112 user 42 critic

Lonely Are the Brave (1962)

Approved | | Drama, Western | 25 May 1962 (USA)
0:56 | Trailer
A fiercely independent cowboy gets himself locked up in prison to escape with an old friend.


David Miller


Dalton Trumbo (screenplay), Edward Abbey (novel)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Kirk Douglas ... John W. "Jack" Burns
Gena Rowlands ... Jerry Bondi
Walter Matthau ... Sheriff Morey Johnson
Michael Kane Michael Kane ... Paul Bondi
Carroll O'Connor ... Hinton
William Schallert ... Harry
George Kennedy ... Deputy Sheriff Gutierrez
Karl Swenson ... Rev. Hoskins
William Mims ... First Deputy Arraigning Burns (as Bill Mims)
Martin Garralaga ... Old Man
Lalo Rios Lalo Rios ... Prisoner


In order to free his best friend Paul Bondi from jail, cowboy Jack Burns gets himself imprisoned only to find out that Bondi does not want to escape. Thus Burns breaks out on his own and is afterwards being chased in the mountains by sheriff Johnson with a helicopter and jeeps. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Life can never cage a man like this!


Drama | Western


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Kirk Douglas intended to call the film "The Last Cowboy" but was overruled by the studio. Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo gave his final version of the screenplay the title "The Last Hero". See more »


When the one-armed man throws his mug of beer at Burns and it hits him in the thigh, it shatters. No heavy glass mug of the type used in bars would shatter (or even break for that matter) when hitting something that soft. See more »


[first lines]
[to his horse, as he watches jets leave contrails across the sky]
Jack Burns: Time we took off, too.
See more »

Crazy Credits

the credits at the beginning of the film use a font with uppercase consonants and lower case vowels (of various sizes) , but for the names only. See more »


Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: Walter Matthau (2016) See more »


Oh! Susanna
Composed by Stephen Foster
See more »

User Reviews

The Last Cowboy
23 June 2011 | by RokurotaMakabeSee all my reviews

"Lonely Are the Brave" is a western from 1962, an era when this genre was suffering changes. If you are to judge the movie from the plot outline you might consider it to be an old fashioned western, but this is not the case here. This aspect can be noticed from the beginning, when the character of Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas) is introduced. He is a lone cowboy, traveling across the land on his horse, caring little about tomorrow. He seems to be out of place in the modern world and this modern world is hostile to him and his old ways.

One of the strengths of the movie is that it has a well developed central character. Kirk Douglas manages to create a believable cowboy, one that is stuck in the past refusing to acknowledge that the world has changed and he needs to adapt. Jack Burns is indeed a lonely cowboy because his way of seeing things is not shared by the others. The film also has the advantage of having a good screenplay, written by Dalton Trumbo ("Spartacus", "Papillon"), one of the best screenwriters of his time.

This was Kirk Douglas' favorite movie of his own and you can surely tell that because he gives here one of his best performances. The acting is generally good, the roles of Walter Matthau and Gena Rowlands being worth mentioning. You can also check out George Kennedy in one of his early roles, as the brutish deputy Guttierez.

The movie may have its flaws, but it is definitely worth seeing by everyone. Due to its style and content the film also marks a transition from classical westerns to modern ones, so fans of the genre should not miss it.

My rating: 7,5/10

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 112 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

25 May 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Last Hero See more »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Joel Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed