7.7/10
17,852
132 user 82 critic

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

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.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Nashville (1975)
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Over the course of a few hectic days, numerous interrelated people prepare for a political convention as secrets and lies are surfaced and revealed.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Keith Carradine, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Detective Philip Marlowe tries to help a friend who is accused of murdering his wife.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Elliott Gould, Nina van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden
3 Women (1977)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Pinky is an awkward adolescent who starts work at a spa in the California desert. She becomes overly attached to fellow spa attendant, Millie when she becomes Millie's room-mate. Millie is ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Janice Rule
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two convicts break out of Mississippi State Penitentiary in 1936 to join a third on a long spree of bank robbing, their special talent and claim to fame. The youngest of the three falls in ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck
Short Cuts (1993)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The day-to-day lives of several suburban Los Angeles residents.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Andie MacDowell, Julianne Moore, Tim Robbins
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An introverted loner living in the bowels of the Astrodome plots to develop - with the aid of a mysterious guardian angel - a pair of wings that will help him fly.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Bud Cort, Shelley Duvall, Sally Kellerman
The Player (1992)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A Hollywood studio executive is being sent death threats by a writer whose script he rejected - but which one?

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A down on his luck gambler links up with free spirit Elliot Gould at first to have some fun on, but then gets into debt when Gould takes an unscheduled trip to Tijuana. As a final act of ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: George Segal, Elliott Gould, Ann Prentiss
MASH (1970)
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt
Biography | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An aging Pat Garrett is hired as a lawman on behalf of a group of wealthy New Mexico cattle barons--his sole purpose being to bring down his old friend Billy the Kid.

Director: Sam Peckinpah
Stars: James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Richard Jaeckel
Edit

Cast

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

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

Taglines:

Name Your Poison. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

24 June 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Presbyterian Church Wager  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.40 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Warren Beatty loved to perform multiple takes of his scenes. Once, when Altman was ready to wrap shooting for the day, Beatty insisted on more takes. Altman left and had his assistant shoot them and Beatty did over thirty takes of the scene. Altman got his revenge by ordering Beatty to do 25 takes of a scene involving Beatty in the snow. 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...
See more »


Soundtracks

Winter Lady
Written and Performed by Leonard Cohen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Cold And Poetic
13 October 2006 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

As a Western this film is fascinating for what it does not contain. There are no sweeping vistas of the Great Plains, no Indians, no cacti, no cowboy hats. There is no sheriff, no broiling sun, and no corny music. And unlike most Westerns, which are plot driven, "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" is less about plot than about the tone or mood of the frontier setting.

The film takes place in the Pacific Northwest. The weather is cold, cloudy, and inclement. You can hear the wind howling through tall evergreens. And Leonard Cohen's soft, poetic music accentuates the appropriately dreary visuals. In bucking cinematic tradition, therefore, this film deserves respect, because it is at least unusual, and perhaps even closer in some ways to the ambiance of life on the American frontier than our stereotyped notions, as depicted in typical John Wayne movies.

Not that the plot is unimportant. Warren Beatty plays John McCabe, a two-bit gambler who imports several prostitutes to a tiny town, in hopes of making money. Julie Christie plays Mrs. Miller, a prostitute with a head for business. She hears about McCabe's scheme, and approaches McCabe with an offer he can't refuse. Soon, the two are in business together, but complications ensue when word gets around that McCabe may be a gunslinger who has killed someone important. Mrs. Miller is clearly a symbol of the women's liberation movement, and the film's ending is interesting, in that context.

"McCabe & Mrs. Miller" is a vintage Altman film, in that you can hear background chatter, in addition to the words of the main character. It's Altman's trademark of overlapping dialogue. The film's acting is fine. Both Beatty and Christie perform credibly in their roles.

The visuals have a turn-of-the-century look, with a soft, brownish hue. Costumes and production design are elaborate, and appear to be authentic. The film is very dark, so dark in some scenes that I could barely make out the outline of human figures. In those scenes, I think they went overboard with the ultra dim lighting.

Strictly atypical for the Western genre, "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" provides a pleasant change from cinematic stereotypes, and conveys a different perspective on life in the Old West. It's a quality production, one that has Robert Altman's directorial stamp all over it. In that sense, it's more like a cinematic painting than a story. And the painting communicates to the viewer that life on the American frontier was, at least in some places, cold and dreary, and had a quietly poetic quality to it.


37 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page