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The Missouri Breaks (1976)

PG  |   |  Drama, Western  |  19 May 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 6,739 users  
Reviews: 64 user | 38 critic

Tom Logan is a horse thief. Rancher David Braxton has horses, and a daughter, worth stealing. But Braxton has just hired Lee Clayton, an infamous "regulator", to hunt down the horse thieves; one at a time.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathleen Lloyd ...
John McLiam ...
Si (as John Ryan)
Sam Gilman ...
Pete Marker
James Greene ...
Hellsgate Rancher
Rancher's Wife
Danny Goldman ...
Baggage Clerk
Hunter von Leer ...
Sandy (as Hunter Von Leer)


Tom Logan is a horse thief. Rancher David Braxton has horses, and a daughter, worth stealing. But Braxton has just hired Lee Clayton, an infamous "regulator", to hunt down the horse thieves; one at a time.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


One Steals, One Kills, One Dies


Drama | Western


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 May 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Missouri  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Marlon Brando's performance was mostly improvised. Arthur Penn eventually gave up on him and decided to just let him act whatever way he wanted. See more »


When Marlon Brando and Randy Quaid are crossing the Missouri River, there, far in the distance, cars driving on an interstate can be seen. See more »


Tom Logan: The first time I met Sandy, he was rustling on his own. He had a stolen cavalry pony and he kept this dog. As soon as he would kill a steer, why he'd cut the brand off and feed it to the dog. So before they could get enough evidence to convict him, they'd have to lock that dog up and pick through his shit for a week before they could find the brand.
See more »


Referenced in Ancient Evil 2: Guardian of the Underworld (2005) See more »


Oh! Susanna
Written by Stephen Foster
Performed by Cast
See more »

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User Reviews

Much better than most would have you believe
19 July 2003 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

This film has suffered some pretty undue criticism. It gets the dreaded `BOMB' rating in Leonard Maltin's guide, followed by `The worst film of a great director.' I haven't seen more than a couple of Penn's other films, so I can't comment on that, but it is hardly a bomb. Sure, it is a little slow moving, and it doesn't quite feel like the themes of the film were totally panned out, but most of the film is very good. I'm assuming Brando's the problem with most of the film's detractors. Wow, is his performance weird here. If you ever wanted to find the missing link between The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, here it is. He plays a bounty hunter of sorts hired to discover some horse thieves and murderers. This character is very eccentric, and I'm guessing that Brando had a lot of artistic input on this one based on his later career. He's basically a psycho killer, and he seems much more lawless than the criminals he's seeking. He also speaks with an Irish brogue, some of the time. Personally, the waxing and waning accent is my only real problem with the role, and I'm not a big accent baby anyway. It's a tiny flaw in what is otherwise a very interesting performance. Brando creates a very memorable character. Jack Nicholson plays his rival. He's almost ready to go straight, having found a nice, small ranch and a girlfriend (Kathleen Lloyd). His performance is subdued, and I really think Nicholson is best when he's like that. This isn't his greatest performance, but it is subtle and it's very good. The flaws of the film are offset by the number of great scenes in it. Almost every single actor gets one scene alone with Brando, and both Randy Quaid and Harry Dean Stanton deliver excellent performances especially in those scenes. Nicholson's two best scenes are also alone with Brando. I would guess than he had something to do with their co-star; I do think Brando deserves some credit for the excellence of these scenes. Penn's direction is nothing to write home about. I love the two other films I've seen by him, Mickey One and Bonnie and Clyde, but, let's face it, he was more or less ripping off the Italian and French cinemas of the time, respectively. Missouri Breaks is much more straighforward in that respect, and perhaps it is here that it could have used a boost of energy. 8/10.

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