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They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

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Original title
They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Running time
121 min.
United States United States
James Poe, Robert E. Thompson (Novel: Horace McCoy)
Johnny Green
Philip H. Lathrop
Palomar Pictures, American Broadcasting Company (ABC)
Drama | 1930s. The Great Depression. Dancing
Synopsis / Plot
In the dark years of the 1930s, dance marathons became popular as a way for desperate people to compete for prize money. Sometimes the events would drag on for weeks as contestants pushed themselves far beyond the point of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, the dancers shambling around the floor in a half-dead stupor. People would then pay to sit in the bleachers, watch the event, and cheer on their favorites. They Shoot Horses is taken from hard-boiled pulp writer Horace McCoy's novel of the same name; Jane Fonda plays a bitter young woman paired up with Michael Sarrazin for the ordeal. Gig Young portrays the unctuous MC of the event, bringing equal parts compassion and sleaze to his role.
1969: Oscar: Best Supporting Actor (Gig Young). 9 Nominations
1969: Golden Globes: Best Supporting Actress (Gig Young). 6 Nominations
1970: Cannes Film Festival: Official Selection (Out of Competition)
1969: NBR - National Board of Review: Best Movie
1969: New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actress (Fonda). 2 Nominations
1969: Directors Guild of America (DGA): Nominated for Best Director
1969: Writers Guild of America (WGA): Nominated for Best Adapted Drama Screenplay
1970: BAFTA Awards: Best Supporting Actress (Susannah York). 6 Nominations
Critics' reviews
  • "They Shoot Horses, Don't They" hold this record: Most nominations (9) without a Best Picture bid.
    Sydney Pollack's 1969 drama earned an impressive 9 Oscar nominations, but the film could break through in the Best Picture race.
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