The Betsy

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The Betsy
Directed byDaniel Petrie
Produced byRobert R. Weston
Written byWilliam Bast
Walter Bernstein
Harold Robbins (novel)
StarringLaurence Olivier
Tommy Lee Jones
Robert Duvall
Distributed byAllied Artists
Release date(s)1978
Running time125 m

The Betsy is a 1978 film made by the Harold Robbins International Company and released by Allied Artists. It was directed by Daniel Petrie and produced by Robert R. Weston and Emanuel L. Wolf with Jack Grossberg as associate producer. The screenplay was by William Bast and Walter Bernstein, adapted from the novel of the same title by Harold Robbins. The novelist considered The Betsy as the "best movie adaptation of any of his works."[1]

The film stars Laurence Olivier, Robert Duvall, Katharine Ross, Tommy Lee Jones, Jane Alexander, Joseph Wiseman, Kathleen Beller, Edward Herrmann, Paul Rudd*, and Lesley-Anne Down. *This actor is deceased and not the one who is now popular with the same name

The Betsy features music composed by John Barry.[2]

All the sex is so discreet that the movie never allows itself to get as trashy as a Harold Robbins bestseller should be.[3]

The Betsy was filmed at Rosecliff mansion in Newport Rhode Island.


The plot involves a fading family-owned automobile manufacturer that pins its hopes for a return to profitability based upon a new model named for the granddaughter of the firm's founder. Intrigue within the book centers on corporate secrets and family betrayal. Several of the characters are based upon members of the Ford family; the most notable dynamic is between the character player by Olivier and that of Henry Ford.

Assembly plant footage was filmed at the American Motors (AMC) Kenosha, Wisconsin facilities. It shows 1978 Gremlin, Pacer, and Concord models being built and painted.

Jones and Duvall would reunite a decade later in Larry McMurtry's sweeping western epic, Lonesome Dove.


  1. "William Bast recalls the making of ''The Betsy''". American Legends. undated. Retrieved on 2008-05-14. 
  2. "The Betsy (1978)". by Muze, Inc.. 2007. Retrieved on 2008-05-14. 
  3. SM (undated). "The Betsy (1978)". Time Out Film Guide. Retrieved on 2008-05-14.