The Legend of Billie Jean
|The Legend of Billie Jean|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Matthew Robbins|
|Produced by||Rob Cohen|
|Written by||Lawrence Konner
|Music by||Craig Safan|
|Cinematography||Jeffrey L. Kimball|
|Editing by||Cynthia Scheider|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
|Running time||96 minutes|
|Box office||$3,099,497 (USA)|
Billie Jean Davy (Helen Slater), a Corpus Christi, Texas high school girl, rides with her younger brother, Binx (Christian Slater), on a Honda Elite to a local lake to enjoy a day of swimming and relaxation. A group of teenage boys, led by Hubie Pyatt (Barry Tubb), who sexually harass Billie Jean on a regular basis, start trouble with them, but Binx humiliates Hubie and they get away. Later at the lake, Billie Jean tells Binx about Vermont, and Binx expresses a desire to go there. During their conversation about travelling there, Hubie and his friends arrive, apparently looking to get revenge for Binx's humiliation. They find Binx's scooter and steal it.
Billie Jean, and her friends Putter (Yeardley Smith) and Ophelia (Martha Gehman) go to the police about the scooter. They speak to Detective Ringwald (Peter Coyote) about it, but he doesn't take them seriously. He assumes it's just a harmless squabble between some kids. When Binx goes to get his scooter back on his own, he comes home severely beaten, with his scooter trashed.
Billie Jean, Binx, and Ophelia go to Mr. Pyatt's shop to get the money ($608.00) to repair the scooter. While initially appearing helpful and understanding, Mr. Pyatt then propositions Billie Jean with a 'Pay as you go, earn as you learn' plan by which he will have sex with her. He then attempts to rape her.
Meanwhile, Binx has discovered a gun in the empty store and attempts to taunt Mr. Pyatt with it. Mr. Pyatt tells him the gun is unloaded, but Binx accidentally fires it, wounding Mr Pyatt in the shoulder. The kids race away from the shop and become fugitives.
By the time Detective Ringwald realizes that he made a mistake in not listening to Billie Jean, the situation is spinning out of control. Throughout it all, Billie Jean wants only the $608 to fix her brother's scooter and an apology from Mr. Pyatt. With help from the disgruntled teenaged son of the district attorney (who voluntarily becomes her "hostage"), Billie Jean makes a video of her demands, featuring herself with her long, blond hair chopped into a crew cut as a sign of her rebellion. As media coverage increases Billie Jean becomes a teen icon – a symbol of youth empowerment and the evidence of the injustices adults are capable of, and young fans follow her every movement. Facing uncertain dangers, both physical and legal, Billie Jean is forced to turn her friends Putter and Ophelia into the police for their safety. When Ringwald and the police arrive and he demands to know where Billie Jean is, Ophelia proudly and defiantly replies, "Everywhere!".
Mr. Pyatt issues a bounty for her apprehension, and Billie Jean realizes the best plan is to put an end to the extraordinary circumstances and to bring herself in. To avoid attracting too much attention, she and her brother Binx both arrive in disguise. But the disguise will be blown and the consequences descend into a violent riot, which results in Binx getting shot. As Binx is taken away in an ambulance, Billie Jean confronts Mr. Pyatt and gets him to admit his actions that led to him being shot in his store. The onlookers (including Hubie), seeing how Billie Jean was exploited and their indirect involvement in it, destroy all the Billie Jean merchandise and leave in disgust. At the end of the film Billie Jean and Binx find themselves far up in Vermont seeking some recuperation and a fresh start. Binx (after complaining about the cold) admires a red snowmobile.
- Helen Slater as Billie Jean Davy
- Christian Slater as Binx Davy
- Keith Gordon as Lloyd
- Yeardley Smith as Putter
- Barry Tubb as Hubie Pyatt
- Martha Gehman as Ophelia
- Peter Coyote as Detective Ringwald
- Richard Bradford as Mr. Pyatt
- Dean Stockwell as District Attorney Muldaur
- Mona Lee Fultz as Donna Davy
- Bobby Jones as Kenny
- John M. Jackson as Kenny's Father
- Rodney Rincon as Police Sergeant
- Caroline Williams as Woman in Pickup
- Rudy Young as Man in Pickup
- Bobby Fite as Mini-Mart Boy
- Kim Valentine as Mini-Mart Girl
- Janet Smalley as Putter's Mother
- Charles Redd as News Announcer
- Joshua Butts as Tape Delivery Boy
- Ray Hanna as Jimmy J. Judge
- B.J. Thompson as Interview Boy
- Celia Newman as Interview Girl
- Tony Slowik as Interview Teen
- A large portion of the movie was filmed in Corpus Christi and Flour Bluff, Texas including the Sunrise Mall and several locations along South Padre Island Drive.
- In the movie, Billie Jean and the others watch a movie about Joan of Arc. The movie is Saint Joan (1957).
- The radio station shown and heard throughout the film still exists in Corpus Christi, Texas as KNCN "C101".
- The original title of the film was Fair is Fair. It was changed to The Legend of Billie Jean after test audiences did not respond to the original. Shortly before release, the title was changed back to Fair is Fair and then back to The Legend of Billie Jean. Movie posters exist with the Fair is Fair title, however they are really an applied overlay over the originally printed title The Legend of Billie Jean, and that title is what appears in the printed credits at the bottom of the poster.
- The Vermont scenes were filmed in Colorado. Billie Jean and Binx are seen at a gas station just off Interstate 70, near Copper Mountain.
Used at the beginning of the Sunrise Mall scene where the kids left IOUs for the items they "borrowed" from a toyshop.
Underlying track when Binx trying to exchange his "hostage" Lloyd for the repaired scooter at the beach is erroneously hit by a sharpshooter.
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Craig Safan produced the original score for the film writing a couple of synthpop-styled instrumental tracks. Furthermore, some rock songs were added to the soundtrack which had never been officially released. The movie's theme song "Invincible" by Pat Benatar peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1985, while Billy Idol's reissue of his single "Rebel Yell" climbed up to number six on the UK Singles Chart in October 1985 after its first unsuccessful release in 1984.
- Invincible (Theme from 'The Legend of Billie Jean') – Pat Benatar
- Closing In – Mark Safan
- Boys in Town – Divinyls
- Heart Telegraph – Divinyls
- Rebel Yell – Billy Idol
- It’s My Life – Wendy O. Williams
- Time to Explain – Bruce Witkin & The Kids
- Self Defense – Chas Sanford
The film was expected to be a big hit, especially with the Generation X MTV crowd, as evidenced by the immediate heavy rotation of its theme song. However, its reviews were poor and it only grossed approximately US $3.1 million, making it a box office failure although it has gained something of a cult following as time went on.
The film was released on home video on VHS in 1985.
Pat Benatar had mentioned in an interview she regretted having anything to do with the film and that the release of the DVD in NTSC format was being held up by her. She remarked that it was one of the worst movies ever made, and early on made a point of saying so every time she played the song in concert. Her not signing the rights to have her music in the movie is why the DVD has not been released for many years.
In 2009, Columbia Pictures released in Europe a Spanish-titled DVD "La Leyenda de Billie Jean", with 4:3 open matte image, but without any bonus material. A remastered NTSC DVD including commentary by Helen Slater and Yeardley Smith was published by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment at November 1, 2011. Additionally, the movie is available in HD on the Universal Movie Channel.
- "Filming locations for The Legend of Billie Jean". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- "The Legend of Billie Jean Filming Locations". Fast-Rewind.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- "Trivia for The Legend of Billie Jean". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- "The Legend of Billie Jean Trivia". Fast-Rewind.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- Jay Boyar (1985-07-25). "'Billy Jean' Is A Pretty Good B-plus". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
- "Disasters Outnumber Movie Hits". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-06-06.
- Janet Maslin (1985-07-19). "SCREEN: 'THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN' OPENS". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- Chris Tribbey (2011-11-01). "DVD MOD Site Adds 33 More". Home Media Magazine. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: The Legend of Billie Jean|
- The Legend of Billie Jean at the Internet Movie Database
- The Legend of Billie Jean at AllRovi
- The Legend of Billie Jean at Rotten Tomatoes