The Resurrection of Broncho Billy (1970) Poster

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Poignant portrait...
poe4268 February 2002
*** Spoilers*** Caught this one when PBS ran a series in the late '70's focusing on Academy Award-winning shorts. THE RESURRECTION OF BRONCO BILLY paints a poignant portrait of a lonely young man whose wistful daydreams slam head-on into harsh reality. His room is wall-papered with western posters; he imagines himself (while standing on a street corner waiting for a light to change) facing off against another gunslinger (they walk toward one another when the light changes, in classic gunfighter fashion- and then abruptly brush past each other); in the final scene, he is soundly beaten by bullies... but has a final fade-out fantasy of himself as a gallant horseman sweeping a beautiful damsel off her feet. Outstanding even among an entire series of Academy Award-winners, THE RESURRECTION OF BRONCO BILLY is the kind of short aspiring filmmakers should seek out and study.
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Real People on Hollywood Blvd.
yonhope8 March 2004
Hi, Everyone,

I have been walking on Hollywood Blvd. for many years. I have talked with Wild Bill Tucker and many other Hollywood characters. This movie shows them as they really were.

Johnny Crawford is a lovable character himself here even though he was barely 20 when this came out. If you want to know about Hollywood watch this film. The characters have changed over the years but there are still many oddball types who frequent the famous attractions.

A really good movie.

Tom Willett
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there will be no more cowboys
lee_eisenberg17 August 2019
"The Resurrection of Broncho Billy" will probably be of interest to people nowadays for its Oscar win and the participation of future horror director John Carpenter. As for me, I interpreted as meaning that there will be no more cowboys. The titular character has his ambitions and fantasies, but that's what they remain. The common image of the Old West can only exist in movies and will not return.

Anyway, it's an interesting short. Worth seeing.
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Cannot breathe life into the western genre again, even if the Academy wants us to think otherwise
Horst_In_Translation25 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"The Resurrection of Broncho Billy" is a relatively long title for a fairly short movie as this one makes it only past the 20-minute mark with the ending credits. It was released back in 1970, so it will soon be half a century old. The director is James R. Rokos and he is also one of more people than you'd expect contributing to the script here. But the most known name here, also far more known than any cast members, is John Carpenter, who is credited here as a story writer. The main reason why this one isn't forgotten yet is thanks to Carpenter, who was only in his early 20s at that point, but also because the film managed to win an Academy Award back then. I guess this was not really because of good quality or anything, but because around the age of 1970, the western genre was beyond its peak in terms of both quantity and quality and clearly the Academy still loved it and wanted to help in resurrecting it. The only real moments when this felt like a western are near the end though, where we also get a bit of romance. Everything before that is fairly mediocre and undefined genre-wise. The protagonists affection for western heroes is not enough to carry it through to audiences. All in all, I was not too well-entertained seeing this one, so sadly, even if here and there we get a good moment, I have to give it a thumbs-down and suggest you skip it. I would not even recommend it to western film fans as I count myself as such too. Maybe Oscar historian can give it a go, but they should not expect too much in terms of acting, story and style. Underwhelming.
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Fascinating and touching portrait of a young man out of step with his times
llltdesq26 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This short won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Live Action. There will be spoilers ahead:

This short stars Johnny Crawford, best known for his role as Mark McCain on the TV series The Rifleman, as Biily, a young man wandering through his life, daydreaming of the old West and a life he was born too late to realistically have an opportunity to live. He almost lives in his own fantasy world, but the real world keeps intruding.

His landlady wakes him up, in a bedroom where he's surrounded by old western movie posters, he dresses in cowboy clothes and pretends to be a gunfighter. Instead of going to work, he sits and listens to an old cowboy reminisce about the old West. The old timer has given him a pocket watch which he can't even remember needs to be wound occasionally.

Once he does get to work, he walks in like he's headed for a showdown. As he leaves, we learn, not surprisingly, he's been fired. He walks around at various points in the short and his actions and surroundings draw echos of the old West-the sounds of cattle when he walks through traffic, a symbolic "showdown" with a businessman in a crosswalk and so on.

He winds up in an alley, where he gets mugged and robbed, losing the pocket watch. He goes to buy something to drink, trying to engage the girl behind the counter in conversation, but all she's interested in is the money for his glass of whatever. Realizing he has nothing to buy it with, he turns away, embarrassed.

He winds up under a tree, when a pretty girl walks over, wanting to sketch him. It's obvious they find each other attractive, but he starts telling her how she has everything "wrong", instead of complimenting her on her ability. He's so caught up in every detail being just so, he's forgotten the old movie line, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend". The girl becomes bored and irritated at his corrections, makes an excuse and leaves. As she's walking away, he flashes on something, the short goes from black and white to color and there's a wish fulfillment fantasy ending worthy of the Twilight Zone.

This short deserves to be more widely known and seen. Recommended.
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