Billy Jack Takes on the Town.
A scene from the film Billy Jack, filmed in 1969 and released in 1971.
Students have been beaten and mocked. Billy Jack steps into the Ice Cream parlor to confront the rich spoiled kid of the town and his gang.
"Bernard, I want you to know... that I try. When Jean and the kids at the school tell me that I'm supposed to control my violent temper, and be passive and nonviolent like they are, I try. I really try. Though when I see this girl... of such a beautiful spirit... so degraded... and this boy... that I love... sprawled out by this big ape here... and this little girl, who is so special to us we call her "God's little gift of sunshine"... and I think of the number of years that she's going to have to carry in her memory... the savagery of this idiotic moment of yours... I just go BERSERK!"
"Billy Jack" is the second, and highest grossing, in a series of motion pictures centering on a fictional character of the same name, played by Tom Laughlin who also directed and co-wrote the script. Filming began in Prescott, Arizona, in fall 1969, but the movie was not completed until 1971. The film lacked distribution, so Laughlin took it to theatres himself in 1971. The film died at the box office in its initial run but took in more than $40 million (A Blockbuster at the time) in its 1973 re-release, which was supervised by Laughlin.
Billy Jack is a "half-breed" American Cherokee Indian Green Beret Vietnam War veteran, hapkido master, and gunslinger. The character made his début in The Born Losers (1967), a so-called "biker film" about a motorcycle gang terrorizing a California town.
In this second film, Billy Jack, must defend the hippie-themed Freedom School and its students from townspeople who do not understand or like the natives and counterculture students mixing.
Although marketed as an action film, the story focuses on the plight of Native Americans during the civil rights movement. It attained a cult following among younger audiences due to its youth-oriented, anti-authority message combined with the then-novel martial arts fight scenes which predate the Bruce Lee/kung fu movie trend that soon followed. The centerpiece of the film features Billy Jack, enraged over the mistreatment of his Indian friends, fighting a gang of racist thugs using his hapkido karate-kicking technique.
Billy Jack helped raise the level of awareness regarding the discrimination against Native Americans at that time. This is exemplified in a key scene where some Indian children from the school go into town for ice cream and are refused service and then abused and humiliated by Bernard Posner and his gang. This prompts a violent outburst by Billy in an elaborately staged fight sequence in which a professional hapkido expert substituted for Laughlin in the key "facekicking" scene shown here.
The film's theme song, "One Tin Soldier" by Coven, became a Top 40 hit in 1971, and featured the chorus:
Go ahead and hate your neighbor; go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of heaven; you can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowin' come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after, one tin soldier rides away
Billy Jack: You know what I think I'm gonna do then? Just for the hell of it?
Mr. Posner: Tell me.
Billy Jack: I'm gonna take this right foot, and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face...
[points to Posner's right cheek]
Billy Jack: ...and you wanna know something? There's not a darn thing you're gonna be able to do about it.
Mr. Posner: Really?
Billy Jack: Really. :)
added: Apr 28, 2010