5.6/10
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41 user 43 critic

Bloody Mama (1970)

A psychologically-disturbed matriarch presides over her damaged family of bank-robbing misfits.

Director:

Roger Corman

Writers:

Don Peters (story), Robert Thom (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shelley Winters ... 'Ma' Kate Barker
Pat Hingle ... Sam Adams Pendlebury
Don Stroud ... Herman Barker
Diane Varsi ... Mona Gibson
Bruce Dern ... Kevin Dirkman
Clint Kimbrough Clint Kimbrough ... Arthur Barker
Robert De Niro ... Lloyd Barker
Robert Walden ... Fred Barker
Alex Nicol ... George Barker
Pamela Dunlap ... Rembrandt
Michael Fox ... Dr. Roth
Scatman Crothers ... Moses (as 'Scatman' Crothers)
Stacy Harris ... Agent McClellan
Lisa Linsky ... Young Kate (as Lisa Jill)
Steve Mitchell Steve Mitchell ... Sheriff
Edit

Storyline

A psychological gangster film based on fact. Machine gun totin' Ma Barker lead her family gang (her sons) on a crime spree in the Depression era. Her loyal brood have every perversion imaginable. The sadistic Herman sleeps with his Ma. When Fred Barker is released from prison, he brings home his cellmate and lover Kevin Dirkman, who also sleeps with Ma, much to Fred's chagrin. Lloyd Barker is a spaced-out drug addict who sniffs glue if nothing better is around. Ma kidnaps happy-go-lucky millionaire Sam Adams Pendlebury and holds him for ransom. Arthur Barker, Ma's wallflower son, and Herman's hooker lady friend Mona Gibson also figure in the story. The bloody finale is virtually choreographed, and a visual stunner. Filmed in the Ozarks. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Say it with bullets! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 August 1970 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Bloody Mama - gangsterfamilien Barker See more »

Filming Locations:

Little Rock, Arkansas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

American International Pictures originally wanted Roger Corman to shoot this film on the MGM studio backlot. See more »

Goofs

In the prison cell when Freddie is walking on Dirkman's back, if you look on the cell wall behind him, you'll see graffiti of a Nazi swastika on the wall. The movie takes place circa 1930 and the Nazi symbol didn't even exist (at least in America's consciousness) until the late 1930's-1940's. Correction: The swastika was used as good luck symbol long before the Nazis. It was a common Native American symbol of good fortune and was on the official patch of the 45th Infantry Division of the US Army prior to 1930. So it's use as graffiti is not impossible. See more »

Quotes

'Ma' Kate Barker: It's supposed to be a free country Mona. But unless you're rich, you ain't free and you know that. So I aim to be freer than the rest of the people.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was originally rejected for a UK cinema certificate by the BBFC and then released 8 months later in 1971 with cuts to nudity, violent beatings, a rape scene, the drowning of Rembrandt, Lloyd's injection scenes and the violent shooting of Herman. The 18-rated UK video release of this film was cut by 11 seconds by the BBFC and removes the scene where Bruce Dern drops a tethered piglet into a river to use as alligator bait. The cuts were fully waived for the 2009 Optimum DVD. See more »

Connections

Version of Queen of the Mob (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Bloody Mama
Written by Don Randi, Guy Hemric and Bob Silver
Performed by Bigfoot
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unpleasant and violent movie with a deranged Shelley Winters reenacting murderous Ma Barker
25 September 2009 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

The most colorful epoch of criminality in America during the Depression era is brought to life in this story of a bank-robber family , in a period when any employment, even illegal, was cherished, ambition, money and power originated an interminable cycle of fury and violence. The infamous Ma Barker ( Shelley Winters)'s blood-thirsty gang of the 30s backed by his four rare sons ( Robert De Niro, Robert Walden, Clint, Don Stroud) carry out heists to banks and a crime spree that gets even bigger when she dreams up an abducting plot , its a fast road to ruin. A hooker ( Diane Varsi) appears to be falling for the moronic sibling (Don Stroud as the sadistic mama lover). Later on, they hook up with Robert Walden's (as the homosexual ex-con) prison lover, Bruce Dern. Meanwhile a wealthy businessman ( Pat Hingle) is kidnapped by the grotesques family led by the sadistic mummy. Based on the biography of the violent careers of Ma Barker, named Arizona Clark (1877-1935) and his perverted sons, who roamed the South robbing banks during the Depression as Missouri, Texas, and Florida . They're joined by nefarious criminal Alvin Karpis who doesn't appear at the movie.

This is a perverse stew of murders, pronounced bloodshed, sentimental blood bonding, action , lots of violence and with a bullet-ridden ending . Overacting by Shelley Winters as sex-crazed lady killer and machine-gun toting mother. Imaginative musical score and evocative cinematography by classic cameraman John A Alonzo . Director and producer( along with Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson : American International) Roger Corman skillfully blends extreme violence that was highly controversial and some good scenes action. Good camera work, slick edition and nice 1930s period sets in average budget.

Followed by ¨Big Bad mama¨ (1974) by Steve Carver with Angie Dickinson, William Shatner, Tom Skerrit and ¨Big bad mama II¨ (1988) with Dickinson, Robert Culp and Julie McCullough. And a remake titled ¨Public enemies¨(96) by Mark L Lester with Theresa Russel Eric Roberts, Alyssa Milano and Frank Stallone. Furthermore, ¨The Grisson gang¨ (1971) by Robert Aldrich with Kim Darby and Scott Wilson.


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