7.1/10
4,051
68 user 25 critic

Will Penny (1967)

Approved | | Romance, Western | 10 April 1968 (USA)
Aging cowboy Will Penny gets a line camp job on a large cattle spread and finds his isolated cabin is already occupied by a husbandless woman and her young son.

Director:

Tom Gries

Writer:

Tom Gries
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlton Heston ... Will Penny
Joan Hackett ... Catherine Allen
Donald Pleasence ... Preacher Quint
Lee Majors ... Blue
Bruce Dern ... Rafe Quint
Ben Johnson ... Alex - Flat Iron Ranch Foreman
Slim Pickens ... Ike Walterstein
Clifton James ... Catron
Anthony Zerbe ... Dutchy
Roy Jenson ... Boetius Sullivan
G.D. Spradlin ... Anse Howard
Quentin Dean ... Jennie
William Schallert ... Dr. Fraker
Lydia Clarke ... Mrs. Fraker
Robert Luster Robert Luster ... Shem Bodine
Edit

Storyline

Will Penny, an aging cowpoke, takes a "line-rider" job on a vast cattle ranch requiring him to keep trespassers and squatters moving until they're off the property. Ironically, he discovers that the mountain cabin reserved for the line rider has been appropriated by Catherine Allen and her young son, Horace, whose guide has deserted them en route to Oregon to join Catherine's husband. Too soft-hearted and ashamed to kick mother and child out just as the bitter Rocky Mountains winter sets in, he agrees to share the cabin until the spring thaw. But it isn't just the snow that slowly thaws; lonely man and woman soon forget their considerable dissimilarities and start developing a deep, if awkward and unstated, love for each another. Beyond this, Horace finds in Will the father he's never known, and Will finds in Horace the son he's never known he's wanted. The trio's little refuge is then invaded by Bible-quoting preacher Quint and his murderous family of "rawhiders", who'd earlier ... Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He was a hard man, but he could SMILE! See more »

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Bruce Dern once said of working with Charlton Heston on this movie, "I got to really like the guy. A lot of people told me that I wouldn't like him, but I liked him, and he tried very hard. I mean, 'Will Penny' is far and away the best thing he's ever done." See more »

Goofs

During the fight between Will Penny and the Quint family, one of the brothers throws a knife into Penny's chest. A wire attached to the knife a very obvious. See more »

Quotes

Catherine Allen: How often do you bathe?
Will Penny: Well, eight or nine times. It depends.
Catherine Allen: On what?
Will Penny: The weather.
Catherine Allen: Eight or nine times a month?
Will Penny: Eight or nine times a month? A year!
Catherine Allen: A year?
Will Penny: Well sure. You have a real good one when you finish the shove up north, like at the hotel in Alfred. Then one or two in the winter, if you don't catch your death. Then a couple in the spring and one more good one before you start the shove up again. The rest depends on what kind of water you hit on the drive. Well, what's wrong with that? That's...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 'Halloween': A Cut Above the Rest (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Lonely Rider
Music by David Raksin
Lyrics by Robert Wells
Sung by Don Cherry
See more »

User Reviews

 
Understated, undervalued and possibly under seen?
9 March 2010 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Charlton Heston stars as Will Penny, an ageing cowpuncher down on his luck and practically broke. After finding a spot of work down on the Flat Iron, Penny falls foul of some outlaws led by maniacal preacher Quint {Donald Pleasence}. They rob him and leave him for dead but he manages to find his way to a lineman's cabin where he is cared for by Catherine {Joan Hackett}, who is heading west with her young son to be reunited with her husband. Here Penny comes to learn things about himself, as does Catherine, but their relationship is not the only thing of concern to them. For Quint and his brood are coming back to finish what they started.

As widely reported these days, this was one of Heston's favourite roles. Which is not hard to believe since it is one of his finest and most earnest performances from what was a long and successful career. Directed and written by Tom Gries {who refused to sell the rights to his story unless he could direct}, Will Penny is an understated Western {Re;cowboy movie for those that need to distinguish the two} that shines because it relies on strength of story over histrionics and a pandering to the norm. This is no ode to the wild west, a time of gunslingers fighting it out and riding off into the sunset with the dame. This is the nitty gritty west, where cowboys are actually that, cowboys, working with beef so that they can afford to eat and perhaps enjoy a jar of throat stripper by way of a reward for their graft.

It's also refreshing to find a romance within the genre that is believable and not thrust upon us like some form of necessity. The relationship, and in fact the three family dynamic at the core of the film, is expertly written, not rushed or underdeveloped, and, crucially, not hurt by the bold and correct ending that Gries delivers. Hackett gives a lovely subtle turn opposite Heston, in a role that was turned down by a host of prominent female actresses at the time. Fine support comes from Pleasence {rightly overacting the role}, Ben Johnson, Lee Majors, Bruce Dern, Anthony Zerbe and Slim Pickens. While Lucien Ballard's cinematography is lucid and adds splendour to the moving story. I can't say that David Raksin's score totally works, since it at times feels like it belongs in some Universal Pictures creature feature! But it's a minor issue in what is an elegant Western that deserves, no, demands, to be sought out by more people. 8/10


8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 68 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 April 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Will Penny See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,400,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed