The Legend of Billie Jean (1985)

PG-13 | 96 mins | Drama | 19 July 1985

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HISTORY

       The DV production chart from 13 Jul 1984 listed the picture as an untitled Metro Goldwyn Mayer/United Artists (MGM/UA) production. However, the 31 Aug 1984 DV production chart identified the film as an untitled Tri-Star Pictures project.
       The 18 Dec 1984 HR, referring to the picture as Fair Is Fair, reported principal photography began 21 Sep 1984 in Corpus Christi, TX. Production notes in AMPAS library files reported filming was complete in early Dec 1984.
       Filmmakers were granted a “PG-13” rating from the Classification & Rating Appeals Board, after petitioning the original “R” rating with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), according to the 1 Jul 1985 DV, which referred to the film as The Legend of Billie Jean.
       The Oct 1985 Box reported the picture took in a “weak” $1.5 million during its opening engagements.
      End credits include the following acknowledgement: “The Producers wish to thank the people of Corpus Christi, Texas for their generous ... More Less

       The DV production chart from 13 Jul 1984 listed the picture as an untitled Metro Goldwyn Mayer/United Artists (MGM/UA) production. However, the 31 Aug 1984 DV production chart identified the film as an untitled Tri-Star Pictures project.
       The 18 Dec 1984 HR, referring to the picture as Fair Is Fair, reported principal photography began 21 Sep 1984 in Corpus Christi, TX. Production notes in AMPAS library files reported filming was complete in early Dec 1984.
       Filmmakers were granted a “PG-13” rating from the Classification & Rating Appeals Board, after petitioning the original “R” rating with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), according to the 1 Jul 1985 DV, which referred to the film as The Legend of Billie Jean.
       The Oct 1985 Box reported the picture took in a “weak” $1.5 million during its opening engagements.
      End credits include the following acknowledgement: “The Producers wish to thank the people of Corpus Christi, Texas for their generous cooperation.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Oct 1985.
---
Daily Variety
13 Jul 1984.
---
Daily Variety
31 Aug 1984.
---
Daily Variety
1 Jul 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 1985
p. 3, 40.
Los Angeles Times
19 Jul 1985
p. 17.
New York Times
19 Jul 1985
p. 10.
Variety
24 Jul 1985
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Tri-Star Pictures Presents
A Guber-Peters Company Production
A Matthew Robbins Film
From Tri-Star-Delphi III Productions
A Tri-Star Release
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Gaffer
Best boy
Dolly grip
Still photog
Panaglide cam op
Panaglide cam op
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set des
Leadperson
Const coord
Prop master
Asst props
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
with
ADR ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Supv re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd asst
Sd asst
Sd asst
ADR asst
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Asst foley ed
Foley artist
Sd eff rec
Sd eff rec
Sd eff rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Makeup des and supv by
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
The "Billie Jean cut" by
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod auditor
Asst auditor
Asst accountant, Texas
Loc mgr
Loc asst
Loc casting
Casting asst
Casting asst
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Unit pub
Post prod supv
Video research
Asst to Mr. Cohen
Asst to Mr. Robbins
Prod secy, Texas
Prod office asst, L.A.
Prod asst, Texas
Prod asst, Texas
Prod asst, Texas
Craft service
Art aide, Texas
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
In Metrocolor®
SOURCES
SONGS
"Invincible (Theme from The Legend Of Billie Jean)," music and lyrics by Holly Knight and Simon Climie, performed by Pat Benatar, produced by Michael Chapman, courtesy of Chrysalis Records
"Closing In," music by Craig Safan, lyrics by Mark Mueller, performed by Mark Safan
"Boys In Town," performed by Divinyls, courtesy of Chrysalis Records
+
SONGS
"Invincible (Theme from The Legend Of Billie Jean)," music and lyrics by Holly Knight and Simon Climie, performed by Pat Benatar, produced by Michael Chapman, courtesy of Chrysalis Records
"Closing In," music by Craig Safan, lyrics by Mark Mueller, performed by Mark Safan
"Boys In Town," performed by Divinyls, courtesy of Chrysalis Records
"Heart Telegraph," performed by Divinyls, courtesy of Chrysalis Records
"Rebel Yell," performed by Billy Idol, courtesy of Chrysalis Records
"It's My Life," performed by Wendy O. Williams, courtesy of Jem Records
"Time To Explain," performed by Bruce Witkin & The Kids
"Self Defense," performed by Chas Sanford.
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Fair Is Fair
Release Date:
19 July 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 19 July 1985
Production Date:
21 September--early December 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Tri-Star Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 August 1986
Copyright Number:
PA298066
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27559
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Corpus Christi, Texas, teenagers Billie Jean Davy and her brother Binx drive to a lake, and while they swim, a bully named Hubie Pyatt steals Binx’s motorbike. Billie Jean reports the theft to police, but Lieutenant Ringwald tells her to wait two days for Hubie to return it on his own before he gets involved. Billie Jean goes home and finds the damaged scooter, and her brother bloody and beaten after retrieving the bike himself. Billie Jean visits Hubie at his father’s surf shop, and gives him a $608 bill for damages. Hubie’s father, Mr. Pyatt, agrees to give Billie Jean the money, but when he gets her alone, he gives her only $50, and tries to assault her. Binx and their neighbor Ophelia wait outside for Billie Jean. When she takes too long, they enter the empty shop, and Binx opens the register, planning to take the money he is owed, but instead finds a gun. When Billie Jean runs into the room with Pyatt chasing after, Binx points the gun at him and demands his sister’s release. Hubie enters the shop and his father falsely accuses Billie Jean and Binx of attempted robbery, and tells Hubie to call police. Pyatt walks toward Binx and tells him the gun is not loaded. Binx checks the chamber for bullets, and the gun accidentally goes off, shooting Pyatt in the chest. The teens flee, and Billie Jean wants to go to the police, but Ophelia insists they will not believe their story. Instead, they return home, pack a few items, and go on the run, with their ... +


In Corpus Christi, Texas, teenagers Billie Jean Davy and her brother Binx drive to a lake, and while they swim, a bully named Hubie Pyatt steals Binx’s motorbike. Billie Jean reports the theft to police, but Lieutenant Ringwald tells her to wait two days for Hubie to return it on his own before he gets involved. Billie Jean goes home and finds the damaged scooter, and her brother bloody and beaten after retrieving the bike himself. Billie Jean visits Hubie at his father’s surf shop, and gives him a $608 bill for damages. Hubie’s father, Mr. Pyatt, agrees to give Billie Jean the money, but when he gets her alone, he gives her only $50, and tries to assault her. Binx and their neighbor Ophelia wait outside for Billie Jean. When she takes too long, they enter the empty shop, and Binx opens the register, planning to take the money he is owed, but instead finds a gun. When Billie Jean runs into the room with Pyatt chasing after, Binx points the gun at him and demands his sister’s release. Hubie enters the shop and his father falsely accuses Billie Jean and Binx of attempted robbery, and tells Hubie to call police. Pyatt walks toward Binx and tells him the gun is not loaded. Binx checks the chamber for bullets, and the gun accidentally goes off, shooting Pyatt in the chest. The teens flee, and Billie Jean wants to go to the police, but Ophelia insists they will not believe their story. Instead, they return home, pack a few items, and go on the run, with their young neighbor, Putter, tagging along. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Ringwald learns that Billie Jean and Binx were involved, and blames himself for not properly handling their initial complaint. The teens listen to news of the shooting on the radio, but are not sure if Pyatt is alive. When they stop for food at a gas station, some teenagers approach Billie Jean with her picture in the newspaper and ask for her autograph. They buy the runaways some groceries, and treat them as heroes. Billie Jean and Binx are relieved to learn that Pyatt is in good condition. Billie Jean telephones Ringwald and the fugitives agree to turn themselves in, on the condition that Pyatt pay the $608 they are owed. Billie Jean agrees to meet Ringwald the following day at a shopping mall. Her photograph is posted around town, and she develops a following among her peers. Pyatt refuses to pay the money, so Ringwald donates his own $608 to make things right, and Pyatt gives Billie Jean the money, as if it came from him. At the handoff, Pyatt continues to sexually threaten Billie Jean, and has Hubie attempt to grab her. She runs away as Hubie and Ringwald’s officers chase after. Ringwald is furious with Pyatt, and tries to help the teens, but Binx points a toy gun at the Lieutenant before they drive away. On the run again, Billie Jean’s legend grows. The runaways seek food and shelter in what they think is in empty mansion. While exploring, Billie Jean enters a room full of Halloween decorations, and the homeowner’s son, Lloyd Muldaur, playfully sneaks up on her wearing a mask. She kicks him, and he removes the mask to reveal he is her age. Lloyd recognizes the “outlaws,” and welcomes them into his home. They watch the television news and hear untrue stories being spread about them. On another channel, Billie Jean sees a movie about Joan of Arc. Lloyd regales the story of how she was a hero who sacrificed herself, and Billie Jean becomes inspired. She instructs Lloyd to get a video camera prepared so she can record a message. Meanwhile, she cuts off her long blonde hair in the short style of Joan of Arc, and records a message claiming her innocence. The teens leave so they do not get Lloyd into trouble, but he suggests they use