Bill (1981)

“Bill ” officially aired on CBS in 1981. (exact same year Raiders Of The Lost Ark came out) It received positive reviews from critics and viewers alike. Bill eventually became a Golden Globe & Emmy nominee ultimately winning “Best Actor In A TV Movie” (Mickey Rooney) & “Best TV Movie” from both awards ceremony. Two Years Later, a sequel titled, “Bill On His Own” aired five months after Bill Sackter passed away. In 2008, a documentary titled, “A Friend Indeed: The Bill Sackter Story” as it explores the real Bill Sackter’s friendship with Barry Morrow, his accomplishments, influence towards people with mental disabilities as well as opening a coffee shop at The University Of Iowa. To this day, his coffee shop continues as a learning experience for people with mental disabilities to keep Bill’s legacy alive for future generations.

To commemorate Mickey Rooney’s 100th birthday, I would like to honor his legacy with one of his best works. Correct me if I’m wrong, he was in The Entertainment Industry at the age of six. Quite an enduring accomplishment for a kid transitioning his entire life in a workplace environment.

If you haven’t seen Bill or not familiar with Bill Sackter, I’m gonna give many movie goers a chance without entering full SPOILER territory. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article. Keep in mind, this review is a short one. Not a big budget historical epic like “Lawrence Of Arabia.” Just a condense biopic telling the story of a friendship.

Positive & Negative Elements

Positive: Mickey Rooney did a fantastic job for his Golden Globe and Emmy winning performance in the title role.

Dennis Quaid did a great job for his performance as Barry Morrow.

Barry Morrow contributed to the story drawing elements from his friendship with Bill.

Chemistry between Bill & Barry serves as the main highlight. It felt organic with the pair interacting with one another.

Cinematography never suffered from technical difficulties.

Bill’s keepsake is his lucky $2 bill. It plays a key role.

Bill opens up a coffee shop under the name, “Wild Bill’s Coffee Shop” at The University Of Iowa. It’s still open for business as a learning experience for people with mental disabilities keeping Bill’s legacy alive for future generations.

The movie is partially set during Christmas. The documentary, A Friend Indeed: The Bill Sackter Story shows Barry filming Bill as Santa Claus for his children to interact with Santa. According to Barry, Bill said he loved portraying Santa.

My favorite part is when Bill & Barry sing a song while they work on a documentary together. To put the icing on the cake, Bill plays his trusty harmonica. I’ll have to give this bit Bonus Points as this marks a signature spark between Bill & Barry’s friendship.

We learn about Bill’s personal life before he got locked up for 46 Years in a mental hospital.

The film ends with footage of the real Bill Sackter. He also met former President Jimmy Carter who gave him special recognition.

This film will make you cry. Trust me, bring a couple of tissues. You’re gonna need them. No offense, I didn’t cry at all.

Negative: I couldn’t find no flaws within the movie. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for putting a lot of effort.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

For almost an entire century of his career, Bill is one of Mickey Rooney’s best movies. He definitely deserved his Golden Globe & Emmy awards for his performance as Bill Sackter. If you’re curious about this movie. I strongly recommend it. Don’t forget to check out the documentary, A Friend Indeed: The Bill Sackter Story.

Rest In Peace Mickey Rooney & Bill Sackter. Your legacies will never be forgotten.

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