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they shoot horses still

FACT presents

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? [15]

FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool, L1 4DQ
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Runtime: 120 minutes mins

Genre: Drama

Desperate times call for desperate movies. In the midst of the Great Depression, manipulative emcee Rocky (Gig Young) enlists contestants for a dance marathon offering a $1,500 cash prize to the last couple standing. Among them are a failed actress (Jane Fonda), a middle-aged sailor (Red Beuttons), a delusional blonde (Susannah York) and a pregnant girl (Bonnie Bedelia). Days turn into weeks as the competition drags on and people either drop out or expire. Rocky, however, will do anything for publicity and initiates a series of grueling derbies.

Based on a novel by Horace McCoy, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? reveals our collective fascination with human struggle put on display and the demoralizing illusion of Hollywood’s dream factory. Directed by Sydney Pollock, this psychological drama was applauded for its portrayal of the Depression area when it was released with Roger Ebert naming it as one of the best movies of the 1970s. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? “holds our attention because it tells us something we didn't know about human nature and American society” - Roger Ebert. As of 2023, the film holds the record for obtaining the most Oscar nominations without receiving one for Best Picture.

Doors: 18:30. Screening: 19:00

This event does not include adverts before the screening. Doors open 30 minutes before the screening and the programme will start promptly at 19:00. Please arrive in plenty of time to help our team ensure everyone has a great experience.


Tickets — £6-10


This film was selected for screening by artist Jenkin van Zyl because of its depiction of the gruelling dance tournaments of the Depression era. In Jenkin’s film Surrender (on display at FACT from 20 October 2023 - 28 January 2024), we follow the story of GRACE who checks into a love hotel to compete in a series of competitions that play with the limitations and expansiveness of the body.

Dance has been tied to movies since the earliest days of cinema and if you like the look of this then you may enjoy Jenkin’s other film choice, Climax (2018) directed by Gaspar Noé, which is screening on Wednesday 24 January 2024.

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