him as a hostage to get their demands met. Billie Jean sneaks her videotaped message into the police station and on television. In the video, she demands Pyatt pay her the $608 for the scooter repair claiming, “fair is fair,” and her supporters begin using the phrase as a slogan. Ringwald investigates Lloyd’s home and surmises the teens are working together. Lloyd’s wealthy father offers $10,000 for his son’s safe return, but Lloyd is insulted at the bargain-basement ransom amount. Pyatt sells T-shirts and souvenirs with Billie Jean’s name and image on them. While her friends are in a store, children approach Billie Jean and ask her to help their friend, Kenny, who is being abused by his father. They lead her to Kenny’s home, and when Billie Jean enters, the boy’s father recognizes her from the news, and sees the large group of children gathered outside his window. He allows his son to leave with Billie Jean, and she announces to her followers that Kenny will be moving in with his grandmother. As the teens drive away, a local man shoots at them, hoping to capture Billie Jean for the reward money. He chases the teenagers down city streets and shoots their tire, before his own truck flips over. The teens rest for the night and discuss going to Vermont, where Binx has long dreamed of visiting. Lloyd advises they stay in town to clear their names, and kisses Billie Jean. To prevent Ophelia and Putter from getting into trouble, Billie Jean waits until the girls are asleep, and reports their whereabouts to Ringwald. Binx, Lloyd and Billie Jean make their way to a country club and discuss stealing a vehicle, but Billie Jean does not want to commit a crime. However, Binx attempts to steal an automobile, and is chased by security guards. The teens become separated, and Billie Jean is offered a ride by a girl sporting her same short hairstyle. Elsewhere, Ringwald questions Ophelia and Putter at the police station, and several girls with short hair turn themselves in, claiming to be Billie Jean. The real Billie Jean gets a series of rides from several look-alikes. She goes to an abandoned carnival where she reunites with Binx and Lloyd. Ringwald follows a lead that takes him to their hideout. While they remain hidden, Ringwald shouts out an offer to repair Binx’s motorbike and drop the charges if the runaways turn themselves in. Sometime later, Billie Jean telephones the lieutenant and accepts the offer, agreeing to meet at a beachside “Billie Jean Day” event. Ringwald awaits her arrival, and is alarmed that someone has called in snipers. At the exchange, Binx disguises himself as Billie Jean, holding a toy gun to Lloyd’s back, while Billie Jean hides in the crowd, wearing a wig. Billie Jean sees a brand new scooter, and confirms that the deal is legitimate. Hubie recognizes Binx, and when Binx waves his gun towards Hubie to quiet him, the snipers shoot Billie Jean’s impersonator in the shoulder. Mayhem ensues. Billie Jean goes unnoticed as she chases after the ambulance carrying her brother. When she sees Pyatt selling souvenirs with her image on them, she removes her wig and confronts him. A crowd of onlookers and TV camera crews gather, and Pyatt agrees to give her the money. However, she realizes that Lloyd’s father, not Pyatt, paid for the new scooter awaiting her brother, and refuses to accept the offer. Billie Jean insults him and reveals in front of the crowd that he tried to sexually assault her. She kicks him and throws the money in his face. A torch is knocked over and burns his display booth, but no one comes to his aid, and the fire spreads throughout the event. Sometime later, Billie Jean and Binx arrive in Vermont. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.