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The True Story is Fascinating; The Movie is OK
I have always been intrigued by this film, mostly because of the fantasy it suggests, and even obtained a VHS copy to look it over more closely. Using the leads posted by other readers, I have been able to glean the following facts from various Internet and library resources concerning the strange tale of The Mad Trapper of Rat River, played in Death Hunt by Charles Bronson;

a] A man referring to himself as Albert Johnson [identified post mortem by associates as Albert Nelson, although that was also an assumed name] arrived in the Aklavik area and brought attention onto himself from a large purchase of ammunition, a new shotgun, and an inexplicable refusal to get himself a trapper's license. Johnson ran afoul of a Constable Edgar Millen [Lee Marvin's character] during the New Years season of 1931-32 after his apparent meddlings with the traps of some of the local types, who suggested that he had gone bonkers in the isolation of the mountains.

b] Two posses did in fact make seperate trips to Johnson's handmade cabin [measuring 8 feet by 8 feet] and one of the Mounties did in fact have a brief encounter with Johnson through an open window; The first time he simply wouldn't answer their knocks, and the second time he shot a Mountie through his closed door with a .38 automatic. A third posse, with Const. Millens, then made the 80 mile dogsled trip and blew up Johnson's cabin after he again refused to acknowledge them.

c] After they blew up his cabin, Johnson did indeed jump up out of a foxhole he had been hiding in, firing a sawed off shotgun and a .22 repeater with the stock removed. The Mounties retreated, and Johnson slipped away in the darkness.

d] A resulting "death hunt" did indeed ensue, set entirely above the arctic circle, and by the first-time ever use of wireless radios by law enforcement, kept the public of Canada and America riveted with their newspaper and wire reports of the two week long manhunt that was the O.J. Simpson crime case of it's day.

Johnson proved a remarkable adversary, using every trick in the book to confound his pursuers, and managed to survive the nightly -40 tempetures with little or no supplies or survival gear. They did manage to corner him on one occasion; there was a gunfight, Constable Millens was killed, and Johnson escaped by climbing a sheer cliff with his bare hands in the dead of night during a blizzard.

e] A bush pilot and former WW1 air ace became involved in the pursuit, not only by resupplying the posse and flying out wounded men, but played an invaluable role in tracking Johnson after he had made his initial escape, using another wireless radio to vector in the ground pursuit in another law enforcement first. He damn near well almost escaped too, though he was finally cut down in a hail of lead after keeping the authorities at bay for 48 days.

f] The whole case was dubbed "The Mad Trapper of Rat River" incident by the press owing to the locals' contention that Johnson had gone cabin happy. He was found to be carrying a $2400 bankroll when searched, and I have found two references to "gold teeth" or gold fillings; The natives of the area had a fable about "The Trapper who steals the gold from men's teeth" that may have been attributed to Johnson after he was found to have some gold dental work in his posession.

Whether they were his or someone else's is unknown, but their presence plus all that cash led to a rumor that he got rich by prying folks' gold fillings out. This has never been substantiated, and the "Mad Trapper" name was pinned to him before these revelations came to light. To this very day, Johnson's actual identity remains a complete mystery, and his bid for freedom one of the most remarkable examples of man surviving the elements.

NOW, with that in mind, Death Hunt's scriptwriters took a few liberties with the facts to create a more romanticized tale;

  • Bronson's Abert Johnson is now a decoarted war veteran trained in Special Ops, which accounts for his hardiness, comfort with weapons and wealth of survival skills.

- The conflict with the locals is initiated by having Bronson break up a dog fight, making his character sympathetic when compared to the dirt bags who pick a scrap with him afterwards.

  • The dog is then killed to provide Bronson with an understandable motive to blow someone's head off and escalate the confrontation. Poor doggie...

- William Beckamn's character of Old Bill is introduced to provide a way for Bronson's character to survive the film after Lee Marvin manages to blow Bill's face off with a single slug. Nice shootin'.

- Lee Marvin's Sgt. Millens also survives and is credited with the man who killed Albert Johnson. Maybe the producers though this was a way of paying homage to Millen's memory.

