7.7/10
17,360
131 user 80 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... 

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
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
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 a number of suburban Los Angeles residents.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Andie MacDowell, Julianne Moore, Tim Robbins
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
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 | 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
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
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:

Purveyors of Paradise. 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:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The original title of this film was "The Presbyterian Church Wager". It was rejected due to complaints by the church to Warner Bros. See more »

Goofs

At 1:41:38 into the film, when McCabe is hiding in the door of the hardware store, a leg and a foot of a crew-member are visible reflected in the window on the left. After the cutaway it is even clearer when the person moves. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Northern Exposure: Ill Wind (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

The Stranger Song
Written and Performed by Leonard Cohen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Altman Takes on the Wild West
3 April 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Robert Altman puts his unique spin on the Western, and gives us a haunting and mournful film, and one of the best in his canon.

Warren Beatty buries himself underneath a bushy beard and an enormous fur coat to play McCabe, an opportunist who considers himself to have much more business savvy than he actually does. He appears in the ramshackle mining town of Presbyterian Church, somewhere in the wilds of Washington state at the turn of the 20th Century, and builds a whorehouse and saloon. Constance Miller (Julie Christie), also sporting her own mound of unkempt hair, arrives a little later and becomes McCabe's business partner. She knows much more about running a whorehouse at a profit, and it quickly becomes clear that she's the brains behind the operation. These two develop a timid affection for one another that's never overtly expressed, but their relationship doesn't have time to prosper, as a trio of hit men arrive to rub out McCabe after he refuses to sell his holdings to a corporation intent on buying him out.

Not surprisingly, considering the director, "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" is a strange film. There are virtually no scenes given to outright plot exposition or to showy acting. Much of the plot is conveyed through asides, casual glances and subtle nuances. Wilderness life is shown in all its unglamorous detail, and many of the normally familiar actors are unrecognizable behind their bad teeth, greasy hair and dirty faces. The harsh environment is a character itself, and few movies have a more memorable ending, with McCabe engaged in a most unconventional shoot out amid waist-high drifts of snow.

Altman is of course interested in debunking the usual Western myths. There are no heroes to be found here. McCabe is a decent enough guy, but he's a bit of a fool, and when the bad guys come calling, he runs and hides. The American frontier depicted here is not a sacred place waiting for brave and noble men to come and realize their dreams. Instead, it's a brutal and dangerous wasteland, in which only the craftiest can survive. The theme of corporate exploitation that pervades the film still rings resoundingly to a present-day audience.

But for all its harshness, "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" is a beautiful film to look at. Vilmos Zsigmond bathes everything in an ethereal light, and if there are images of icy starkness, there are also reverse images of rich warmth, notably those that take place in the whorehouse itself, which ironically becomes much more of a civilizing agent and cultural epicenter for the small town than the church that figures so prominently in other ways.

One of the best from Altman's golden period as a director, and one of the best films to emerge from any director in the 1970s.

Grade: A


15 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page