Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros.
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 »
When the team makes it back to the train after capturing Mrs. Grant Claudia Cardinale and the ambush is waiting for them, Ehrengard Robert Ryan is initially shown from inside the train car sitting facing sideways to the open door of the train car, then from outside he is shown with his back to the door of the train, then back to inside and he is sideways again. See more »
Nothing is for always. Except death. Ask Fierro. Ask Francisco. Ask those in the cemetery of nameless men.
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Though not as perceptively grim in tone and style as Sam Peckinpah's epitaph The Wild Bunch, Richard Brook's The Professionals almost certainly inspired the former and was also one of the last great westerns Hollywood ever produced. Made at a time when the 'classical' era was waning, Brooks went entirely nostalgic, creating a story about John Wayne-like characters completely loyal to their cause but also flawed in many ways.
The cast is superb. The exotic beauty of Claudia Cardinale is great fodder for the main cast of Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan and Woody Strode. Although Ryan and Strode have considerably less screen time, the relationship between Lancaster and Marvin is terrifically fleshed out along with Brooks' steady hand guiding the entire process of four men on the hunt to rescue a millionaire's kidnapped wife only to realize all is not as it seems.
Despite the fact that this film will forever be compared to the ones it inspired like The Wild Bunch or The Dirty Dozen, it should be admired on its own terms. It is a very entertaining and satisfying film with solid writing, acting, directing and editing along with some stunning cinematography of the American southwest. Compared to today's films, who could ask for anything more?
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