|The Legend of Billie Jean|
|Released:||July 19, 1985|
|Cinematography:||Jeffrey L. Kimball|
Taglines: When you're seventeen, people think they can do anything to you. Billie Jean is about to prove them wrong.
The last thing she ever expected was to become a hero.
The movie begins with Billie Jean Davy (Helen Slater), a Corpus Christi, Texas high school girl, riding with her younger brother, Binx (Christian Slater), on a Honda Elite. They stop at an ice cream stand and are having fun until a group of boys, led by Hubie Pyatt (Barry Tubb), start trouble with them. Hubie tries to grab Billie Jean, but Binx dumps his milkshake on Hubie, and they ride off. Later, they stop to take a swim in a lake. After their swim, Billie Jean tells Binx about Vermont, and Binx expresses a desire to go there. During their conversation about travelling there, Hubie and his friends arrive, apparently looking to settle a score with Binx.
They find Binx's scooter, and begin to ride it violently across the lake's shore. Billie Jean and Binx swim across the lake to try and stop them. As they get out of the water, one of Hubie's friends takes a picture of Billie Jean pulling herself out of the water as Binx tries to get his scooter back. Hubie knocks Binx down, and steals his scooter.
Billie Jean, Binx, and their friends Putter (Yeardley Smith) and Ophelia (Martha Gehman) go to the police about the scooter. They speak to Detective Ringwald (Peter Coyote) about it, but he doesn't take them seriously. He assumes it's just a harmless squabble between some kids. Later, Binx goes to get his scooter back on his own. He comes home severely beaten, and his scooter is trashed.
Billie Jean, Binx, and their friend Ophelia go to Mr. Pyatt's place of business to give him the bill for the motor scooter repairs. Binx is told to wait in the car. Hubie is inside the store, and he tells his father not to believe Billie Jean, because "they're from the trailers". Mr. Pyatt takes Billie up to a room to give her money, but he tries to rape her. Tired of waiting in the car, and not realizing what is happening upstairs, Binx goes into the store himself, leans over the counter, and opens the cash register. There is a pistol in the till. Just as he picks up the gun, his sister comes running down the stairs, with Mr. Pyatt right behind her. When Mr. Pyatt sees that Binx has the gun, he turns on him. Confused and scared, Binx accidentally shoots Mr Pyatt in the shoulder. The kids race away, stopping at home to pack a few things (where they also pick up Putter) and they become fugitives.
By the time Detective Ringwald realizes that he made a mistake in not listening to Billie Jean, the situation is spinning out of control. It is only made worse when the teens meet Lloyd (Keith Gordon), a lonely rich kid, who fakes his own abduction so he can join them on the road. Now they are wanted not only for robbery and attempted murder, but for kidnapping as well. And Lloyd's father is a powerful politician, who is willing to use whatever means are necessary to retrieve his son and show the voters that he's tough on crime.
Throughout it all, she only wants the $608 to fix her brother's scooter, and an apology from Mr. Pyatt. Lloyd helps Billie Jean make a video of her demands, and before she makes the tape she cuts her long, blond hair into a crew cut as a sign of her rebellion.
As the media coverage increases and Billie Jean's scrapes with the law get closer and closer, she becomes a teen icon - a symbol of youth empowerment, and the evidence of the injustices adults are capable of. Girls all over Texas, including Putter, cut their hair short, and doing everything they can to help Billie Jean escape from the police and get what she wants. This is shown by many different girls pretending to be Billie Jean when they are pulled over by the police and by different girl's picking up Billie Jean and handing her off to another girl in her travels.
Billie Jean also helps an abused boy during this time. The father that is abusing the son becomes scared of her and she uses it to her advantage, managing to get the boy sent off to his grandmother's, 'for awhile'.
Finally, she devises a plan to get the money without being caught: Binx dresses up in her clothes and walks out to take the cash. But Hubie realizes that it's not really Billie Jean, and he breaks through the police barricades and runs towards Binx. As Binx turns toward Hubie, a police sharpshooter sees that Binx has a pistol (it's a toy gun, which got them in trouble earlier), and shoots him.
As Binx is rushed away in an ambulance, Billie Jean comes out of hiding to confront Mr. Pyatt once and for all. He is now running a souvenir stand on the beach, where he is selling Billie Jean t-shirts and wanted posters. Her struggle has been very profitable for him. He tries to pay her off, but money is not enough. Billie Jean reminds Mr. Pyatt of what he had said to her in the beginning, 'Pay as you go, earn as you learn. Isn't that what you said Mr.Pyatt'. With a crowd of Billie Jean fans watching, Mr. Pyatt flies into a rage, admits what he did, but tells the onlookers that it was all her fault. She knees Mr. Pyatt in the groin and sets fire to his shop. Realizing that they had been contributing to the profits of the real criminal, the crowd of fans, including Hubie, begins to throw their souvenirs into the fire as well. As the shop goes up in a giant blaze, Billie Jean walks through the crowd, past Detective Ringwald, and into the night.
The film ends in the snowy ski mountains of Vermont with Billie Jean meeting up with a recovering Binx. Binx comes out of the ski lodge and finds himself captivated by the sight of a snowmobile. Binx exclaims, "far out!" and credits roll.
The film was expected to be a big hit, especially with the MTV crowd, as evidenced by the immediate heavy rotation of its theme song, "Invincible" by Pat Benatar, which peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100; however, its reviews were poor, and it only grossed approximately US$3.5 million. Benatar herself has often spoken disparagingly about the film before launching into "Invincible" in concert. For example, at her concert at the Pikes Peak Center in Colorado Springs on the evening of August 10, 2008; she called it "The Worst Movie Ever Made" before she sang "Invincible".
The film's only home video release as of 2008 was on pan & scan VHS in 1985 and has yet to be released on DVD. Several bootleg DVD ISOs of the film (created from different sources) exist on the Internet, with the most popular one being the "HD2DVD" version (the source for this DVD being the airing of the film on a Paramount HD channel).
It is rumored that difficulties related to the music rights are delaying the DVD release. The movie has been shown several times on the Universal HD Network complete with all original music intact, 1:85:1 widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. It is still unknown if the film will ever be released on licensed DVD.