In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the US, a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries and scouts.
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
First western to feature nudity although it is a long-range view and tame by later standards. See more »
When the team makes it back to the train after capturing Mrs. Grant Claudia Cardinale and the ambush is waiting for them, Ehrengard Robert Ryan is initially shown from inside the train car sitting facing sideways to the open door of the train car, then from outside he is shown with his back to the door of the train, then back to inside and he is sideways again. See more »
What's that supposed to mean?
Rico, buddy. This will come as a shock to both of us. I'm a born sucker for love.
That bullet must've knocked some of your brains out.
Or let some in.
Well what happened back there? What changed your mind?
I found out what makes a woman worth a hundred thousand dollars.
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I just recently revisited this great Western classic and rediscovered why I think this is the best of its genre. The setting, the plot/subplots, the casting, the writing are in a class unto themselves. First of all, what else can you say about the match-up of Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster? Two phenomenal actors with a great screenplay and story line to propel their already lofty skills to an even higher level. The supporting cast of Jack Palance, Claudia C., Woody Strode, Robert Ryan, etc. contributes to the overall storyline by portraying their individual roles, each entirely different, with skill, depth and emotion.
What starts out as a fairly self-explanatory rescue and retrieve mission ends up getting increasingly complicated. As Burt Lancaster's character noted, "there's something a little dicey about this arrangement"! As the melodrama ensues, the inevitable capture and retrieval occurs and the tension mounts as the chase begins.
When the retrieval part of the mission nears its ending, the pace slows down to where the principal combatants, Jack Palance and Burt Lancaster, render their philosophical reasons for their respective actions. Palance, the Mexican revolutionary, tells of the revolution being like the goddess at the inception and like a whore as time wears on, where lust slowly overshadows love and passion surmounts compassion. But this time, he says, "I'm on this mission for love". Burt's reply of "I'm in it for the money, what else?", has the typical mercenary ring to it, but you get the feeling it may not portray his true feelings. This depiction of revolution(s), at a time (late 60's) when revolutionary zeal was the current political motif, sheds a remarkably lucid view: what does it all mean in the end?
But true to the Code of the Professional, Burt, Lee M. et al, must fulfill their obligations to the letter of the contract. And when you see the film in its entirety, you will see how they achieve that obligation and may be surprised at the final fulfillment!
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