Badlands is a 1973 American neo-noir period crime drama film written, produced and directed by Terrence Malick, in his directorial debut. The film stars Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, and follows Holly Sargis (Spacek), a 15-year old who goes on a killing spree with her partner, Kit Carruthers (Sheen). The film also stars Warren Oates and Ramon Bieri. While the story is fictional, it is loosely based on the real-life murder spree of Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, in 1958.


Holly Sargis narrates the film as a 15-year-old living in Fort Dupree, a dead-end South Dakota town. She has a strained relationship with her father, a sign painter, since her mother's death from pneumonia years earlier. Holly meets Kit Carruthers, a 25-year-old garbage collector, troubled greaser and Korean War veteran. He resembles James Dean, an actor whom Holly admires. After Kit charms Holly, he takes her virginity. As they become closer, his violent and antisocial tendencies are gradually revealed.