- The pilot is turned into a jerk to create a "new world vs. old values" conflict with Marvin, then provided with a machine gun equipped biplane to he can gun down Apollo Creed and reinforce the senselessness of it all. The actual pilot. a Capt. "Wop" May, was widely regarded as a hero for the role he played.

- The film was shot during the spring and summer thaw so that characters could wander around in open jackets and sweaters. Much of the pursuing posse footage looks like it was filmed on a snowed over golf course somewhere; we never get a feel that these men are actually battling against the elements.

- The one scene that Bronson and Marvin share is so strangely shot and edited as to suggest that the two actors were not on the set at the same time. Watch it closely -- you can never see both men's faces in the same shot.

Yet I will always have a soft spot for Death Hunt -- it is probably the first R rated film I ever saw. It would be interesting to see a more historically accurate account of the Mad Trapper comitted to film; think of this as the fanciful and romanticized version.

If you have ever dreamed of taking a pack of supplies, a rifle and a dog up into the mountains and saying To Hell With Civilization, this film was made for you.
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The Mounties get their man...or do they?
Poseidon-316 April 2002
This is an almost forgotten film, a status which is undeserved. Loosely based on a true story, it is the tale of a lone, mysterious trapper who irks some thugs in the Canadian wilderness, leading to a massive manhunt by the Mounties. Bronson (virtually silent throughout and thus quite effective) is a resourceful target, at once gentle and violent. Marvin is the grizzled head of the mounted police who has the task of tracking down and capturing a man with whom he can identify. Their unspoken understanding is fascinating to see. Marvin is aided by a wet-behind-the-ears, by-the-book officer played by Stevens. It would be hard to imagine a more adorable sight than fresh-scrubbed Stevens in his red uniform entering the grungy town where the police are stationed. He is gorgeous.....and quite a fine actor. It is a shame that he wasn't able to get to a better place with his acting career. The film is peppered with a ton of familiar (if dirty) faces from old westerns of TV and film. All of the lynch mob look like people who've been guest villain on "Bonanza" or "The Big Valley". One major drawback is Dickinson. It's hard to believe that someone can be miscast in a role as tiny as this one, but she is. Her anachronistic teased hair drains what little 1930's period flavor there is from the film and she is wooden in all her scenes. Apparently, she was stunt-cast because of her previous work with Marvin, but it failed miserably. There is a bit of a connection to "Dances with Wolves" in this film, Maury Chaykin and Tantoo Cardinal appear in both films and Bronson even develops a similar relationship with a vicious dog as Costner does with his wolf. The film is something like "First Blood" + "The Fugitive" x snow - 40 years. It is a great example of the "Bronson versus the world" type of film and offers a solid Marvin performance as well. There is more going on here than one might think. The final showdown is quite dramatic and suspenseful. The scenery is also great.
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Intriguing true story turned into an OK actioner
Jonathon Dabell18 November 2002
Charles Bronson has less than fifty words of dialogue in this film, since he spends most of it running through the snow on his own pursued by the mounties, but it is still one of his better films from the late seventies and early eighties era.

He plays the real life character Albert Johnson, a fur trapper who killed some people in a dispute over dogs and went on the run in territory which had never been crossed during the ferocious Arctic winter. He successfully got away from them, despite the fact that they had many men, dogs and even an aeroplane to help them to track him down.

This movie version is simple blood and thunder stuff, with a starry cast, some strong language and a handful of sparkling action sequences. It has weak points too, such as the wasted character played by Angie Dickinson, and a few slow patches in terms of pacing. However, when you think that Bronson was mainly working on such dross as The Evil That Men Do, Death Wish II, and Ten to Midnight at this point in his career, this is at least a slightly above-average film worthy of his rugged talents.
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Bronson is the man
dino_25423 August 2004
When you look at a lot of the action movies released today, all you can see are special effects. There is usually nothing else going on. When you look at a film like "Death hunt" it's something totally different. Marvin is great and Bronson is fabulous in this action movie set in North Canada in the early 30's. Besides the movie being decent when it comes to editing, directing etc,the two leading men are perfect in this hostile environment that the story is set in. . A must for every fan of a decent action flick. For Bronson fans it's obligatory!
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Well done action/adventure
funnygy10 February 2006
With a lurid title like "Death Hunt" and lead actors like Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin, it would be easy to dismiss this film as just another shoot-'em-up run through the mill to capitalize on the marquee names (particularly Bronson). To do so, however, would be to overlook a well-made gem of an adventure film.

