Billy Jack/Fun Facts

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Billy Jack

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  • Contract disputes between Laughlin and various producers caused the film to change hands between three different film studios, and delaying its release for three years. In 1973, Laughlin filed a fifty-one million dollar lawsuit against Warner studios for "improperly publicizing" Billy Jack.
  • Laughlin booked the film into theaters himself in 1971 using the "four walling" method (a studio or distributor rents movie theaters for a period of time and receives all of the box office revenue. The four walls of a movie theater give the term its name). The film grossed $10 million in its initial run, but eventually added close to $50 million in its re-release, with distribution supervised by Laughlin.
  • The unusual kick that Billy Jack uses in the fight in the park is known in Hapkido Karate as an "Outside Crescent Kick", a technique in which the leg is raised and swung outward striking with the outside edge of the foot.
  • Elizabeth James was originally cast in the film but was later fired and replaced by Delores Taylor.
  • The Hapkido fights in the film were choreographed by Hapkido master Bong Soo Han. Master Han not only choreographed but also body doubled for Tom Laughlin in the fight scenes.
  • Look for an early appearance by Howard Hesseman (WKRP in Cincinatti's Dr. Johnny Fever) in a small role as a hippie comedian. Hesseman was part of the counterculture performance troupe "The Committee" at the time this film was made.
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