Director Roger Corman pulls no punches in this sordid (and true) saga of Kate "Ma" Barker and her sons, brutal criminals who terrorized America in the 1920s and '30s. Shelley Winters plays Ma with scenery-chewing vigor; the scene in which she holds up a bank with a tommy gun is a peak moment in exploitation cinema. Robert De Niro plays Ma's dope-addicted son Lloyd (in his first major onscreen role). Ma also has a homosexual son named Fred (Robert Walden) whose sadistic lover (Bruce Dern) joins the gang and sleeps with her as well. Don Stroud and Clint Kimborough are the other boys. At Ma's command they rob and murder, but when they kidnap a local politician (Pat Hingle), he turns into the father figure they never had, enabling them to finally stand up to her. Robert Thorn's script doesn't miss a single chance to delve into perversity as it explores this most dysfunctional of families, and it's great to see method actors such as De Niro, Dern, and Winters strutting their stuff with such lurid material. Scatman Crothers plays the handyman who finally reports the Barkers to the feds, leading to the requisite blood-drenched shoot-out.
Don Stroud - American Supporting Actor
Shelley Winters - Oscar winning actress, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (1959)
Shirley Schrift - Oscar winning actress, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (1959)
Robert De Niro - Oscar Winning Actor/Director/Producer
Robert DeNiro - Oscar Winning Actor/Director/Producer
Roger Corman - Film Producer/Director, THE RAVEN (1963)
Roger William Corman - Film Producer/Director, THE RAVEN (1963)
Pat Hingle - American Actor
Sex-crazy Ma Barker and her equally depraved boys hit town after town in a wild spree of robberies. The Barkers' criminal exploits leave many corpses in their wake--that is, until the FBI catches up to them....
"As BONNIE AND CLYDE mythologized the exploits of the bank-robbing couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, so BLOODY MAMA dramatized the rise and fall of another early 1930s criminal outfit, the Barker Gang." - 11/13/2014 New York Times