- Movie Rating -

The Electric Horseman (1979)

| December 21, 1979

At a moment when Hollywood seemed trapped in the crucible of Star Wars and it’s imitators, there was a demand for the old fashioned kind of picture, one without robots and computers in which the screen is dominated by things that would have been all-too-familiar a generation ago.

The Electric Horseman provides those things.  It has a cowboy on his horse tearing across the western planes.  It has a romance between the cowboy and a city-slicker reporter that isn’t steeped in heavy social commentary – this isn’t Kramer vs. Kramer – the two spend time together, trapped by circumstance and they fall in love.  That’s a nice way of saying that this is an old fashioned kind of story that breaks no new ground and doesn’t reach for the stars.

The audience for this movie is asked to do something very simple: watch two beautiful stars, Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, as they fall in love while the establishment breathes down their necks.  That’s not profound, but it is entertaining.

Redford plays Sonny Steele, a former rodeo champion who has basically sold out and is now the spokesman for a breakfast cereal.  His latest gig in Las Vegas is to ride a $12 million thoroughbred horse named Rising Star that he discovers has been drugged and has an injured leg.

Feeling for this poor creature, Sonny has an attack of conscience (who wouldn’t?), Sonny steals the horse and heads off into the desert with the mission of releasing it into the wild with a herd of wild horses.

Needless to say, every kind of authority figure is looking for Sonny and Rising Star, but the person who gets closest is Hallie Martin, a television reporter who is eager to be the first to break the story.

What will happen next is not surprising to anyone who has ever seen a movie before.  Yes, they fall in love.  Yes, they run from the cops.  Yes, there are chases.  Yes, the authority figures are big bag meanies who want to exploit this poor animal.  Yes, Hallie has trouble navigating the backwoods country.  But it is all kept very simple.  It doesn’t require you to do a lot of heavy lifting.  This is a good, old-fashioned romance.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1979) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized