Picks and Pans Review: The Electric Horseman

updated 01/14/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/14/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

It's Robert Redford's first big part since All the President's Men and, like a fine Burgundy, he has improved with the years. The role of a TV cowboy fed up with the tawdry business of pitching himself was obviously one Redford felt empathy for. He has never been this good in other films with either the same director (Sydney Pollack also did The Way We Were and Three Days of the Condor) or the same co-star, Jane Fonda (Barefoot in the Park). Fonda, a TV journalist again, is largely restricted to trotting gamely after Redford, as the "Ranch Breakfast Cowboy" takes off for greener pastures. He has all the lines and most of the charm. Country music star Willie Nelson makes an interesting movie debut as Redford's manager and sings most of the sound track as well. More of the footage that was devoted to the purple mountains' majesty should have gone to him and Valerie Perrine, who plays Redford's wife. Still, the movie highlights most of what is great about Westerns: a wonderful chase, folksy wisdom, love, humor, scenery and an electric cast. (PG)

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