Watch Billie

"That crazy rock 'n' roll beat has taken over her feet!"
  • NR
  • 1965
  • 1 hr 27 min
  • 5.7  (479)

"Billie" is a 1965 American comedy-drama film that blends the effervescent energy of youthful ambition with the classic showdown between personal dreams and societal expectations. The movie stars the talented Patty Duke, who rose to fame as a child star and later won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker." In "Billie," she exhibits her versatility by taking on the lead role of a high school teenager with a unique and quirky trait that sets her apart from her peers.

Patty Duke plays Billie Carol, a tomboyish 16-year-old with an extraordinary talent - she can run like the wind. Her incredible speed makes her stand out, but this same ability also causes her to grapple with fitting in at school and maintaining a typical teenage life. Billie's spirited nature and her zest for running soon catch the eye of her track coach, who sees potential in her that could benefit the school's track team. However, for Billie, the joy of running is pure and personal, unconnected to competition or the desires of others.

Jim Backus, best known for his role as the wealthy Thurston Howell III on the television series "Gilligan's Island," and as the voice of the lovable nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo, plays Billie's father, Howard Carol. Howard is a successful businessman and the town's esteemed mayor, a pillar of the community who has high hopes and specific expectations for his daughter. He wants Billie to embody the feminine ideals of the time, but her athletic prowess and indifference to traditional gender roles pose a charming challenge to his vision.

Jane Greer, who attained fame for her role as a femme fatale in the classic film noir "Out of the Past," portrays Billie's mother Agnes Carol. Agnes faces the cultural push and pull between nurturing her daughter's unique abilities and encouraging her to conform to the customary image of a young woman in the 1960s. Throughout the movie, Billie's relationship with her parents adds depth and complexity to the narrative, as Agnes and Howard each have their own contrasting reactions to Billie’s nonconformity and her potential to shake up the status quo.

The film encapsulates the zeitgeist of the mid-1960s, a period marked by significant social change and the budding women's liberation movement. Billie's unconventional character becomes a subtle symbol for the changing attitudes towards gender roles and the definition of what it means to be a young woman. Despite the comedic and light-hearted elements of the film, there is an undercurrent that touches on the struggle for personal identity and societal acceptance.

One of the central themes of "Billie" revolves around the high school setting, a world brimming with adolescent anxieties, peer pressure, and the looming responsibilities of adulthood. Billie's classmates serve as a contrast to her independent spirit, falling in with the era's norms, with typical interests in dating, fashion, and popularity contests. This setting accentuates the humor in Billie's predicament - a young woman gifted with a talent that doesn't quite mesh with the expected hobbies and concerns of a teen girl in her time and place.

The screenplay also stages an exploration of the tensions between personal aspirations and the pressures of competitive sports. As Billie is nudged towards harnessing her running talent for the track team, the movie dives into the challenges athletes face in balancing their love for the sport with the notion of performing for crowds, winning medals, and fulfilling other people's expectations. The narrative invites the audience to ponder the price of success and the meaning of true fulfillment.

In terms of production, "Billie" embraces the aesthetic and feel of the 1960s with its costume design and set decoration, capturing an authentic snapshot of middle-class American life during the era. The film's direction, under the experienced hand of Don Weis, known for his work on "The Affairs of Dobie Gillis" and various TV series, maintains an engaging pace and showcases a knack for comedic timing, while also handling the dramatic moments with sensitivity.

The soundtrack of "Billie" adds an extra layer of appeal, particularly with the inclusion of the title song, reflecting the film's whimsical and spirited nature. Overall, the movie is a family-friendly coming-of-age story that resonates with audiences of all ages. While touching on issues of identity, gender norms, and generational change, "Billie" is as much a reflection of its time as it is a timeless tale of embracing who you are, despite the pressures to conform. Patty Duke's effervescent performance anchors the film, making "Billie" a charming and noteworthy entry in the catalogue of 1960s American cinema.

Billie is a 1965 music movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.7.

Where to Watch Billie
Billie is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, FuboTV, The Roku Channel, EPIX, Apple TV and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Billie for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 27 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.7  (479)