the prior year, Comes a Horseman). Electric doesn't do anything to reinvent the medium, and there is nothing revelatory here, but it's still a highly enjoyable lightfooted yarn. The film's only two real flaws are a slightly excessive length, and a mercifully brief sequence that involves a lame Dukes of Hazzard-like police chase with a lot of car crashes and stunts. Other than that, it's a winner. Movie buffs should listen carefully for Pollack, whose voice can be heard twice in the film, during a phone call and subsequent radio announcement.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Stereo]
Sales rank:

Special Features

[None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Redford Sonny Steele
Jane Fonda Hallie Martin
Valerie Perrine Charlotta
John Saxon Hunt Sears
Willie Nelson Wendell,Singer
Allan Arbus Danny Miles
Nicolas Coster Fitzgerald
Wilford Brimley Farmer
Will Hare Gus Atwater
Basil Hoffman Toland
Timothy Scott Leroy
James B. Sikking Dietrich
James Kline Tommy
Frank Speiser Bernie
Quinn K. Redeker Bud Broderick
Lois Areno Joanna Camden
Sarah Harris Lucinda
Tasha Zemrus Louise
James Novak Dennis
Patricia Blair Actor
Sylvie Strauss Actor
Lois Hamilton Joanna
Debra L. Maxwell Actor
Michele Heyeden Actor
Robin Timm Actor
Gary M. Fox Actor
Richard Perlmutter Actor
Carol Eileen Montgomery Actor
Theresa Ann Dent Actor
Perry Sheehan Adair Actor
Sarge Allen Actor
Richard Knoll Actor
Angelo Giouzelis Actor
Mark Jamison Actor
Brendan Kelly Actor
Sheila B. Wakely Actor
X.V. Kelly Actor
Gary Shermaine Actor
Gary D. Liddiard Actor
Jerry Kurland Actor
J. Carlton Adair Actor
Charles J. Monahan Actor
George W. Etter Actor
Raymond G. Maupin Actor
Bob Barrett Actor
Red McIlvaine Actor
Frank Nicholas Actor
Johnny Magnus Actor
Vic Vallard Actor
Bob Bailey Actor
Roger Lowe Actor
Sydney Pollack Man Who Makes a Pass at Alice

Technical Credits
Sydney Pollack Director
Gordon Davidson Sound Editor
Paul Gaer Original Story
Robert Garland Original Story,Screenwriter
Stephen B. Grimes Production Designer
Dave Grusin Score Composer
Sheldon Kahn Editor
Augie Lohman Special Effects
Bernie Pollack Costumes/Costume Designer
Owen Roizman Cinematographer
Ronald L. Schwary Associate Producer
Ray Stark Producer
Mary Olivia Swanson Set Decoration/Design
Dennis Washington Art Director

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles
2. Drunken Cowboy
3. Interview With Sonny
4. "I Used to Rodeo"
5. Horse Thief
6. Cooling Out
7. Retired From Public Life
8. The Greatest Animal
9. Unscrew My Life
10. Spotting the Cereal Cowboy
11. Running From the Law
12. Helpful Stranger
13. The Coast Is Clear
14. Can't Sleep
15. Lightening Up
16. Go for A Ride
17. Making Good Time
18. "Thanks for the Worry"
19. Setting Him Free
20. End Titles


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The Electric Horseman 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
HAH More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite movies Moral of the story is pretty much don't mess with a cowboy's horse. quick Funfacts Theres a lot of recognizable faces (watch for a cameo by Waylon Jennings). Also this was the first movie Willie Nelson was in. It's a must watch for Redford fans along with The Horse Whisperer. Only thing I'd change is re cast Jane Fonda she's a bit annoying
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I watched this movie when I was young and still enjoy it. Few people have ever heard of it, but it's worth watching. Robert Redford is his classic, charming self, playing a washed-up cowboy who's tired of being pulled this way and that by publicists. Jane Fonda makes a great target for his banter. The storyline seems very simple by today's standards, but it makes a great movie: the "little guy" standing up against the big corporation to do what's right.