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Barbarosa (1982) Poster

(1982)

Trivia

Willie Nelson had read only two pages of the film's screenplay when he decided he wanted to do the movie. Nelson exclaimed: "I want to be this guy" [Barbarosa].
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During production two technicians and a woman were killed in an after-hours vehicle accident.
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The film's screenplay was inspired by tales told to writer William D. Wittliff by his grandfather during his childhood living on a Texan ranch in the Blanco Hill country. Wittliff came up with an outline of the story whilst driving in Texas from Austin to Dallas. Wittliff had previously written Willie Nelson's Honeysuckle Rose (1980) and had adapted Nelson's 1975 concept album Red Headed Stranger (1986) when it was in development for Robert Redford, his script later being filmed with Nelson in it.
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Producer Paul N. Lazarus III hired Australian director Fred Schepisi based on Schepisi's earlier film The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) which had been described as being like an Australian western. The film had played in competition at Cannes where Lazarus saw it.
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The picture's shooting location in Big Bend National Park was reputed to be around the time the film was made and released to be the most remote filming location ever used for an American movie.
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Location scouting for the production was conducted in all eleven south-western states of the USA. Due to the cinematography union that DOP Ian Baker belonged to, the movie had to be completely shot in Texas as this was the only place that the union would allow Baker to lens.
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One of about fifteen movies that cinematographer Ian Baker and director Fred Schepisi have collaborated on. And its one of around seven movies collaborated on for Schepisi and composer Bruce Smeaton.
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The movie utilized the famous Western filming location of "The Alamo Village" in Brackettville, Texas which had been host to a number of famous westerns having shot there.
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In an August 1990 interview with Australian film magazine 'Cinema Papers', director Fred Schepisi said of this film, "...you could do wide shots at both ends of the day, because of the way that the mountains were structured. And as you moved into to do closer work, there was always a direction you could point where you would get great light and good texture on the backgrounds".
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The animal that Barbarosa (Willie Nelson) regularly ate was an armadillo.
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Director Fred Schepisi once said that it was dumb to make this western but likes the film a lot.
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This independently financed movie was picked up by Universal Pictures when they acquired Lord Lew Grade's ITC/Associated Film Distributors (AFD) which got sold when they went bust after the box-office failure of Raise the Titanic (1980). Reportedly, the pictured got pulled from theaters in some territories when AFD was sold. The film was one of two westerns that Universal inherited from ITC/AFD, the other was The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981). Both flopped at the box-office.
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Actor Gary Busey was not only a co-lead but also acted as an uncredited producer.
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This was country-and-western singer Willie Nelson's first ever Western movie.
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The production camp was in a little known western Texan backwater township of Latijas which had a population of around only twelve people. The Texas town was a former desert trading post stop and was General "Black Jack" Pershing's headquarters during military campaign fighting against the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. The production shoot in Latijas went for four weeks.
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High temperatures in Texas had a scorching effect on the production with the heat staying hot right into the evening. Shooting in such a remote location there also meant there was no television, air-conditioning and telephones whilst crew had to cram into rooms for their lodgings.
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Final film of Gilbert Roland
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Jerry Goldsmith was originally considered to compose the score.
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First American movie of Australian director Fred Schepisi.
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The word "Barbarosa" could come either from Spanish or Italian and with the same meaning "Pink Beard". Despite what some think, red in Spanish is "rojo" and in Italian "rosso/a" (with a double "s", and "rosso" for a male substantive "rossa" for a female substantive - in Italian there is not "it", every substantive is either a male one or a female one.)
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One of a number of Hollywood westerns that were a flop at the box-office during the late 1970s / early 1980s. The films include Heaven's Gate (1980), Barbarosa (1982), The Mountain Men (1980), The Villain (1979), Goin' South (1978), Hard Country (1981), The Frisco Kid (1979), Cattle Annie and Little Britches (1981), and The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981).
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Despite this western film's financial failure, the Hollywood films industry within a few years bizarrely revived the oater movie genre during the mid-80s producing a mini-cycle of Western movies. In 1985, the dream factory churned out such Western oaters as Silverado (1985), Rustlers' Rhapsody (1985), Pale Rider (1985) and Lust in the Dust (1985).
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