The problem, of course, with most films of this ilk is that they offer a minimum set-up and characters and then set the guns a-blazin'. Not so here. The premise is established well, with Bronson as the noble loner and Marvin as the gruff, weary Canadian Mountie. The themes and plot devices are familiar, to be sure - the sense of honor, the anti-hero, the wet behind the ears rookie lawman, even a little bit of a love story.

I had seen most of this film on cable and thought I understood it. Recently I rented it so I could finally see the first half hour and my feelings about it changed. Seeing the film from start to finish, I realized I had misjudged the intentions of the Marvin character. I thought the character was just another "honorable to the point of dishonorable" hero, when in fact he's a conflicted man. During the film, you can see that he knows he's as much responsible for what has happened, and he's not so much interested in "doing the right thing" as he is in covering his own rear end.

I was surprised to see in the beginning that the film is set in 1931; it seems much like a Western. But then you realize that this was still a very isolated area and that, unlike the southwest, civilization hadn't quite caught up with this part of the world yet - particularly with lawmen like Marvin on duty.

"Death Hunt" delivers all the goods. There is plenty of action and excitement, yet also a lot of substance as the story unfolds. It's a notch above most films of its kind. I enjoyed it so much that I'm considering adding it to my own DVD library, and I'd also like to learn more about the real story that it is based on.
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Your father said the best part of you ran down your mamas leg.
Spikeopath9 September 2012
Death Hunt is directed by Peter Hunt and written by Michael Grais and Mark Victor. It stars Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Carl Weathers, Ed Lauter, Andrew Stevens, Scott Hyland, Maury Chaykin and Angie Dickinson. Music is by Jerrold Immel and cinematography by James Devis.

Film is loosely based on the real "Mad Trapper" man hunt that occurred in the Yukon Territory, Canada, 1931.

Directed by the man who helmed On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and starring two of the iconic stars of The Dirty Dozen, it's no surprise to find Death Hunt full of machismo. What transpires is a two part movie, where time is afforded the set up for the first half, and the second half features the man hunt across the Yukon landscapes.

Plot basically sees Bronson as nomadic loner Albert Johnson (The Mad Trapper of lore), who rescues a severely injured dog from a dog fight held by baying locals, much to their displeasure. Unwisely tracking Johnson down and taking him on, one of their number is shot and killed. So in come the legal guys, the RCMP, led by grizzled old pro Edgar Millen (Marvin), who desperately tries to keep things in order as the situation quickly spirals out of control. As Johnson takes to the snowy terrain, with Millen and co in pursuit, a respect begins to form between the two wise heads, with Millen very much aware that there will be only one winner in this hunt.

So it goes, framed by lovely location photography, and with Bronson and Marvin doing what they do best, film plays out as a snowy chase and survive adventure. It's very much fictionalised from the real story, but some instances are real, including the incredible journey that Johnson undertook whilst fleeing his pursuers. Violence slots in and out of proceedings, as does moments of humour, and there's a nice grey area in the narrative that questions who you should be rooting for. In fact Marvin's characterisation of Millen is very enjoyable because he is irked by the cretins he finds himself hunting with.

Some of the support players are under written, so therefore underused, while Dickinson pops in only briefly and purely as a bit of sexy relief from the machismo on show. All told it's a safe and enjoyable movie for fans of the stars and fans of outdoor action/adventure/thrillers. Kind of like First Blood meets The Fugitive who then take Seraphim Falls out for a drink. Only, remember, this was before all those and it has Bronson and Marvin in the locker! 7/10
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Terrific neo-western set in Canada
Hugh Brandon7 January 2001
Charles Bronson is an ex-patriot of the United States who travels to the Yukon to escape his past. He gets on the bad side of a group of trappers, kills one of them in self-defense, and is wrongfully accused of murder. Lee Marvin as a veteran Mountie, Carl Weathers, and fresh from training Mountie Andrew Stevens set out to track Bronson down as he tries to escape into Alaska.

The acting in this film is sensational, the settings are true to life, and the story is riveting. A must see!
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Hunting a man in the ultimate unfriendly environment
theowinthrop13 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
From what I understand, although this film has it's story's basis in an actual crime spree and chase in 1930 Canada the details (including the deaths of the two star's historical characters) were changed. Instead, we are treated to a serious discussion on justice and survival in the Arctic circle.

Charles Bronson is the "mad" trapper, Albert Johnson, who (in the film if not in actual history) stops a dog fight and precipitates (by this action) a rising tide of violence that aims at killing him. His actions annoy a bunch of yahoos in the Canadian frontier town who liked dog fights (or other violent or vile types of entertainment) and who are annoyed when Bronson keeps physically trouncing them. What they don't know is that he was in Canadian Special Forces in World War I, and that he has highest level defense and survival skills. In short, not only is he the man you least want to pick a fight with, but he is less likely to be easily catchable if you chase him.

The local Mountie is Sgt. Edgar Millen (Lee Marvin) who appears to be unconventional. He is not seen dressed in traditional Mountie uniform - that's for Nelson Eddy in ROSE MARIE (which is set further south in Canada). A hard and rugged realist, Millen sets his police goals to bringing in his quarry for trial or for explanation of the facts. Bronson has killed a man in the confrontation over the dogfight, and the man's brutal friends (several of whom were beaten by Bronson) are sticking to a story that Bronson was the instigator of the incident. Due to small details Millen realizes that Bronson probably was the innocent party attacked by the yahoos, but he has to bring him in to explain what happened. Unfortunately Bronson does not trust the law - his father was a criminal, and recently died in a prison infirmary.

Millen is accompanied by fellow Mountie Alvin Adams (Andrew Stevens) and "Sundog" Brown (Carl Weathers). Adams has just been assigned to the post, and has strange ideas about proper procedure and behavior for a Mountie (he'd fit in nicely next to Nelson Eddy) that Millen's realism in this environment just does not fit. Brown is a sensible type, and also represents a feature of frontier living that was not as readily available in "civilized" areas to the south: he's an African-Canadian, but Marvin accepts him as a sensible associate on his mission to catch Bronson. Although there are traces of racism in the film's characters, these are relatively understated in the frontier - every man proves his worth there by survival skills, not by the color of his skin.

As the film progresses Bronson manages to outmaneuver all of Millen's attempts to catch him, although in some cases just barely. He also makes mincemeat out of the yahoos out to catch him for revenge or for a $1,000.00 reward posted by two individuals who wouldn't even try to go into the wilderness to catch him on their own. The irony of the title, of course, is that while the yahoos look at the hunt as the "death" hunt to cause Bronson's demise, in the end (as the death toll keeps rising) it is their deaths that make it a death hunt.

Angie Dickinson appears in a couple of scenes as Millen's girlfriend, who wishes she could keep him home safe. I suspect her role was cut in the final film editing to concentrate on the chase sequences. Her scenes with Marvin give him a chance to show a sad adherence to duty that he could not just drop even if he wanted to. What remains helped fill out Millen's character, but I suspect more would have been filled out in other scenes with her.

