Dirty Little Billy (1972)

Watch Dirty Little Billy back-to-back with Young Guns for a testimonial to how little faith you can place in Hollywood to give you an accurate portrayal of history.

In the latter we have William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, portrayed as the fastest, cleverest, most ruthless and domineering youngster ever born…a boy capable of shooting it out with a dozen experienced gunfighters and living to tell about it. Then, in the former, we have the very same William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, now portrayed as this skinny little punk with his hands wrapped in bandages because farm work is too rough on his delicate skin. He follows his hero, Goldie, around obsequiously, and trembles like he’s giving birth to porcupines whenever he’s got a gun in his hands.

So which one is accurate? Neither, of course; they’re both Hollywood characters. They’re both historical B.S., just like almost every other movie ever made about any other famous person who ever lived. I’m sure the real Billy the Kid fell somewhere far in between those two portrayals. No human being that ever lived could have survived all those gunfights that super-bad Emilio Esteves won so easily. (must be kin to Sylvester Stallone), just as a sissy like Michael J. Pollard could never have survived for two days as an outlaw in the Wild West.

But, is the movie good? Yeah, for entertainment value it’s O.K. I guess, but my being an old fart that saw it at the drive-in, back in ’73, may have something to do with that opinion. (It came on Encore Channel last night, which is why I’m writing this) I also kind of enjoyed Young Guns, even though I had to roll my eyes alot at the ridiculosity of it all. (It IS a word…I just invented it)

If you’re a teenage badass wannabe, you probably won’t like this flick. It will make you feel uncomfortable as you spot your own sad little weaknesses in Pollard’s character. Someone like you is better off fantasizing that you’re Vin Diesel, while you watch Fast and Furious or something equally low-brow and gangsta-oriented.