42 user 18 critic

Bad Company (1972)

A god-fearing Ohio boy dodging the Civil War draft arrives in St. Joseph, MO where he joins up with a hardscrabble group of like runaways heading west.


Robert Benton

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Bridges ... Jake Rumsey
Barry Brown ... Drew Dixon
Jim Davis ... Marshal
David Huddleston ... Big Joe
John Savage ... Loney
Jerry Houser ... Arthur Simms
Damon Douglas Damon Douglas ... Jim Bob Logan (as Damon Cofer)
Joshua Hill Lewis Joshua Hill Lewis ... Boog Bookin
Geoffrey Lewis ... Hobbs
Raymond Guth Raymond Guth ... Jackson
Ed Lauter ... Orin (as Edward Lauter)
John Quade ... Nolan
Jean Allison ... Mrs. Dixon
Ned Wertimer ... Mr. Dixon
Charles Tyner ... Egg Farmer


A group of naive boys find that life as desperadoes in the west is more serious that they understood when they embark on abortive careers in bushwhacking. Violence, betrayal, sombre colours and a Beckettsian whimsy mark this ironic western. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Would I like to get my hands on the son of a ..... who told me to go west.


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

22 December 1972 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Bad Company See more »

Filming Locations:

Wichita, Kansas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to Jeff Bridges the gunfight in the forest had to be completely re shot after the film was ruined in the lab. See more »


When Jake is describing what Simms is doing at the stagecoach, he says, "He's opening the door ... he's getting in ... he's closing the door," but when we see the stagecoach, it's driving away and Simms has only just managed to open the door. See more »


Jake Rumsey: [Trying to restrain Drew] You may not look like much, but you're a real tiger, ain't yuh?
See more »


References The Rules of the Game (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

Agreeable young Western with charming acting , interesting screenplay and highly entertaining
8 December 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Thrilling story about a group of young people who join forces to be robbers , as they rob their way west but with unexpected consequences . This first-rate Western draws its riveting tale and power from the interaction of finely drawn roles as well as adventure and action . Good and enjoyable western with a great casting and two sensational starring , a very young Jeff Bridges and Barry Brown in a coming-of-age story . This exciting film packs Western action , go riding , thrills , emotion , shoot-outs and results to be quite entertaining . It contains a magnificent main cast as Jeff Bridges and Barry Brown facing off bandits (David Huddleston , Geoffey Lewis , Ed Lauer , among others) a tough sheriff(Jim Davis) and deputies ; in addition , a top-drawer support cast . This is a nice flick containing a little bit of charming humor about naively juvenile , friendship , violence and sense of comradeship among people . It's a sympathetic western , with a beautiful cinematography , attractive scenery from meadows and great soundtrack by piano . It deals with a god-fearing Ohio boy called Drew Dixon (Barry Brown) dodging the Civil War draft arrives in Jefferson City where he joins up with a hardscrabble group of like runaways heading west , being led by Jake Rumsey (Jeff Bridges) , a street-wise rebel . Both of them have wildly differing temperaments . Soon after, though, the drifter young finds out existence on the West is neither what he expected nor what he's been wishing . As the dangerous journey that turns out to be worst than expected , suffering attacks , hard-working activities , robbing , gun-play and many other things .

Formidable as well as intriguing Western full of action , fascinating drama , crossfire and fabulous performances . It's a wonderful adventure film format "western" itinerant, filled with entertaining events , danger and life lessons . This exciting film packs good feeling as friendship , faithfulness , companionship and violence as well as touching scenes on the final . The screenplay , by David Newman , Robert Benton , is plain and simple but intelligent , with a conventional plot , but ultimately gets overcome . The picture belongs to Western sub-genre of the seventies about juvenile people , starred by teens or little boys such as ¨The Spikes gang¨ , ¨Marshal Cahill¨ , ¨The cowboys¨ and ¨The Culpepper Cattle Co¨. Gorgeous outdoors with decent production design by Paul Sylbert . Filmmaker gets to remain the Western emotion , moving scenes and suspense until the ending . The young starring player Barry Brown is very good , his role as an ingenuous and cultured young is top-notch , he performed similar character as a naive cowboy in other films however , he virtually disappeared without much trace until his suicide , as he shot himself to death . He was especially known for Daisy Miller (1974) , Piranha (1978) and this Bad company (1972). Sympathetic Jeff Bridges as gang leader , he steals the show as likable as well as two-fisted young gunslinger . According to Jeff Bridges the gunfight in the forest had to be completely re shot after the film was ruined in the lab . Secondary cast is extraordinary such as John Savage , David Huddleston , Jerry Houser , Jim Davis , Geoffrey Lewis , Jean Allison , Ed Lauter , John Quade and Charles Tyner .

Cool cinematographer Gordon Willis prowls his camera splendidly through some wonderfully seedy , deserted landscapes . Evocative and atmospheric musical score composed by means of piano played by Harvey Schmidt. This Sleeper Western was well produced by Stanley R Jaffe and stunningly directed by Robert Benton , recreating compellingly this thrilling story ; being debut of Benton and whose most popular movie resulted to be ¨Kramer vs Kramer¨ . He is a writer and director, known for Kramer vs Kramer (1979), Nadine (1987) , Billy Bathgate (1991) , Nobody's Fool (1994) , Twilight (1998) , The human stain (2003), Feast of Love (2007) and wrote Superman (1978) and Bonnie y Clyde (1967). This much underrated Civil War era Western is rated above average ; being essential and indispensable watching for Western genre fans . Enjoyable scenarios , interesting script , nice performances and gorgeous outdoors make this well worth seeing .

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