The actors supporting the lead roles are good, mostly playing knaves or fools of one sort or another. Henry Beckman as an ambiguous fur trapper who may or may not be helping Bronson is quite good, as is Scott Hylands as an arrogant Royal Canadian Air Force pilot who discovers (to his cost) that while he represents a mechanical future - that Millen wisely says he wants no part of - the wilderness is quite unforgiving to mechanical failure.
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A movie about Canada that Canada would never make
Kel30 April 2012
Here is a story set in Canada about Canadians and yet it was made by the US. I have to ponder why Canada didn't jump on doing this story themselves. If one wonders why Canadian movies are so lame (about failure, disease, depression, weird humor) I would say it is because culturally we have an aversion to examining ourselves in a critical fashion whereas other countries do it quite naturally. England has made films about notorious murders, same with Australia, or Germany (Tenderness of the Wolves), and of course, the US. This story would have been perfect material for a domestic movie--but I can find no evidence that Canada ever sought to make this story themselves. I can understand with the stars involved that they dramatized it and changed the facts, but if it were done with no stars, and kept to the historical story, it still would have been fascinating. But the government film funding bodies don't like stories that present Canada in a negative light. At least in the English side-I know Quebec has covered stories on its history in fictional fashion. I remember the furor over a Canadian murder case when a Canadian producer wanted to make a film about it and was harshly condemned, so the US made it-and Canadian crew people vowed not to work on it. This is seriously screwed up thinking. If Canada wants to develop a normal film industry it needs to be less reserved and more self-examining.... On the film itself, I agree with the sentiments that you wouldn't see this film made today-and if you did, it would star model-types. Character actors have really gone extinct. Some of the melodramatic touches in the film worked for me (the dog, the trapper Bill), others fell flat(the inserted love story). Still, Bronson was effective (you could totally believe he was a rugged mountain man) and Marvin had some good lines (I am sure Canadian government culture ministers would have axed his comment calling the trappers "savages" if it was made in country).
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A solid and exciting chase action thriller winner
Woodyanders3 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The Yukon territory in 1931. Rugged, laconic loner trapper Albert Johnson (a splendidly terse and stoic Charles Bronson) saves a badly wounded canine from a brutal dogfight. The guys involved in the dogfight decide to pay Johnson a visit. Johnson shoots and kills one of the men in self-defense. Tough Mountie Sergeant Edgar Millen (a strong, steely turn by Lee Marvin) tries to arrest Johnson, but he gets away and so begins one of the deadliest manhunts in history. Director Peter Hunt relates the gripping story at a steady pace, vividly evokes the Great Depression period setting, stages the action scenes with rip-roaring flair, and frequently punctuates things with startling outbursts of raw, bloody violence. Bronson and Marvin both excel in the leads (their one big confrontation scene is a taut, crackling doozy); they receive fine support from Andrew Stevens as eager, by-the-book, fresh-faced rookie Alvin Adams, Carl Weathers as the jolly Sundog, Ed Lauter as gruff, huffy troublemaker Hazel, Angie Dickinson as the sweet, enticing Vanessa McBride, Henry Beckman as wily veteran tracker Bill Lusk, August Schellenberg as the hot-tempered Deak De Blearque, Maury Chaykin as the scruffy, dim-witted Claurence, Len Lesser as the grizzled Lewis, Scott Hylands as cocky airplane pilot Hank Tucker, and Willam Sanderson as the clumsy Ned Warren (he gets his arm caught in a bear trap). James Devis' slick, expansive cinematography, Jerrold Immel's rousing, majestic score, and the desolate wintry landscape all further enhance the overall sound quality of this cracking good and stirring picture.
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Raw! Raw! Raw!
Sherazade16 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I caught and encore of this film a few weeks ago on the Fox movie channel and just couldn't take my eyes of it when I witnessed an old man (Charles Bronson) minding his own business, living in a cabin when these no good dirt bags just sneak up on him, pretending to be looking for wood, food and shelter. Needless to say, they soon enough show their true colours as well as the rest of their crew, who turn up and begin to make more trouble. They kill the old man's dog and trash his house and needless to say, revenge is in order as the man must now struggle to stay alive as they begin to hunt him down in the hopes of trying him for the murder of some of the dirt bags he had to kill to defend himself. It was a true joy for me to watch him take them all out one by one and to witness what the smarter hunters did at the end in order to save their own lives. I usually don't like these sort of films, because of the violence and language but this one gets and A in my book! A MUST SEE FOR EVERYONE WHO CAN STOMACHE THE RAWNESS!
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Death Hunt Lives
dupont243 December 2005
I am an advocate for Charles Bronson(R.I.P.),that ,this was one of his most PHYSICAL movies,the incredible outdoor trekking during the filming of this movie must have been tough on everybody involved with the filming of this great story in the wilderness,,and keep in mind, he was 64 years old when this movie was filmed,,The best part of this movie is that there was a fluent and exciting scene constantly throughout,and the writers mixed a little comedy along the way to break up the story a bit,,,I personally own some wonderful memorabilia from this movie,,I have the actual Bowie knife carried by Lee Marvin in the movie,,,and I also own the ACTUAL coyote coat that Bronson wears in the movie,,it is unbelievably beautiful,,,,,,When I wear it,,I can feel a true connection with this great under-rated flick,,,,A true classic of our time,,,,,,any fans of Bronson are welcome to connect by email,Charles Bronson will be dearly missed by all of us,,I hope these comments will help keep him in our hearts as one of the GREATEST!,,,thanks for reading,,,DOUG 12/3/05
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Two strong wills meet in the Yukon.
Michael O'Keefe24 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Charles Bronson plays Albert Johnson, who becomes known as the 'crazy trapper'after killing a man in self defense. Not being the social sort, Johnson is a self-reliant trapper and soon finds himself being chased across snow covered Canada by a solemn Mountie, Edger Millen(Lee Marvin). Marvin is aided by George Washington Lincoln Brown(Carl Weathers) and wet-behind-the-ears Mountie Alvin Adams(Andrew Stevens). Adams is perplexed with how Millen doesn't give a damn about regulations as long as the job gets done. A search and kill party is enforced with trappers...tromping through the icy cold Canadian mountains. Millen doesn't want Johnson to reach Alaska and out of his jurisdiction.

My favorite part of the movie is where the mob has trapped and surrounded Johnson hold up in a cabin. Johnson has already spent a small fortune on ammunition; having more than the mounties and trappers, who resort to no avail. Bronson and Marvin are excellent as expected. Rounding out the cast: Angie Dickinson, Ed Lauter and Len Lesser. Dickinson is pretty much wasted...but one damn good looking woman in the big middle of nowhere. Real good story with plenty of fire power.
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Not Sergeant Preston's Yukon
bkoganbing1 April 2007
My first experience with Canadian culture was watching Richard Simmons as Sergeant Preston of the Yukon with his trusty husky King. As a kid at least we Americans were taught that Mounties were straight arrow heroes, a concept that has lasted right down to the television series from the last decade, Due South.

Apparently Andrew Stevens has been brought up that way as he reports for duty to Sergeant Lee Marvin up in the Yukon Territory. Marvin's an old and tired Mountie, but a real professional at his job. Better let these men who live in a forbidding landscape train fighting dogs and bet over them than start killing each other. Because when that happens he has to go to work in earnest.

Because that's what happens over a trivial incident involving a trapper saving the life of a fighting dog that Ed Lauter owns. I'm surprised that Lauter didn't see in Charles Bronson's eyes that this was not a man to trifle with. I guess he figured there was safety in numbers because he goes after him with friends.

It gets to be one bloody bit of business as Mounties, Marvin, Stevens, and Carl Weathers and a host of bounty hunters go after Bronson. Only Marvin understands him, respects Bronson for his skill at being able to live off the land and says quite frankly that if he had been in Bronson's shoes, Marvin would have behaved exactly as he did.

Death Hunt is one fine acting duel between Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson even though they only have one scene together. The cinematography of the forbidding landscape of Alberta, standing in for the more forbidding landscape of the Yukon is beautiful and spectacular. I think Lee Marvin wins the duel, but not by much. His Mountie sergeant is one of his best characters ever brought to the screen.

I liked Andrew Stevens also. That scene where Ed Lauter makes a very direct pass at Stevens is shocking because it comes from nowhere. This is a place where women are scarce, but Stevens isn't about to substitute.

Based on a true incident from the Thirties in Depression Era Canada, Death Hunt bares somewhat of a resemblance to the Kirk Douglas film, Lonely Are the Brave. But this one was done on a much bigger budget. Catch it if all possible when broadcast.
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Clever, well made adventure film with a great cast.
Junkie-63 January 2000
Nicely crafted adventure yarn set in 1931. Anymore info and it would spoil the fun. Lee Marvin plays his role as a run-down lawman in a run-down Yukon trapping town with a tongue in cheek charm that he was known for in his later efforts. Add to this Charles Bronson doing his stoic loner and a great list of character actors (including William Sanderson) coupled with a tightly woven script, beautiful cinematography and some rousing action and you've got a neat little classic. Supposedly based on a true story, but whether it holds to the facts or not, who cares? Is it accurate? Maybe, maybe not. Is it a good movie? You bet! And in the end that is all that matters.
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Run, Bronson, Run.
Golgo-132 September 2005
This Charles Bronson action vehicle isn't his best but it's not too bad either. Loosely based on a true story, Bronson plays a mountain man who, after rescuing an injured dog from a dogfight by buying it, is forced to defend himself from the previous owner and his men. After killing one of 'em, the Mounties (headed by Lee Marvin), and indeed all the men in the area (for reward of course), go on a death hunt for the guy, starting at his cabin and leading all over the snowy, mountainous terrain. Plenty of action ensues, including a great shot of Bronson rapidly firing off his pump shotgun at the guys. If you're a fan of the guy, you'll want to see this one.
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Charles Bronson's Golden Harvest film.
Joseph P. Ulibas7 February 2005
Death Hunt (1981) was a strange animal. It was one of the few films that were produced by Raymond Chow and his company Golden Harvest. The movie is loosely based upon an actual incident that happened in Canada. The film is basically a showcase of Charlie Bronson's "wide" range of acting abilities. A trapper has a spat with some locals. When push comes to shove Charlie decides to take matters into his own hands and he has to deal with not only the locals but the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Can Charlie survive the locals, The R.C.M.P. and the elements?

This movie is not a classic but it's a nice little action movie. The violence will satisfy action fans and the photography is excellent. Charlie gives his character some humanity and depth to what would ordinarily be considered a "wild mountain man" he also gets to say some cool lines and blasts away at some local ruffians. Lee Marvin co-stars as the Head Mountie and Carl Weathers and Andrew Stevens co-star as well as his fellow mounties. Angie Dickenson guest stars as well.

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Enticing hunt, yet not that deadly
vostf7 December 2008
The production team had a very powerful true story to build upon, but they just tacked Bronson and Marvin in a loose adaptation and felt content with it. In the end, the biggest flaw of all is there's hardly a Death Hunt taking place. The whole picture fumbles with geographical continuity so much that suspense is never gaining momentum. Aerial shots of abrupt snowy slopes contrast with the ground shots where actors happen to run on a mostly flat soil, with little snow most of the time.

Thus the chase looks more like a veteran's trekking in the mountains. Peter Hunt was supposed to be an innovative editor, but he constantly failed to prove he could edit pictures in his head to achieve remarkable results as a director. All the chase sequences feel disjointed, shot at various locations. Bronson is in sight, then he escapes, and then again he seems cornered by the Mountie posse soon joined by the improvised bounty hunters coming out of the wild, simply catching up with the unrelenting chase (ok Bronson is supposed to zigzag and the plane helps to locate him very closely, but little is done to make this a consistent narrative feature).

Eventually it's a poor rendition of a fantastic true story only because the guys involved took the pedestrian path to a Death Hunt in the Arctic wilderness. The R-rated bullet impacts or the wasteful Angie Dickinson cameo are further evidence of a cheap-shots-oriented production.
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One of the best Bronson films, lee marvin ain't bad either!
specwargru17 September 2002
Ok, this movie is a classic adventure. It has great scenes in breathtaking wilderness settings. Johnson(Charles Bronson) is faced with surrendering to corruption and lies or fighting for his freedom, what would you do? Of course he fights for his freedom and does a damn good job of it. It is hard to say what my favorite scene is. I think the scene towards the end when everyone is on Johnsons heels and he jumps from the cliff to the tree. then bounces from limb to limb on the way to the ground then makes a clean getaway. Yeah, I think that's it, well enjoy this one.I believe it still rivals todays most action packed blockbuster.
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Entertaining for Bronson & Marvin fans
kuato-37 March 1999
I enjoyed this film. I thought the movie was entertaining and fun for Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson fans. Bronson does not have much dialogue, but has some good one liners mixed in with some good action scenes. Lee Marvin's character was very likeable. The movie for me served its purpose of entertaining me as is the case with most "action" flicks. It is one of my favorites. If you are a fan of Lee Marvin and have not seen this movie I recommend it.
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Underrated, Overlooked Film
highwater6 July 2007
I had never even heard of "Death Hunt" when it was released in the early 80s, so I found it a pleasant surprise when I finally did see it. Both Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson are excellent here -- I don't know how many more movies either one appeared in after this, but they both give performances worthy of the veterans they were. Marvin is simply terrific as the aging, world-weary Mountie, and Bronson is able to convey a lot with just an expression (which is essential in this film, since his lines are very limited).

