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Junior Bonner (1972)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Western  -  2 August 1972 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 3,368 users  
Reviews: 50 user | 25 critic

Ace Bonner returns to Arizona several years after he abandoned his family, Junior Bonner is a wild young man. Against the typical rodeo championship, family drama erupts.

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Title: Junior Bonner (1972)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ace Bonner
...
Elvira Bonner
...
Buck Roan
...
Curly Bonner
...
Charmagne
Mary Murphy ...
Ruth Bonner
Bill McKinney ...
Red Terwiliger (as William McKinney)
...
Del
Sandra Deel ...
Nurse Arlis
...
Homer Rutledge (as Donald Barry)
Charles H. Gray ...
Burt (as Charles Gray)
Matthew Peckinpah ...
Tim Bonner
Sundown Spencer ...
Nick Bonner
Rita Garrison ...
Flashie
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Storyline

A week with Junior Bonner, a rodeo pro on the wrong side of 40, broke, bruised, and headed into Prescott, his home town, for the annual 4th of July Frontier Days. His dad, Ace, is a dissolute dreamer fixed on finding gold in Australia; his mom is resigned to Ace's roving; his brother Curly is tearing up the countryside to make a million in real estate. Junior just wants to stay on a bucking Brahma for eight seconds, hang out with Ace, find a way to spend time with a beautiful woman whose eyes catch his, and earn enough to get to next week's rodeo. As the old West and its code give way to progress, Junior is lonesome, laconic, and on the road - just where he wants to be. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rodeo | arizona | jeep | truck | womanizer | See more »

Taglines:

"Tell 'em Junior sent you" See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 August 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Junior Bonner  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ida Lupino hired Sam Peckinpah to work on her series Mr. Adams and Eve (1957) after she found him living in a shack behind her property. He paid her back by casting her in this film some years later. See more »

Goofs

The wet spot on junior's mom's shirt after she comes into the house from the garden. See more »

Quotes

Junior 'JR' Bonner: That was a nice float you had, Curley.
Curly Bonner: [proudly] Finished second in the commercial division.
Junior 'JR' Bonner: Well, second's better than third.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Death Proof (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Bound to Be Back Again
Words and Music by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter
Sung by Alex Taylor
Courtesy of Capricorn Records
See more »

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User Reviews

This film hits close to home
26 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of my favorite films from one of my favorite directors, and starring one of my favorite actors. I saw a lot of parallels to my own life in this film and the road I have chosen for my own life. The simple fact that JR Bonner lives for "the ride" is really what this film is all about. He continues to ride even though he's past his prime, and still acknowledges his father amidst the division he finds upon his return home. His disenchantment with changing times is very evident here, as this part is pure Peckinpah, who lived and thrived in the western genre for most of his filmography. This theme of what the west has become and what it is becoming has been a theme of inspiration for Sam Peckinpah's films throughout his barely twenty year career as a director. The Father/Son relationship between Junior and Ace strikes a chord with me, especially during the cow milking scene when the Bonners lose, and Ace says "We could've won it", and Junior says "We did Ace". It is profound, and gets me to thinking of my own Father, whose Footsteps I walk in and took after even in my Mother's disapproval.

Junior's sole mission in this film is simply to ride "Sunshine", the bull no man ever rode, and his failure to do so continually haunts him, even as he rides the bull and finally succeeds by staying on the bull for the 8 seconds required. His family situation is a backdrop of events leading up to this triumphant moment that motivates him to continue down the road, and follow his own destiny.

The scene between Steve McQueen and Joe Don Baker where Curly (Baker's character) slugs Junior onto the floor of the Palace Bar is a key moment as well. The two are feuding brothers, one becomes a businessman, and destroys the Matriarch of the family's house (Ace Bonner, played wonderfully by Robert Preston). The other (McQueen) follows the path of the Father, not really being around or being there for his family, but wants to. When Curly invites Junior into the real estate business, and Junior refuses lets you know that Junior is his own man. Curly lashes back by saying "I'm working on my first million, and you're still working on 8 seconds". That lets you know who Junior Bonner is, and who he has chosen to be.

Junior has a love for his Father the rest of the family can't understand, he even gives up over half his winnings for riding Sunshine to buy his Dad a plane ticket to Australia to start a sheep farm. This film has a lot of themes in it; changing times, division of family, and dedication to something when you are no longer on top. It is a true interpretation of the life of the rodeo cowboy. It's a shame this film did not do well when it was first released, I guess it was ahead of its time like Sam Peckinpah. I totally recommend this film because it, like The Ballad of Cable Hogue was unexpected and unpredictable, like its maverick director.


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