IMDb > The Hired Hand (1971)
The Hired Hand
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The Hired Hand (1971) More at IMDbPro »

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The Hired Hand -- Open-ended Trailer from Universal Pictures


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Release Date:
27 September 1971 (Sweden) See more »
Peter Fonda is riding again... To the woman he lost ... for the revenge he craves!
Harry returns home to his wife and farm after drifting with his friend Arch and has to make a difficult decision regarding his loyalties. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 wins See more »
User Reviews:
Fonda's overlooked masterpiece See more (50 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Peter Fonda ... Harry Collings

Warren Oates ... Arch Harris

Verna Bloom ... Hannah Collings
Robert Pratt ... Dan Griffen
Severn Darden ... McVey
Rita Rogers ... Mexican Woman

Ann Doran ... Mrs. Sorenson
Ted Markland ... Luke
Owen Orr ... Mace
Al Hopson ... Bartender
Megan Denver ... Janey Collings
Michael McClure ... Plummer
Gray Johnson ... Will
Len Marsal (as Len Marcel)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Larry Hagman ... Sheriff (uncredited)

Directed by
Peter Fonda 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Alan Sharp 

Produced by
William Hayward .... producer
Stanley A. Weiss .... executive producer
Original Music by
Bruce Langhorne 
Cinematography by
Vilmos Zsigmond 
Film Editing by
Frank Mazzola 
Production Design by
Lawrence G. Paull 
Art Direction by
Lawrence G. Paull 
Set Decoration by
Robert De Vestel 
Costume Design by
Richard Bruno 
Makeup Department
Frank Griffin .... makeup artist
Production Management
Jack Bohrer .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Hawk Koch .... assistant director (as Howard W. Koch Jr.)
John M. Poer .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Mazzola Anthony .... property master (uncredited)
Sound Department
Richard Portman .... sound re-recordist
Le Roy Robbins .... sound
James Contrares .... sound (uncredited)
James Nelson .... supervising sound editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Roger George .... special effects
Visual Effects by
Bob O'Neil .... optical lineup (uncredited)
Brad Reinke .... digital restoration producer (restored version) (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Richmond L. Aguilar .... gaffer
Gary Vidor .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Ronald Vidor .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Sven Walnum .... camera operator (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Natasha Nicholson .... wardrobe consultant
Other crew
Mary Bartelt .... assistant to producer
Marshall Schlom .... script supervisor
Kathy Speer .... assistant to producer
Tim Merrill .... special thanks: restored version
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for western violence and some sexual content (2003 re-rating)
90 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:M | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:12 | Sweden:15 | UK:AA (original rating) | UK:12 (re-rating) (2001) | UK:15 (video rating) (1986) | USA:R (2003 re-rating) | USA:GP (original rating) | West Germany:16 (f)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.See more »
Arch Harris:[to an insistently insinuating stranger in a bar] You can always tell a man who's got something on his mind. He keeps talkin' to people he don't know. Now what is it you're tryin' to tell me?See more »
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34 out of 36 people found the following review useful.
Fonda's overlooked masterpiece, 3 December 2000
Author: Derek-31 from Salzburg, Austria

This is not only an overlooked western, but a sorely overlooked piece of filmmaking, beautifully shot by Vilmos Zsigmond (who uses some of the slowest dissolves anywhere in cinema) and directed by Peter Fonda, who seemed bent on capturing an authentic period flavor often missing from westerns of that time. His eye for detail, and his refusal to insert too much of it, is impressive for a young director. That is, the visual authenticity, like the acting performances and dialogue, work by way of understatement. This is a very understated film, at a time when few coming from the American market were.

Ultimately, it is a sort of 'buddy' film about the deep friendship between two characters played by Fonda and Warren Oates. It also has in common with EASY RIDER the tragic, "backward" movement from West to East, which goes against the "natural" flow of American history and literature, and which ends in death here as in the earlier film, when the "hired hand" of the title takes on a sadly ironic new meaning.

Fonda directs his actors in an understated, low-key, highly naturalistic style; Warren Oates was never warmer or more at ease seeming on camera. It is good to see him relaxed and even jovial. His character is genuinely disturbed when forced to shoot in self defense a menacing drunk taking shots at him. Larry Hagman even gives a good performance here in an uncredited role as a town sheriff, caught in an awkward spot when peace in the community demands he ask Oates to leave his jurisdiction. The off-beat comedian and actor Severn Darden (memorable from THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST, 1966) appears here in an uncharacteristic role as a malignant villain. Bruce Langhorne's music is among the most haunting anywhere in film. It will stay with you.

This film is a work of true film ART, where most westerns of its day (e.g. John Wayne's) were little more than loud, mass-market entertainments. The understated THE HIRED HAND will probably not satisfy western fans looking for action and violence in the Wayne or Eastwood mold. It is closer in feel to, say, Jan Troell's ZANDY'S BRIDE, made in the mid-70s, or HEARTLAND, the highly realistic drama of frontier struggle that closed the 70s. Yet even those who favor Peckinpah's THE WILD BUNCH (1969) should appreciate the literate script of THE HIRED HAND, written by Alan Sharp, whose credits include Arthur Penn's NIGHT MOVES (1975), and the equally overlooked Robert Aldrich western, ULZANA'S RAID (1972), which presents even more intense moral complexities.

THE HIRED HAND is, alas, now difficult to see. But make the effort, and you will be greatly rewarded.

-- Derek Bousé

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