My only complaint is that, as excellent as they were, they only had one scene together in the entire movie, and that lasted less than five minutes. Other than that, all of their confrontations were long distance. Too bad.

The rest of the cast is also very good, especially Carl Weathers, and the scenery is spectacular. A refreshingly different kind of movie. The fact that it was loosely based on a true story is interesting but not essential to enjoying it. It's not a documentary, it's a movie, and a very well acted one.
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Bronson and Marvin; it can't miss
Bjorn (ODDBear)30 November 2005
Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin in an action flick; sounds like it can't miss, right? It doesn't!

Charles Bronson plays a sort of recluse who lives high up in snowy mountains. He pisses off some local jo-jo's who then try and kill him, but our man fights back and kills one of them and attempts to flee the country afterwards. That's the beginning of a massive man hunt that's led by law enforcement official Lee Marvin.

What makes this movie really work are few things in particular. The pairing of Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin, two of the toughest bad asses, is a real treat. The film has magnificent scenery throughout and is beautifully filmed and has some great action sequences also. Directed by Peter Hunt, who also made the best Bond film (On Her Majesty's Secret Service), this guy knows how to make action films.
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Very Solid Bronson Film, That's Suspenseful And Well Made With Fantastic Performances From Everyone!, Especilally From Bronson And Marvin
callanvass2 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very solid Bronson film, that's suspenseful and well made, with fantastic performances from everyone, especially from Brosnon and Lee Marvin!. It's engaging throughout, and the finale was really excellent plus Charles Bronson is simply amazing in this!. If your expecting a lot of action look elsewhere, however if you want a slow but engaging film, that will give you suspense and thrills look no further!. The character development was excellent, and i loved the grisly feel and location it had, plus i was rooting for Bronson all the way!. Ed Lauter played the asshole real well, and, i thought the ending was very well done, plus the chase scenes are very exciting and suspenseful!. i had somewhat high expectations for this and i wasn't disappointed, as it delivered everything i wanted, suspense,thrills and great acting!. This is a very solid Bronson film, that's suspenseful and well made, i highly recommend this one!. The Direction is very good. Peter R. Hunt does a very good job here, with excellent camera work,using a great gritty location, great shots of the mountains and scenery, and keeping the film at a very engaging pace!. There is lots of blood and violence. We get TONS of extremely bloody gunshot wounds,quite a few gory gunshot wounds to the head, bloody corpses, and bloody wounds. The Acting is awesome!. Charles Bronson is AMAZING as he always was, and was amazing here, he did not have much dialog but i loved his silent character, it made his character very mysterious, and he was really excellent in the acting department!. (Bronson Ruled!). Lee Marvin is Fantastic! here, he is very likable had some great dialog, loved the mind games between him and Bronson and he was just too cool!, he was a fantastic actor. Andrew Stevens is decent here, but got on my nerves somewhat at times as the rookie Mountie still he got the job done and was quite bearable for the most part. Carl Weathers is fantastic as usual but not quite his amazing self, due to not having that much to do, still he was quite funny and was awesome when on screen! (Weathers Rules!). Ed Lauter is great as the asshole, and did a really excellent job at doing that i hated him. Angie Dickinson is wasted here, and didn't have anything to do at all really. Henry Beckman was good as the weasel. Rest of the cast do good. Overall i highly recommend this one!. ***1/2 out of 5
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