Brannigan (1975)

PG  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  26 March 1975 (USA)
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Reviews: 58 user | 30 critic

Chicago police lieutenant Jim Brannigan is sent to the UK to escort organized crime boss Ben Larkin back to the USA but Larkin's hit-men prepare an ambush for Brannigan.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cmdr. Swann
Daniel Pilon ...
John Stride ...
Insp. Traven
James Booth ...
Arthur Batanides ...
Capt. Moretti
Luana (as Lesley Anne Down)
Pauline Delaney ...
Mrs Cooper (as Pauline Delany)
Del Henney ...


Jim Brannigan is sent to London to bring back an American mobster who is being held for extradition but when he arrives he has been kidnapped which was set up by his lawyer. Brannigan in his American Irish way brings American law to the people of Scotland Yard in order to recapture this mobster with both A price tag on his head and a stuffy old London cop to contend with. Written by Christopher D. Ryan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Detective-Lieutenant Brannigan is in London...God save the Queen! See more »


Action | Comedy | Crime


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

26 March 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Joe Battle  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film would be the second, and final, time that John Wayne would play a cop. The other time being in McQ (1974). See more »


All the Ford cars used have either SPU or NHK registration numbers. Clearly they've all been registered together and supplied to the film company as a batch from Ford. See more »


Brannigan: Kinda strange, having a couple of cops advise you on what's in your client's best interest.
Mel Fields: Knock it off, Brannigan. If Larkin's friends in Chicago find out I'm in bed with the Yard, they'll part my hair with a blowtorch!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Several of the actors who played minor parts are listed by actor's name in the opening titles but are not listed by actor's name and character's name in the closing credits. See more »


Referenced in Hot Fuzz (2007) See more »


Let the Sunshine In
Music by Galt MacDermot
Lyrics by Gerome Ragni & James Rado
See more »

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User Reviews

Fine late-career vehicle for an aging acting legend
15 February 2003 | by (San Marcos, CA) – See all my reviews

A year after looking silly starring in the Dirty Harry clone "McQ," John Wayne gave the modern-day cop thriller another try to much better effect in "Brannigan," a fine vehicle for the aging legend.

Wayne plays Lt. James Brannigan, a Chicago police detective hot on the trail of mobster Ben Larkin. When Larkin is located in London, England, Wayne is dispatched to pick him up and extradite him home to face criminal charges (extortion, prostitution, bribery, murder). Upon arrival in London, he meets his pretty young escort Jenny (she's on loan from vice squad.), who takes him to meet Scotland Yard chief Sir Charles Swann ("Gandhi" director Richard Attenborough, in a terrific performance). In the meantime, Larkin, who is under surveillance, is kidnapped, thwarting Brannigan's plans for a quick extradition and embarassing Swann, who has just berated Brannigan for losing Larkin in the first place and assuring him: "It can't happen here." To Swann's obvious displeasure, Brannigan decides to stick around and help Scotland Yard find Larkin, even though he and Swann have a prickly relationship at best and disapprove of each other's police methods--i.e. Brannigan is a conservative who carries a gun and believes in the use of force and Swann a liberal who doesn't believe in either. Brannigan also spends a great deal of the film dodging a hit man whom Larkin hired prior to his kidnapping.

What follows is an amusing, and low-key, caper that is culminated by a well-choreographed chase through the streets of London, a hilarious bar brawl, and several attacks by the hit man, including one in which Jenny is almost killed. Wayne is in fine form here, well-served by the change of locales and by his character who, unlike McQ, is closer to his own age and not as much of a Dirty Harry-clone. The film is also marked by a much lighter tone than his previous outing, and unlike his uncomfortable pairing with "McQ"'s Eddie Albert, he and Attenborough make a memorable team and have several terrific scenes together. A warning, however--compaired with today's myriad of over-the-top action films like "XXX" and every "Lethal Weapon" wannabe of the past fifteen years, "Brannigan" is pretty subdued and the action scenes will seem tame to today's thrill-seeking action audience. Unlike today's action dreck, the name-of-the-game in "Brannigan" is characterization and plot, as it was with most genre films of the '70's.

Also unlike today's action films, "Brannigan" has a memorable supporting cast, all of whom play characters who actually resemble real people. As I said earlier, Attenborough is terrific as Wayne's sparring partner, and Judy Geeson is a worthy partner for Wayne, although as was also standard for the era, she's mostly around to scream "Jim!" every time Brannigan is in danger and to be protected by her new friend. John Vernon (the dean in "Animal House") is a fine villain as Larkin, and Mel Ferrer scores points as Larkin's sleazy (and crooked) lawyer, who obviously knows more than he lets on. Daniel Pilon adds menace as the mostly silent hit man Gorman. And look fast for Lesley-Anne Down as a hoodlum's girlfriend.

John Wayne only made two more films after "Brannigan"--"Rooster Cogburn" and "The Shootist." And while "Brannigan" will probably be regarded as one of the lesser efforts of his legendary career, it was, and remains, an amusing and entertaining two hours, and a rare chance to see Wayne in a contemporary setting. It's a worthy effort. *** (out of *****)

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