Badlands is a 1973 American neo-noir period crime drama film written, produced and directed by Terrence Malick, in his directorial debut. Starring Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates and Ramon Bieri, the story, though fictional, is loosely based on the real-life murder spree of Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, in 1958, though that basis was not acknowledged when the film was released. Like many of Malick's films, Badlands is notable for its lyrical photography, and its music, which includes pieces by Carl Orff. The film is the on-screen debut of Sheen's sons Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez, as uncredited extras.


In 1959 South Dakota, 15-year-old Holly Sargis is a teenage girl living in a dead-end town called Fort Dupree. She lives with her sign painter father, although their relationship has been strained since her mother died of pneumonia some years earlier. One day Holly meets a 25-year-old garbage collector named Kit Carruthers. Kit is a young, troubled greaser and Korean War veteran, who resembles James Dean, an actor Holly admires. Kit charms Holly, and she quickly falls in love with him. As Holly falls deeper in love for Kit, his violent and anti-social tendencies start to slowly reveal themselves.