Bite the Bullet (1975)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Western  |  1 May 1975 (Australia)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 3,629 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 26 critic

A group of ex-rough riders, an ex-prostitute and a gunfighter enter a horse race in the desert.



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Willes ...
Mario Arteaga ...
John McLiam ...
Robert F. Hoy ...
Lee Christie (as Robert Hoy)
Jerry Gatlin ...
Steve (as Walter Scott Jr.)


At the beginning of the 20th century, a newspaper organizes an endurance horse race : 700 miles to run in a few days. 9 adventurers are competing, among them a woman, Miss Jones, a Mexican, an Englishman, a young cow-boy, an old one and two friends, Sam Clayton and Luke Matthews. All those individualists will learn to respect each other. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the tradition of Shane and High Noon, a new Western Classic is born! BITE THE BULLET See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1 May 1975 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Muerde la bala  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(Metrocolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While on location in New Mexico in 1974 Paul Stewart suffered a heart attack. See more »


Rosie casually drops the term "Mickey Finn" to refer to a near-toxic combination of whiskey and sleeping medicine. According to the Wikipedia page for this term, Mr. Finn did indeed commit his drug-and-rob crimes about three years prior to the action in this film but also indicates that while the crime was mentioned in Chicago newspapers the term itself wasn't in popular usage as a stand-alone noun until several years later. See more »


[first lines]
Gebhardt: I heard your newspaper is running an honest race.
Reporter: You heard right, Mr. Gebhardt.
Gebhardt: Who the hell handicapped this owlhead as the favorite?
J.B. Parker: The smart money!
Gebhardt: That's what we come to get.
See more »


Featured in Behind the Action: Stuntmen in the Movies (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Endurance And Character
24 September 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Bite The Bullet, a most unusual western from the pen and the direction of Richard Brooks. It concerns a rather strange camaraderie that develops between the seven participants in a horse race out west.

This is not a race for speed, this is a test of endurance for seven miles through the desert in the American southwest. The seven participants are Gene Hackman, James Coburn, Ben Johnson, Candice Bergen, Jan-Michael Vincent, Ian Bannen, and Mario Artaega.

All these people have their own reasons for wanting the $2000.00 prize offered by the newspaper sponsoring the event. Hackman and Coburn are old friends already and Coburn's hoping Hackman will throw the race his way because he's up over his head in bets he can't pay off should he lose. Ben Johnson's an old timer just wanting to be remembered for doing something important in his life. Ian Bannen is an English Lord who thinks it's all jolly good sport. Candice Bergen is both striking a blow for women and sending money to her jailed husband. She works for madam Jean Willes when not racing. Jan-Michael Vincent is a punk kid with something to prove and Mario Artaega is just a poor guy looking for a stake to feed his family.

It's about the animals as well, this is not the Kentucky Derby for a mile and a quarter. The horses have to be looked after if they make it through a rough 700 miles. They kind of bind the characters together in a strange way.

Bite The Bullet is not long on plot, but very deep in characterization and it works here just like it works in the Sam Peckinpah classic, Junior Bonner. Even those that don't endure develop wellsprings of character they never thought they had. It's a good film and the ending shows something about character and friendship.

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

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