The Ballad of Billie Blue
Cast & Crew
Clancy B. Grass Iii
Dr. Robert Plekker
A. F. Raigosa
The print viewed was a 1989 video release, which bore the title Jailbreakin. Some modern sources also list an alternate title of Star-Crossed Roads. The film ends with the words "The Beginning," after which the credits roll over a sequence showing "Billie Blue" in his happier, younger days. Many of the onscreen crew credits were illegible in the viewed print. Although a June 1971 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Marty Weiss would edit the film, only Renn Reynolds is credited onscreen. Although several songs, in addition to the title song, were performed in the film, their titles have not been determined.
As noted on the MPAA website, The Ballad of Billie Blue was rated GP in 1971 but re-edited in 1972, when it received a G rating. The February 28, 1972 Hollywood Reporter review lists the film's running time as 107 minutes, and a Box Office release chart from March 4, 1974, which listed the film as being in distribution at that time through Gateway Films, noted a 90-minute running time. The viewed video release ran only 78 minutes, and it has not been determined when the various cuts in the film's running time were made. Although a February 24, 1972 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that The Ballad of Billie Blue had been playing that month in Grand Rapids, MI, no other 1972 screenings have been verified, and it is possible that the picture did not open in other areas until May 1973, as indicated on the 1974 Box Office release chart, which listed the distributor as Gateway Films.
An April 1971 Daily Variety news item announced that Basic Empire Productions had been formed to make family-oriented films and television programs and would begin production with The Ballad of Billie Blue. According to April and May 1971 news items, the film was shot partially on location in Colusa County, CA and in Northern California. Both Jason Ledger and Renny Roker were nominated for NAACP Image Awards based on their appearance in the picture. Modern sources add Johnny Green to the cast.