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Zandy's Bride (1974)

 -  Western  -  19 May 1974 (USA)
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Zandy Allan purchases a mail-order bride, Hannah Lund. He treats her as a possession, without respect or humanity, until their shared ordeal as they struggle to survive develops in him a ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Zandy Allan
Hannah Lund
Ma Allan
Maria Cordova
Frank Gallo
Pa Allan
Mel Allan
Bob Simpson ...
Bill Pincus
Vivian Gordon ...
Street girl
Fabian Gregory Cordova ...
Indian boy


Zandy Allan purchases a mail-order bride, Hannah Lund. He treats her as a possession, without respect or humanity, until their shared ordeal as they struggle to survive develops in him a growing love. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

19 May 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

For Better, for Worse  »

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Featured in Liv Ullmann scener fra et liv (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Crude rancher Gene Hackman marries a near-stranger in Liv Ullmann
1 October 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I liked "Zandy's Bride". It's neither a great movie nor a flop, in my view. But it's honest, charming in its own way, well-acted, unusual in its story, and beautifully-photographed. At the same time, not too much happens as it's a character-driven story. It doesn't have as much dramatic tension as it might have, but that seems intentional. It's low key for the most part, although there are several remarkable action scenes. Hackman fights a bear. He drives a horse up a steep hill and the horse slides back down. Ullmann has to avoid cattle that are being driven by Hackman.

The movie also recreates or creates a version of settler life that shows a good deal of boorishness, ignorance and crudity. This has appeared in other westerns and is something of a fixture. It's also a view of the basics of marriage. How true to settler's life any of this is I do not know, but it makes for an interesting story.

Hackman is a cattle rancher in Big Sur who doesn't have experience with either women or marriage. He needs a wife to bear him children. There's a local woman who wants him, marvelously played by Susan Tyrrell, but Hackman wants her only for sex, not marriage. He doesn't like her clan. Clannishness is part of his view of life. So Hackman corresponds with Ullmann who lives in Minnesota and she then comes out to be his bride. All he knows is to lay down the law to her and rape her their first night together. She asserts herself in small ways. Their marriage binds them both. Divorce is out of the question. They each want something from this marriage, no matter how rocky it is. Eventually, and predictably, Hackman becomes more civilized. That's really the least obvious part of the story, that and Ullmann's motivations. His progression is not shown through big-scale dramatic action. It's more a question of his need to have sons than almost anything else, although he cannot help but be attracted by Ullmann as a woman and is befuddled by her wants as a female. It's really small things that drive his growing affection and kindness to her and his tolerance. He comes to respect her independence and drives. The movie leans heavily on these small things, shown visually, like when Ullmann stubbornly learns how to ride a horse, when she switches plates at the dinner table and when she places flowers on the table. As she asserts herself, his respect grows.

Although classed as a western because of the time and the ranching element, it's perhaps a kind of romance in a western setting in which the challenges are not the usual ones of land grabs and bad guys. Here the challenge is a lack of civilized culture in the family of which Hackman is a part. He learned to behave as he does from his ignorant father.

This is a subtle and worthwhile movie.

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