After the American Civil War, mercenaries travel to Mexico to fight in their revolution for money. The former soldier and gentleman Benjamin Trane meets the gunman and killer Joe Erin and his men, and together they are hired by the Emperor Maximillian and the Marquis Henri de Labordere to escort the Countess Marie Duvarre to the harbor of Vera Cruz. Ben and Erin find that the stagecoach is transporting three million U.S. dollars in gold hidden below the seat, and they scheme to steal it. Along their journey, betrayals and incidents happen changing their initial intentions.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Joe's saddle gun, a "new, Winchester repeating rifle", is an 1872 model; since the film is set "just after the American Civil War", to be correct, the gun should be a Henry "Yellowboy", circa 1864. (The earlier weapon had no wooden forearm stock and a brass receiver; the rifle Joe carries has a steel receiver and the wooden stock.) See more »
Opening credits prologue: As the American Civil War ended, another war was just beginning. The Mexican people were struggling to rid themselves of their foreign Emperor - - - Maximilian. Into this fight rode a handful of Americans - - - ex-soldiers, adventurers, criminals-- all bent on gain. They drifted South in small groups - - AND SOME CAME ALONE- See more »
When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure an 'A' rating. All cuts were waived in 1998 when the film was granted an 'PG' certificate for home video. See more »
"Vera Cruz" is settled in Mexico during Austrian emperor Maximilian's ruling and the Juaristas revolution. Ban Trane (Gary Cooper) and Joe Erin (Burt Lancaster) cross the border to hire their guns for the cause that pays better. Trane is a former southern officer ruined by the American civil war and Erin is a self made top gun. Somehow the two men get to like and respect each other and they are paid by the emperor to take a mysterious French countess through Juarista country to the Port of Vera Cruz.
Mexico's colorful outdoor locations are very well used by director Robert Aldrich to give the film some sort of greatness, unusual in early 50's westerns. Lots of action and well done battle sequences help the movie too. The final gun duel couldn't be spared and it is a good one too.
Cooper has no trouble with his character and gives a good performance, but no doubt Lancaster's character is more interesting and he takes the best of it. In fact when you remember "Vera Cruz" Lancater's Joe Erin is what first comes to your mind. His black outfit, his complete lack of class and manners, his limitless ambition and completely unscrupulous behaviour; and yet you feel sympathy for the guy. This is indeed a Burt Lancaster picture.
The supporting cast is also outstanding. You'll find future stars in early roles such as Ernest Borgnine and Charles Bronson, along with Jack Elam all of them members of Erin's gang (what else?). But classical actors of the 40's and 50's are there too: Cesar Romero, George Macready (Maximilian), Morris Ankrum and Henry Brandon among others. Spanish actress Sara Montiel plays a Juarista that gets mixed up with Coooper.
Not only for western fans but also for action and adventure movie followers, "Vera Cruz" is a film to enjoy every once in a while. A top one in both genres.
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