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Broken Lance (1954)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Western  |  25 September 1954 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,250 users  
Reviews: 39 user | 17 critic

The saga of the Devereaux rancher family, set in 1880's Arizona.



(screenplay), (story)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Matt Devereaux
Joe Devereaux
Ben Devereaux
Señora Devereaux
Mike Devereaux
Two Moons
Denny Devereaux
Horace - The Governor
Carl Benton Reid ...
Clem Lawton
Van Cleve
Robert Burton ...
Mac Andrews


Cattle baron Matt Devereaux raids a copper smelter that is polluting his water, then divides his property among his sons. Son Joe takes responsibility for the raid and gets three years in prison. Matt dies from a stroke partly caused by his rebellious sons and when Joe gets out he plans revenge. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fury of the West's Most Lawless Feud!


Adventure | Western


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

25 September 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Arizona  »

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm optical prints)| (35 mm magnetic prints) (Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Richard Widmark and Earl Holliman play brothers here. They would again appear as siblings 5 years later in "The Trap" (1959). See more »


When Matt is seen riding toward his sons off the side of the hill, he is sitting astride his horse, and his right hand is held up holding the reins, but when his son Ben takes him off his horse, he is already dead. See more »


Van Cleve: I now ask you, sir, do you remember the names Charlie Monger, Red Dog Johnson or Carlos Rameriez?
Matt Devereaux: No.
Van Cleve: The incident may be too trivial to recall. But isn't it true that you summarily hanged three of these men on the afternoon of June 4th?
Matt Devereaux: They were stealing my cattle!
Van Cleve: I thought you didn't remember them.
Matt Devereaux: I didn't ask their names!
Van Cleve: You just hanged 'em?
Matt Devereaux: By the neck until they were dead. They were thieves!
See more »


Referenced in Sunny Side Up (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Joseph and his brothers.
11 November 2003 | by See all my reviews

Although a remake,this western strongly recalls the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis.After all,that's the hero's name ,and his brothers really sell him when they refuse to give more money to the bosses of the copper mine .Leonard Maltin writes that it owes a deal to "king lear" too,the daughters becoming sons.Richard Widmark is the stand-out and easily outshines the "good" Robert Wagner and his two other brothers who are no more than walk-ons anyway.In his final confrontation with Tracy,he even surpasses the veteran :he succeeds,which is not a small feat, in making us believe that he had a very hard life and that he's not so bad after all.

"Broken lance" ranks among Dmytryk's best works ,more human than "Warlock" and a thousand times better than the latter days ' fiascos such as "Alvarez Kelly" and the dreadful "Shalako".Released just after the brilliant "Caine mutiny" ,it compares favorably to it,in its own way.The opening is intriguing :we do believe ,for a short while,that Joe (Wagner) is the black sheep of the family ,and then , a long flashback -a device which is rarely used in westerns - brilliantly starting with the patriarch's(Tracy)painting in a deserted house ,tells the whole story.Also unusual is the rather long trial ,a reason for which some will classify the movie as talky,which is unfair,because so many qualities in a western are rare to find.Tracy's death is a real tour de force verging on fantastic.There's also a sensitive wistful performance by Katy Jurado ,as Tracy's second wife .

21 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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allusion to Biblical Joseph and his brothers thewinkens
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