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Lonely Are the Brave (1962)

Approved | | Drama, Western | 1962 (UK)
A fiercely independent cowboy arranges to have himself locked up in jail in order to then escape with an old friend who has been sentenced to the penitentiary.



(screenplay), (novel)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Jerry Bondi
Sheriff Morey Johnson
Michael Kane ...
Paul Bondi
Deputy Sheriff Gutierrez
Rev. Hoskins
William Mims ...
First Deputy Arraigning Burns (as Bill Mims)
Old Man
Lalo Rios ...


In order to free his best friend Bondi, Jack Burns lets himself be imprisoned only to find out that Bondi does not want to escape. Thus Burns breaks out on his own and is afterwards being chased by sheriff Johnson with helicopters and jeeps. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Life can never cage a man like this!


Drama | Western


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

1962 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Last Cowboy  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There are clearly two different helicopters used during the filming, and they use their actual registration numbers: N8441E and N8411E. N8411E is a 4-seat Bell 47J-2 Ranger, serial number 1810, built in 1960. N8441E is a 3-seat Bell 47G-3, serial number 2609, also built in 1960.

On July 8th, 1964, N8441E was destroyed near Manson, WA. The accident killed the pilot, the only occupant of the aircraft. The NTSB said that the probable cause for the accident was weather, more specifically updrafts and downdrafts. See more »


In the bar scene, Burns sits down at a table with a mug of beer and drinks half of it. The one-armed man throws a bottle at him and in the next shot his mug is full. See more »


[first lines]
[to his horse, as he watches jets leave contrails across the sky]
Jack Burns: Time we took off, too.
See more »


Referenced in The Villain (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

How Rare Are The Brave
30 May 2004 | by (Colorado Plateau) – See all my reviews

I just couldn't let the previous review stand as the only review of this film. Based upon The Brave Cowboy, by Edward Abbey, Lonely Are The Brave is a very good screen adaptation of that classic work. Ed Abbey excelled at demonstrating the loss of the West, either in the environmental impacts that devastate vast areas (The Monkey Wrench Gang, Hayduke Lives), or the loss of individuality and freedom (Fire on the Mountain, The Brave Cowboy). Ed Abbey understood that the character of America survived-until recent times-upon rugged individualism that could unite with others in times of trouble. Jack Burns is an individualist who wants to live his own way, yet he had fought in WWII, and was coming to the aid of a friend. Burns does not try to make others live as he does or make them believe as he does, he simply wants to be left alone in a rapidly shrinking world with his sense of frontier dignity intact. Walter Matthau plays the sheriff who understands his adversary too well; his is the character that has lost the faith and become a collaborator. Matthau's bumbling deputies represent the federal government who stumble over themselves in order to crush Burns' freedom. Kirk Douglas considers this one of his most important films. Ed Abbey approved of the film and even makes a walk-on appearance.

35 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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