Tom Laughlin, who came to fame as the half-Native American, half-white ex-Green Beret in the 1971 indie blockbuster "Billy Jack," died Thursday at age 82.
A lot of his films are on DVD and on streaming services. If you want to go back to his earliest films, check out "The Delinquents" (1957) -- which was directed by Robert Altman -- "South Pacific" (1958) and even "Gidget" (1959).
And for those who want to revisit his best-known films, or perhaps see them for the first time, here are five:
"The Born Losers": Laughlin first introduced Billy Jack in this low-budget 1967 biker film, which American International Pictures released in 1968.
You can tell it's an AIP film by its poster tag line: "Kitten on Wheels With Her Bike ... Her Boots and Bikini! Out for kicks ... in for trouble? She's going to Join the Born Losers."
"Billy Jack": Laughlin's website at billyjackrights.com called this 1971 movie the "most independent film ever made" since it went through three studios before it was released. The film sold 58 million tickets, the site said.
Laughlin's Billy Jack is living on a reservation in Arizona when he becomes interested in the local progressive Freedom School and an idealistic woman named Jean (Taylor), who runs it. But when small-town bigots threaten the students, karate master Billy Jack kicks into action. According to the Laughlin's site, the film was among the first to "introduce martial arts, specifically hapkido karate, to American audiences."
Reviewers loved or hated the film.
Taylor received a Golden Globe nomination as most promising newcomer; Laughlin won the grand prize at the 1971 Taormina film festival in Italy.
The film's theme song, "One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack)," performed by Coven, was a top 40 hit in 1971.
And here's a bit of trivia. Funnyman
"The Trial of Billy Jack": The third in the series also brought in a lot of jack at the box office. According to the Laughlin site, the 1974 film broke a box-office record with $30 million in 30 days.
Clocking in at nearly three hours, the film finds Billy Jack being released from prison and going on a vision quest four years after he is sentenced for involuntary manslaughter. Meanwhile, Freedom School, run by Taylor, is expanding. But it isn't long before the townspeople start to abuse the students and the local Native Americans, and once again Billy Jack must come to the rescue.
Trivia: Kathy Cronkite, Walter Cronkite's daughter, appeared in the film.
Besides having a strong national advertising campaign, Laughlin and Taylor opened the film wide in more than 1,000 screens across the country -- unheard of at the time.
Critics were less than kind. Leonard Maltin described it as an "awful, pretentious film."
"Billy Jack Goes to Washington": This 1977 remake of
But fans can catch it on VHS and DVD. The film features such veterans as E.G. Marshall, Sam Wanamaker and
TV Guide described it as a "long, arduous and sometimes agitating rip-off" of "Mr. Smith."
The film finds Tom Laughlin playing the world's fastest gun, who also could wield a mean samurai sword.
Ron O'Neal, Lincoln Kilpatrick and