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Macho Callahan (1970)

R | | Western | 17 August 1970 (USA)
Macho Callahan breaks out of a Confederate military prison, intent on revenge against the man responsible for his imprisonment. Unfortunately, along the way, he kills another man and that man's vengeful widow tracks down Callahan.


Bernard L. Kowalski (as Bernard Kowalski)


Richard Carr (story), Cliff Gould (as Clifford Newton Gould)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Janssen ... Diego Callahan
Jean Seberg ... Alexandra Mountford
Lee J. Cobb ... Duffy
James Booth James Booth ... Harry Wheeler
Pedro Armendáriz Jr. ... Juan
David Carradine ... David Mountford
Bo Hopkins ... Yancy
Anne Revere ... Crystal
Richard Anderson ... Officer
Diane Ladd ... Girl
Matt Clark ... Jailer
Richard Evans ... Mulvey
Cyril Delevanti ... Old man
William Bryant ... Dealer (as Bill Bryant)
Robert Morgan Robert Morgan ... McIntyre (as Bob Morgan)


A man tricked into enlisting in the Confederate army is later thrown into a hellish stockade on desertion charges. He eventually breaks out of the prison camp, reunites with his old partner and sets out to kill the man who was responsible for his being in the camp in the first place. However, after accidentally killing a Confederate officer, he finds himself pursued by a gang of vicious bounty hunters intent on collecting the reward put up by the dead officer's widow. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


David Janssen - A fugitive exploding from prison! Hunted by killers! Led by the woman who wanted him...beaten, broken, or dead! See more »




R | See all certifications »



Mexico | USA



Release Date:

17 August 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Asylliptos drapetis See more »

Filming Locations:

Durango, Mexico

Company Credits

Production Co:

Felicidad Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Glen Glenn Sound)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jean Seberg thought costar David Janssen was "just so wonderful." (from the book "Jean Seberg - Breathless" published in 2008) See more »


Alexandra Mountford: Your stories are marvelous. They help me to know you better.
Juan: Know me? Me and Macho? No. You see, up here
[indicating his head]
Juan: is not the place to really understand. Here
[indicating his heart]
Juan: is to understand.
See more »

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User Reviews

Grim, savage Western balanced out by warmth and tenderness
12 June 2017 | by WuchakkSee all my reviews

Released is 1970 and directed by Bernard L. Kowalski, "Macho Callahan" stars David Janssen in the title role as a man who rebels after being duped into enlisting into the Confederate Army and is therefore locked in a hellish POW camp on desertion charges. After getting out and reuniting with his old sidekick, Juan (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.), Callahan goes after the man responsible for his travails (Lee J. Cobb). An unfortunate honor duel with a Confederate officer (David Carradine) ends with Macho being pursued by the officer's vengeful widow (Jean Seberg) and a gang of steadfast bounty hunters (James Booth, Bo Hopkins, etc.). Diane Ladd has a small part.

The first act in the Confederate camp is dirty and brutal, ringing with authenticity; this is the furthest thing from those old Westerns where everyone has bright, clean clothes and courteousness abounds. Callahan is a very hardened man after his harrowing prison sentence and thoroughly unwilling to allow a Confederate officer to dishonor him, particularly when Macho's fairly drunk. The opening score is very austere and inspiring in a somber way, but it later morphs into more pleasant aural reveries. This is a thoroughly adult Western, not to mention modern and therefore holds up well after all these decades.

Speaking of which, as dark and harsh as much of this obscure Western is, it's counterpoised by care and sensitivity. For instance, one character apologizes and is forgiven because the recipient discerns it's sincere. Or consider the two protagonists concern for a motherless cub. One person sees through the others' gruffness to recognize essentially noble hearts that live by a code of honor, which is surprising considering one of them just went through hell on earth, and unjustly so. All this points to the "Stockholm syndrome" NOT being at play in the story, as some claim. Watch the movie and see for yourself. See the commentary below for details.

The love and compassion that surface separates "Macho Callahan" from one-dimensional and juvenile Spag Westerns. As such, it's puzzling to hear Brian Garfield lambaste the film as "strictly for sadists" and "revolting." This same critic said "the story defies reason everywhere and is impenetrable," but this simply isn't true. The plot is simple and the characters' motivations are obvious. If you want to see a Western that defies reason watch the original "The Magnificent Seven" (see my review for details). Unfortunately, the ending leaves a bad taste in the mouth and I wish it went the route of "The Outlaw Josey Wales." Still, it's worth checking out if you like atypical realistic Westerns that are dark, brutal, ugly, warm and beautiful at the same time.

The film runs 98 minutes and was shot in Durango, Mexico. The script was written by Cliff Gould from Richard Carr's story.



Generally speaking, Stockholm syndrome occurs when a strong emotional link develops between captor and captive where the former intermittently abuses the other in one way or another, whether beatings, threats, intimidation or harassment. This is not what occurs in the movie: Alexandra hooks up with Callahan & Juan in order to kill Callahan (i.e. she's NOT a captive), and she almost succeeds when the opportunity presents itself. Thus Callahan fights back savagely to survive, BUT he mercifully doesn't kill her; and is clearly concerned about her recovery later.

After this violent episode, Alexandra gets to know Callahan & Juan and slowly discovers that they're not evil. They're basically goodhearted people with some rough edges. Macho saves her life at one point and even trusts her with a rifle. She's NOT a captive and is free to leave when she wants. Callahan even apologizes for what happened to her husband, and sincerely so, but implies that it was a matter of honor between the two men (and, really, it was the greedy bartender's fault). A mutual attraction blossoms into love before the movie's over, ending with the touching sequence during the standoff at the climax.

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