During World War II, an American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain are deserted on a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. There, they must cease their hostility and cooperate if they want to survive, but will they?
A rich Texan, J.W. Grant, selects three men and invites them to his private train to offer them a contract: Rescue his wife who has been kidnapped by a Mexican revolutionary. The leader of the men, Rico, decides they would be a better team if Grant would hire one more man, an explosives expert. Grant quickly agrees and soon the four are off to complete the contract. However, while on the trail, they discover some interesting facts, like has Mrs. Grant 'really' been kidnapped? Written by
The "French 75" mentioned in the dialog refers to the 75mm field gun artillery piece, Model 1897, issued by France to America's National Guard during World War I and also used by the Mexican army. See more »
Dolworth makes reference to the universe being created with a "big bang", but this theory was likely not known in 1916-18, being first noted by Georges Lemaître in 1927. See more »
Exciting Western film with an excellent script, veteran cast and plenty of action.
Although there's plenty of action in this Western, I believe that the action plays second fiddle to the script. Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Wood Strode and Robert Ryan are first rate as the four professionals engaged on a mission which is not all it seems. They are hired by rich mining man J. W. Grant (played by Ralph Bellamy) to bring back his kidnapped wife (played by Claudia Cardinale). She has been captured by Jesus Raza (played by Jack Palance). "Jesus. . .what a name for the bloodiest butcher in Mexico", says one of the characters.
The dialogue between the characters is crisp and often funny. In one situation where Lancaster has been hung upside down in his underwear by Raza's men, Marvin asks him why he keeps losing his pants. Occasionally the dialogue turns serious. Robert Ryan is shivering in the cold desert night and asks who can live in such a "hellhole". Marvin replies that you have to be as tough as steel. "Like you and Dalworth," Ryan replies. "No, men like Raza."
The professionals have a mission, but they respect their adversary. Perhaps they even like him. When they retrieve the wife, Marvin prevents Lancaster from killing Raza. Later, when Lancaster pins Raza down in a narrow canyon they visit about old times.
The movie was filmed in Death Valley and in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The colorful rocks and barren desert scenery are used to good effect in the film.
Although the plot is simple, the professionals' mission is not what it seems. They feel they've been set up at the very beginning when Woody Strode, a master tracker, finds the tracks of 10 horses who have been circling. They have obviously been waiting for them. This is only the beginning of the twists and turns in this movie. The film's imaginative plot is delightfully refreshing.
The professionals have a code. Sure, they can be bought. For $10,000 these men will risk the desert, bullets and other dangers. However, they won't go to any lengths to complete their mission. The code first manifests itself when Marvin prevents Lancaster from killing Raza. Later, Lancaster finds out "how a woman can be worth a hundred thousand dollars."
This film doesn't really have a serious weakness. The mix between action, humor and outstanding scenic backdrops makes this a much better than average Western. "The Professionals" is extremely fun to watch and the movie finishes with one of the best comic lines I've ever heard in movies. You won't forget it.
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