7.3/10
4,492
53 user 30 critic

Burn! (1969)

Queimada (original title)
During a slave revolt in 1844, a British mercenary aids an Antilles island-colony gain its independence from Portugal but years later he returns there to manhunt a local rebel army leader and former friend.

Director:

Gillo Pontecorvo

Writers:

Franco Solinas (story), Giorgio Arlorio (story) | 2 more credits »
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Marlon Brando ... Sir William Walker
Evaristo Márquez ... José Dolores (as Evaristo Marquez)
Renato Salvatori ... Teddy Sanchez
Dana Ghia ... Francesca
Valeria Ferran Wanani Valeria Ferran Wanani ... Guarina
Giampiero Albertini Giampiero Albertini ... Henry Thompson
Carlo Palmucci ... Jack
Norman Hill Norman Hill ... Shelton
Thomas Lyons Thomas Lyons
Turam Quibo Turam Quibo ... Juanito (as Joseph P. Persaud)
Álvaro Medrano Álvaro Medrano ... Soldier (as Alvaro Medrano)
Alejandro Obregón Alejandro Obregón ... Engl. Major (as Alejandro Obregon)
Enrico Cesaretti Enrico Cesaretti
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Storyline

The professional mercenary Sir William Walker instigates a slave revolt on the Caribbean island of Queimada in order to help improve the British sugar trade. Years later he is sent again to deal with the same rebels that he built up because they have seized too much power that now threatens British sugar interests. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The man who sells war. The bloodier the battle - the higher the price. He's going to make a fortune on this one.

Genres:

Action | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Marlon Brando in his autobiography says that Gillo Pontecervo was one of the three best directors he ever worked with. The other two were Elia Kazan and Bernardo Bertolucci. See more »

Goofs

Portugal never had any colonies in the Caribbean. Its only American colony, Brazil, has no coast in the Caribbean. See more »

Quotes

Shelton: There are no more plantations, they're all burnt to the ground.
Sir William Walker: They'll rise again.
Shelton: In 10 years, Sir William.
Sir William Walker: Well, you have another 89 years to exploit them.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The complete version of this film runs 132 minutes. A 112-minute version under the title "Burn!" was released in the USA and the UK. See more »

Connections

Referenced in In the Jungle: The making of Cannibal Holocaust (2003) See more »

User Reviews

 
Powerful, Moving and Humane
19 October 1999 | by Dave GodinSee all my reviews

This is, without doubt, one of the best films ever made which deals with the festering malaise of racism, and, by distancing it into the past, Pontecorvo brings home truths that are entirely appropriate to the present day. He brings an almost psychological precision to his films.

Working in close association with Ennio Morricone who augments so many scenes with his stunning score, Pontecorvo creates a film of ideas presented as adventure, with scenes of breath-taking spectacle which are on a par with those of the earliest silent days of cinema, when one could be overwhelmed by the sheer number of extras employed and the vast panoramic canvases presented to us. In a sense, these images of a collective mass of humanity are in themselves an abstract call to insurrection and rebellion; a fearsome judgement on the over-wheening arrogance of white Christian and colonial culture in the past, and those remnants of it that still echo to this day. As those who read my postings may well guess, I believe music plays a tremendously creative role in film, and is a contributory factor of immense importance, and QUEMADA utilises music almost like a weapon in its armoury!

Brando has said, in an interview published some years ago in `Playboy' magazine, that he and Pontecorvo didn't get on well together during the production of this movie, (one perhaps forgets now that when QUEMADA was made, Brando's career was at a very low point!), and yet there is no hint of this in the movie itself, as Brando turns in one of his most measured, considered and subtle performances. So suave, and so genteelly treacherous! Pretending to `do what's right', but eventually `doing what's white'.

Fine and thought-provoking dialogue is a plus: `Freedom is not something somebody gives you. It is something you take for yourself', and there is a powerful scene where, in an unguarded moment of temper, the character played by Brando, who, up until then has shown himself to be the benign white liberal, suddenly hurls a racist epithet at his prisoner, thus reminding us, that every `brother' ain't always a `brother'!

Pontecorvo's films always seem to manage to upset both the Left and the Right of the political spectrum, (from my own libertarian point of view, a source of deep satisfaction), because he has always refused to traffic in slogans or short-term solutions to complex and long-gestating problems. He knows always that human nature is not consistent, and that, (as Shaw once said), `People don't have their virtues and vices in sets; they come all mixed up, anyhow'.

Finally, mention must be made of the superb title sequence; such a stunning and exciting `overture' to the content of the film to come, which stimulates and excites from the very outset.

Gillo Pontecorvo has not made many films, (and whatever happened to OGRO?), but in my view, he has made three masterpieces, and this is one of them. One could almost get nostalgic for the days when, to show the East how laid-back and freedom-loving we in the West were, we allowed heretics to make the occasional movie that dealt with IDEAS... Now that such fine points no longer need to be made at International Film Festivals, seems like `ideas' as an ingredient in films, have been put on the back burner! No doubt we shall all live to regret it!


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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian | Portuguese | English

Release Date:

21 October 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burn! See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$431,817
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(restored) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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