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:
11 August 1971 (USA) 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:
Who said westerns have to be loud and brash cowboys vs indians horse operas? See more (45 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
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?

After the success of Easy Rider (1969), Universal Pictures hit upon the idea of letting young filmmakers make "semi-independent" films for low budgets in hopes of generating similar profits. The idea was to make five movies for low budgets ($1 million or less), not interfere in the filmmaking process and give the directors final cut. The other movies were: The Last Movie (1971), Taking Off (1971), Silent Running (1972), American Graffiti (1973).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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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Who said westerns have to be loud and brash cowboys vs indians horse operas?, 27 September 2008
Author: chaos-rampant from Greece

I'm surprised at the maturity Peter Fonda the director displays with THE HIRED HAND. It'll be a fruitless search to attempt to find a western resonating with the ambiance and themes of THH in its time. It would take quite a few years for the American western to embrace this new take on the mythos of the old west - far removed from the works of John Ford, Anthony Mann or Howard Hawks.

THH relates a small but intimate drama about three men travelling west for California - the gold, the ocean, the cold beer, it's a promised land of sorts for drifters like them. After a deadly incident in a small, rundown village where they bury the younger companion, the other two, Harry (Peter Fonda) and Artch (Warren Oates) decide to turn back and instead of California return to Harry's wife - whom he abandoned six years ago to become a drifter.

Upon their return Harris finds a frigid and distant wife, reluctant to have him back. She satisfied her natural sexual frustration over the years by sleeping with the men she hired - and that's exactly how she takes Harry back, a hired hand to do work around the house, until he can earn his way back as her husband.

This little vucolic drama unfolds in some neck of the woods, unpretentious and stripped of all fat, laconic as much as it is melancholic. A simple story superbly told, with small nuances and glances and full images that stand in for a barrage of dialogue and the actors hitting all the right notes, underplaying it enough to suck you in the heart of it all.

It is only natural then that Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography matches the tone of the script. Beautiful exterior shots turn the landscape, in turns rugged and comforting, into another character. The only misstep, in my opinion, in the visual aspect of THH is the overuse of montages - Fonda superimposes image upon image as a transitory device which doesn't always work that well. I prefer full, clean images as far as that goes.

I can't find any major faults with THH - apart from that it's not what many western fans might be looking for which is of course not an inherent flaw of the film. The third act builds into a gritty and violent revenge subplot that includes a short but terrific shootout whose outcome is suffused with bitter irony. Apart from that however THH doesn't have anything in the way of action, no wild galloping through the prairie, no robbers holding up banks and no cavalries chasing away injuns.

As much sombre as it is elegiac, heartfelt and poignant, THH might be little seen but remains one of the best westerns of the 70's. Fans of UNFORGIVEN, OPEN RANGE and the recent THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES will find something to appreciate.

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Impressions of The Hired Hand ran222
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