Thoughts on Badlands (1973)

There really isn’t much that hasn’t been said about Terrence Malick’s amazing debut feature, Badlands (1973), which basically made the careers of everyone whose name was attached to it. I just wanted to point y’all toward this oral history of the production process, a record of the first time Malick and his idiosyncrasies were unleashed on the filmmaking industry.


Critic David Thomson sums up the film best (quoted from the oral history): The film “sees these kids [Kit (Martin Sheen) and Holly (Sissy Spacek)] as a couple of wild animals. They’re a little bit like dogs that attack people and the film says: Well, yeah, dogs attack people sometimes. After all, the dog is close to the wolf and it’s in the breed’s history. Not much you can do about it—of course, you’re gonna have to shoot the dog someday. And the dog sort of knows that.”

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