A rich Texan, J.W. Grant, selects three men and invites them to his private train to offer them a contract: Rescue his wife who has been kidnapped by a Mexican revolutionary. The leader of the men, Rico, decides they would be a better team if Grant would hire one more man, an explosives expert. Grant quickly agrees and soon the four are off to complete the contract. However, while on the trail, they discover some interesting facts, like has Mrs. Grant 'really' been kidnapped?Written by
Many scenes were filmed in the Coachella Valley, Death Valley and Nevada's Valley of Fire. The train scenes were shot on the Eagle Mountain Railroad (EMRR), a private, isolated rail spur located in the desert 50 miles east of Indio, California. The 52-mile line was owned by the Kaiser Steel Corporation and used to haul iron ore until 1986. Scenes were filmed on or near the railroad in January-February 1966. The movie makes extensive use of retired Great Western Steam Locomotive No. 75, which stands in for both an American and a Mexican locomotive. It was built in 1909 for the Great Western Railway in Colorado and was retired from service in 1965. It was then purchased for movie-making purposes and, for the next 34 years, made appearances in many well-known films. Eventually No. 75 was sold to the Heber Valley Railway in Heber City, Utah in 1999. The scenes where the four Professionals cross the border under a wooden bridge at the beginning and end of the movie were filmed at the first railroad bridge north of "Ferrum" in California. Since the movie was set around 1910, the large steel bridge over the Salt Creek Wash was actually repainted to appear as a wooden bridge. Other scenes were shot at "Gravel Pit" and "Summit." An ex-Southern Pacific caboose and a couple of old wooden boxcars were used along with a Kaiser Steel flatcar for the various trains seen in the movie. A portion of the movie Tough Guys (1986), also starring Burt Lancaster, was filmed on the EMRR. See more »
Ehregard (Ryan) was shot in the upper right shoulder. The blood stain is visible in several shots. However, as they separate from Dolworth (Lancaster) while he holds off Raza, it's very clear that Ehrengard's shirt is missing the blood stain. See more »
How do you come to this dirty business.
The usual. Money.
Everything is as usual. I need guns and bullets, as usual. The war goes badly, as usual. Only you, you are not as usual.
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This is one of those westerns where you don't have a lot of sensitive men running around trying to find themselves. It's in a league with "The Wild Bunch", though Peckinpah has always had a class pretty much to himself, so that's high praise. This is a must see as it was made in the waning days of the great westerns. After this, there are a few John Wayne movies, and of course the above mentioned Wild Bunch, but principles embodied by the film like honor, determined independence and adherence to a code, seemed quaint and outdated in the psychedelic age, or actually evil as embodied in "The Godfather".
The movie is worth seeing for the great ensemble, a movie that puts guys like Lancaster, Marvin, Ryan and Palance together plus great direction and a decent story is sure to be good. And even if that doesn't impress, Claudia Cardinale in her prime is enough for just about any movie.
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