Tag Archives: Sam Peckinpah

Sam Peckinpah – Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

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A family scandal causes a wealthy and powerful Mexican rancher to make the pronouncement–‘Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia!’ Two of the bounty-hunters thus dispatched encounter a local piano-player in their hunt for information. The piano-player does a little investigating on his own and finds out that his girlfriend knows of Garcia’s death and last resting place. Thinking that he can make some easy money and gain financial security for he and his (now) fiancée, they set off on this goal. Of course, this quest only brings him untold misery, in the form of trademark Peckinpah violence. Read More »

Sam Peckinpah – The Wild Bunch (1969)

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An aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the “traditional” American West is disappearing around them. Read More »

Sam Peckinpah – Ride the High Country (1962)

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Ride the High Country is the one Sam Peckinpah movie about which there has never been controversy–save at MGM in 1962, when a new studio regime opted to dump this beautiful, heartbreakingly elegiac Western into the bottom half of a double-bill. Westerns rarely even got reviewed back then, so it’s wellnigh miraculous that critics discovered the movie and raved about it. Newsweek called it the best American picture of the year.
Veteran cowboy stars Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea portray aging gunslingers in the twilight of the Old West. McCrea’s character, Steve Judd, signs on to transport a shipment of gold from a remote mining camp. Gil Westrum (Scott), an old crony now trick-shooting in a carnival, agrees to help but really aims to seduce Judd into stealing the treasure. The slow-building tension between longtime friends–one still true to the code he’s lived by, the other having drifted away from it–anticipates the tortuous personal dilemmas played out to the death by Peckinpah’s Wild Bunch, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and Benny and Elita in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Read More »

Sam Peckinpah – The Getaway (1972)

As a monetary rater of movies, you can tell that I have leanings. My film studies background is rooted in films noir and gritty westerns and at heart, The Getaway is a pulp crime drama with a southwestern flavor. Of course I love it; there’s a heist, a duel, a shootout, a con and every other genre staple that I’ve written about before (not to mention it played a pivotal role in my graduating thesis). It’s true that these details ingratiate the film to me, but it’s also true that The Getaway is a fantastic film. It’s a Steve McQueen movie, after all! That alone makes it a classic and worth watching. Read More »

Sam Peckinpah – Major Dundee [Extended Version] (1965)

Synopsis:
Sitting out the war as the jailer of a Union prison stockade in Eastern New Mexico, Amos Charles Dundee (Charlton Heston) seizes upon a local Apache massacre to ignore his assignment and launch a search-and-destroy mission into Mexico. Having already lost many troopers to the the Indian chief Sierra Charriba (Michael Pate), Dundee is forced to augment his command with local thieves and drunks, promote his black cavalrymen to active status and make a deal with the leader of his Confederate prisoners, the cavalier Ben Tyreen (Richard Harris). It’s an all-or-nothing gambit; Dundee will either find his Apache quarry and come home a national hero, or return empty-handed and face the wrath of military superiors who already see him as an untrustworthy glory hound. Either way, he’d be wise to avoid the thousands of French troops that are also in Northern Mexico, harshly suppressing the revolution of Benito Juarez. Read More »

Sam Peckinpah – The Deadly Companions (1961)


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With its small cast, character-driven story, and modest production values, Sam Peckinpah’s first feature film seems very like another of his TV Western dramas–just one that happened to get shot in Panavision. The director’s favorite TV actor, Brian Keith, plays a surly loner named Yellowleg who ventures into Indian country with a dance-hall girl (Maureen O’Hara), the corpse of her little boy, and a pair of marginally human specimens (Steve Cochran and Chill Wills) who more than justify the title. Everybody has, or seems to have, a guilty or shameful secret: Why does Yellowleg keep his hat on? Was Kit (O’Hara) a widow, or a whore? Action, menace, and ethical dialogues come and go pretty much according to TV rhythms, and the visuals and editing are conventional. But there’s enough quirky character work and offbeat mood-making to hint at the singular filmmaker soon to arrive big-time. –Richard T. Jameson Read More »

Sam Peckinpah – Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1988 Turner Library version) (1973)


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An aging Pat Garrett is hired as a lawman on behalf of a group of wealthy New Mexico cattle barons–his sole purpose being to bring down his old friend Billy the Kid. (IMDB) Read More »