(also known as Born to Kill
) is a 1974 film by director Monte Hellman
, starring Warren Oates
, Harry Dean Stanton
and featuring Laurie Bird
and Ed Begley, Jr.
The screenplay is based on the novel of the same name by Charles Willeford
. The film has been banned in the United Kingdom because of animal cruelty issues, as the fights shown were actually staged for the filming.
The plot begins in medias res
with a mute Frank Mansfield (played by Warren Oates) locked inside a trailer preparing his best cock for an upcoming fight. He slices the chicken's beak slightly so that it looks cracked in order to increase the betting against him in the upcoming fight. He bets his trailer, girlfriend, and the remainder of his money with fellow cocker Jack (played by Harry Dean Stanton). Mansfield loses the fight (ironically because of the cracked beak), almost all of his belongings, and is set on a rambling path to win the Cockfighter of the Year award.
Frank visits his home town, his family farm, and his long-time fiancée
Mary Elizabeth (played by Patricia Pearcy). Mary Elizabeth has long grown tired of Mansfield's cockfighter ways and asks him to settle down with her. Frank decides in favor of cockfighting, leaves Mary Elizabeth, sells the family farm for money to reinvest in chickens, and starts a partnership with Omar Baradinsky (played by Richard B. Shull). The partnership takes them all the way to the cockfighting championships.
Willeford adapted... Read More