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A gambler and a prostitute become business partners in a remote Old West mining town, and their enterprise thrives until a large corporation arrives on the scene.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Antony Holland ...
Hugh Millais ...
Manfred Schulz ...
Kid
Jace Van Der Veen ...
Breed (as Jace Vander Veen)
Jackie Crossland ...
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Storyline

Set in winter in the Old West. Charismatic but dumb John McCabe arrives in a young Pacific Northwest town to set up a whorehouse/tavern. The shrewd Mrs. Miller, a professional madam, arrives soon after construction begins. She offers to use her experience to help McCabe run his business, while sharing in the profits. The whorehouse thrives and McCabe and Mrs. Miller draw closer, despite their conflicting intelligences and philosophies. Soon, however, the mining deposits in the town attract the attention of a major corporation, which wants to buy out McCabe along with the rest. He refuses, and his decision has major repercussions for him, Mrs. Miller, and the town. Written by John J. Magee <magee@helix.mgh.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

24 June 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Presbyterian Church Wager  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross:

SEK 867,412 (Sweden)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It began snowing near the end of shooting, when the church fire and the standoff were the only scenes left. Warren Beatty did not want to start shooting in the snow, as it was in a sense dangerous (expensive) to do so: to preserve continuity, the rest of the film would have to be shot in snow. Robert Altman countered that since those were the only scenes left to film, it was best to start since there was nothing else to do. The "standoff" scene and its concurrent church fire scene, were shot over nine days. The heavy snow, with the exception of a few "fill-in" patches on the ground, was genuine; the crew members built snowmen and had snowball fights between takes. See more »

Goofs

In the saloon, McCabe plays cards and Sheeran lights the lamp while they talk to each other about the bottle of whiskey price. At one point McCabe is shown, from behind, taking the cigar out of his mouth with his left hand and, subsequently, shown from the front, holding the cigar in his mouth with his right hand. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John McCabe: [muttering to himself] I told you... Think I'm stupid?... S'exactly what I said. Six, six of 'em...
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Connections

Featured in Altman (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Sisters of Mercy
Written and Performed by Leonard Cohen
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Unique, perfect and thoroughly enjoyable.
19 January 2000 | by (Mountains, Utah) – See all my reviews

I was led to this movie in 1972 via the Academy nomination of Julie Christie for her remarkable performance and the small trailer used to highlight her. This was enough to get my attention.

Since then I have recommended it to any movie lover- whether a "student of film" or not. I am constantly surprised at the numbers of people who haven't seen this masterpiece. I've lived with it's haunting scenes for a quarter of a century and, as with anything of depth, constantly find new charms in my old love.

From the evocative lyrics of the opening score to it's sudden chilling and deadly encounters, this movie lives in your mind long after the final blizzard cloaks the frame.

If one is a contrarian I would guess the only thing to do after seeing this for perhaps the fiftieth time is to begin looking for that moment where someone, anyone has put a foot wrong in this production. From gaffers to grips, actors to designers, continuity to props it is so pure as to be a documentary in it's granular clarity- there may be a wrong note in there somewhere but until then do yourself a favor and give yourself up to as rich a cinematic experience as you are ever likely to find.

There are few movies I love- I love this movie.


41 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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