Electric Horseman [1979]

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Valerie Perrine, Willie Nelson, John Saxon
Genre: Comedy, Western, Drama
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 122 minutes

When this picture came out in 1979, both Robert Redford and Jane Fonda were at the height of their stardom; in fact, this movie was so big, it took two studios (Columbia and Universal) to make it. Redford plays Sonny Steele, champion rodeo rider turned corporate spokesman (and perpetual drunk). When he discovers that another corporate asset, a racehorse, is just like him--dressed like a buffoon and doped up to the gills--he decides to liberate the animal. Redford's grumpy, wise, and funny performance demonstrates why he was (and is) such a big star (and why director Sydney Pollack made seven movies with him). Fonda is fine as the bright, ambitious, frightened TV reporter whose pursuit of a story pitches her headlong into love. The ending may seem anticlimatic (the big comedy chase comes in the middle of the film), but this is much more a romance story than a chase film. From the beginning, there's little doubt how the story will end (although even then, the movie throws us a little curve), but the movie compensates with sheer star power; Redford and Fonda are all that matter, and in this case they deliver, along with Willie Nelson's fine performance in a pivotal supporting role. --Geof Miller

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