Big Bad Mama

Big Bad Mama is a 1974 American action-crime-sexploitation comedy film produced by Roger Corman, starring Angie Dickinson, William Shatner, and Tom Skerritt, with Susan Sennett and Robbie Lee. This film is about a mother, Wilma (played by Angie Dickinson), and her daughters, Polly (Robbie Lee) and Billie Jean (Susan Sennett), who go on a crime spree. After the mother unexpectedly falls in love with a bank robber it all ends with tragic consequences. Big Bad Mama became a cult hit[4] and was followed by a sequel, Big Bad Mama II, in 1987.

Big Bad Mama
Promotional poster
Directed bySteve Carver
Produced byRoger Corman
Written byWilliam Norton
Frances Doel
StarringAngie Dickinson
William Shatner
Tom Skerritt
Music byDavid Grisman
CinematographyBruce Logan
Edited byTina Hirsch
Distributed byNew World Pictures
Release date
  • September 19, 1974 (1974-09-19)
Running time
83 min
CountryUnited States
Budget$400,000[1] or $750,000[2]
Box office$4 million[3]


In Texas in 1932, after stopping her youngest daughter's wedding, Wilma McClatchie (Dickinson) takes over her late lover's bootlegging business, but gets caught while doing the delivery route with her two daughters. After handing over all her money and her ring to the sheriff, they are let go and she begins her crime spree.

While Wilma is at a bank trying to cash a fake check, the bank is held up by Fred Diller (Skerritt) and his gang. In the melee, Wilma and her daughters, Polly (Robbie Lee) and Billy Jean (Susan Sennett), grab some money bags from behind the counter and escape, but not before Diller gets in their automobile and leaves with them. Afterwards, they decide to pair up, and Diller and Wilma also become lovers.

During a subsequent con, Wilma meets the refined yet dishonest gambler William J. Baxter (Shatner) and falls for him. He joins the group and becomes Wilma's lover, much to the chagrin of Diller. The gang proceeds with several more heists, each time getting more money. Eventually, they kidnap the daughter of a millionaire in hopes of getting rich off the ransom. When the ransom is paid, federal agents who had been tracking them arrive with the police.

Baxter is captured, but Wilma, Polly, and Billy Jean escape with the suitcase full of money, and Diller stays behind, providing cover with his Tommy gun. As the three women drive off, the mortally wounded Wilma's bloodied left arm is seen hanging down on the left side of the car.



The film features a number of nude scenes by the three principal actresses, several of which are with the two principal actors.

According to director Steve Carver, Angie Dickinson allowed the crew to remain on set during the filming of her sex scene with Tom Skerritt, but William Shatner asked for all nonessential crew to be removed during his sex scene with Dickinson.[7]

Much of the bluegrass music for this film was written by David Grisman. It was played by the Great American Music Band, and recorded and mixed by Bill Wolf.[8]



Home media

On December 7, 2010, Shout! Factory released the title on DVD, packaged as a double feature with Big Bad Mama II as part of the Roger Corman's Cult Classics collection.[10]

On March 30, 2016, Shout! Factory released Big Bad Mama on Blu-ray as a solo release. This Blu-ray is a BD/MOD (Blu-ray disc, manufactured on demand) release. It was announced on the Home Theater Forum, UHD Blu-ray/Blu-ray Forum.[11]

See also


  1. Ed. J. Philip di Franco, The Movie World of Roger Corman, Chelsea House Publishers, 1979 p 57
  2. "CORMAN BRINGS IN 'MAMA' FOR $750,000". Los Angeles Times. June 3, 1974. p. e12.
  3. Christopher T Koetting, Mind Warp!: The Fantastic True Story of Roger Corman's New World Pictures, Hemlock Books. 2009 p 67
  4. Pfeiffer, Lee; Worrall, Dave (November 29, 2011). "Cinema Sex Sirens". Omnibus Press. Retrieved January 26, 2018 via Google Books.
  5. Robbie Lee
  6. Susan Sennett
  7. Chris Nashawaty, Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses - Roger Corman: King of the B Movie, Abrams, 2013 p 141
  8. Big Bad Mama entry in The Compleat Grateful Dead Discography
  9. "Big Bad Mama: A drive-in classic? Essay at". Archived from the original on 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2006-05-22.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-11. Retrieved October 6, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. "Big Bad Mama (1974) (Blu-ray) Available for Preorder". Retrieved January 26, 2018.
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