32 user 15 critic

The Reivers (1969)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 25 December 1969 (USA)
In turn-of-the-century Mississippi, an 11-year-old boy comes of age as two mischievous adult friends talk him into sneaking the family car out for a trip to Memphis and a series of adventures.



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Butch Lovemaiden
Uncle Possum
Rupert Crosse ...
Diane Shalet ...
Pat Randall ...
May Ellen
Dr. B.F. Peabody


An old man looks back 60 years to a road trip from rural Mississippi to Memphis, a horse race, and his own coming of age. Lucius's grandfather gets the first automobile in the area, a bright yellow Winton Flyer. While he's away, the plantation handyman, Boon Hogganbeck, conspires to borrow the car, taking Lucius with him. Stowed away is Ned, a mulatto and Lucius's putative cousin. The three head for Memphis, where Boon's sweetheart works in a whorehouse, where Ned trades the car for a racehorse, and where Lucius discovers the world of adults - from racism and vice to possibilities for honor and courage. Is there redemption for reivers, rascals, and rapscallions? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Boon is a reiver (that's a cheat, a liar, a brawler and womaniser) and he had just four days to teach young Lucius the facts of life (like cheating, lying, brawling and womanizing).


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief nudity, language and thematic elements | See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 December 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Boon il saccheggiatore  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording) (5.0) (L-R)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Steve McQueen brought along with him, on locations, martial artist Bruce Lee. See more »


When Boon is teaching Lucius to drive, Lucius's hat disappears and reappears although clearly it did not fall off and he never took his hands off the wheel to replace it. See more »


Narrator: And so we were three, three reivers high-tailing it for Memphis. Oh, "reivers". That's an old-fashioned word from my childhood. In plain English, I'm afraid it meant "thieves".
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Crazy Credits

and introducing Mitch Vogel as Lucius See more »


Featured in Steve McQueen: The King of Cool (1998) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A movie with special charm
16 June 2002 | by See all my reviews

For a movie that starred one of the greatest box office stars of his time, based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by one America's greatest writers, "The Reivers" has continued to be something of an answer to a trivia question ("In what movie did Steve McQueen portray a semi-comic character involving a stolen automobile and a horse race?") I'm not sure of the reasons myself, but this movie has remained at the top of my "Favorite Movies" list since I first saw it in 1969. Maybe it was the out-of-character role of McQueen. Maybe it was the excellence of his supporting cast that includes Mitch Vogel, Rupert Crosse and Will Geer. Maybe it was the direction by Mark Rydell. Or maybe it was the outstanding score by John Williams (which has remained my favorite movie score of all time). Most likely, it is a combination of all the above. All I can say is that this movie has never lost its appeal for me. Watching the movie is like visiting an old friend with whom the passage of time will only strengthen the bonds of affection. This movie may not be for everybody, but I recommend it on the chance that you may be smitten by its special charm.

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