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McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

Trailer
1:57 | Trailer
A gambler and a prostitute become business partners in a remote Old West mining town, and their enterprise thrives until a large corporation arrives on the scene.

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Edmund Naughton (novel), Robert Altman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Warren Beatty ... John McCabe
Julie Christie ... Constance Miller
Rene Auberjonois ... Sheehan
William Devane ... The Lawyer
John Schuck ... Smalley
Corey Fischer ... Mr. Elliott
Bert Remsen ... Bart Coyle
Shelley Duvall ... Ida Coyle
Keith Carradine ... Cowboy
Michael Murphy ... Sears
Antony Holland ... Hollander
Hugh Millais Hugh Millais ... Butler
Manfred Schulz Manfred Schulz ... Kid
Jace Van Der Veen Jace Van Der Veen ... Breed (as Jace Vander Veen)
Jackie Crossland Jackie Crossland ... Lily
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Storyline

Set in winter in the Old West. Charismatic but dumb John McCabe arrives in a young Pacific Northwest town to set up a whorehouse/tavern. The shrewd Mrs. Miller, a professional madam, arrives soon after construction begins. She offers to use her experience to help McCabe run his business, while sharing in the profits. The whorehouse thrives and McCabe and Mrs. Miller draw closer, despite their conflicting intelligences and philosophies. Soon, however, the mining deposits in the town attract the attention of a major corporation, which wants to buy out McCabe along with the rest. He refuses, and his decision has major repercussions for him, Mrs. Miller, and the town. Written by John J. Magee <magee@helix.mgh.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of a gambling man and a hustling lady. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #827. See more »

Goofs

When McCabe first enters the saloon the fiddle player is plucking his violin left-handed, but in later shots he plucks and plays it right-handed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John McCabe: [muttering to himself] I told you... Think I'm stupid?... S'exactly what I said. Six, six of 'em...
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Alternate Versions

New 4K digital restoration, from Criterion, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. from 2016, 2 discs, lots of new extras See more »


Soundtracks

Winter Lady
Written and Performed by Leonard Cohen
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User Reviews

 
Good if somewhat overrated "anti-western"
1 November 2013 | by utgard14See all my reviews

A slight rant in place of a typical review, so bear with me. I'm somewhat amused by those that seem to think this version of the Old West is somehow the most real. They believe that the west was a place that was dark, rainy, and muddy all the time. One can't deny the influence Altman's film has had on westerns since. So many have shot their westerns to mimic this supposed reality. The comparisons typically go "old westerns didn't have it right but Altman does. His is the most authentic picture of life in the Old West." Really? So life in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, California, etc. matched that of rainy Vancouver? This is ridiculous.

Here's what's real: this movie takes place in the pacific northwest and is shot in Canada. To say Altman is fictionally portraying a small previously unexplored part of Old West history is fine. But to take it a step further and say this is representative of the Old West as a whole or even a majority is blatantly false. Furthermore, to use this as a tool to degrade older western movies, which actually did take place and were filmed in proper western US locations, is dishonest. Sorry but this sort of thing has always bugged me. I'm not a big fan of the visual of the Canadian westerns even though I have enjoyed quite a few of them as films. It's an artistic choice for these filmmakers to choose to shoot there because the weather is depressing and the stories usually follow suit. It's also a business choice because it has been so much cheaper to film there for decades. But let's not say it's because of historical accuracy when it isn't.

Anyway, as to this film's merits. I won't bother to cover ground others have covered. It's an enjoyable movie, artistically speaking, though not much fun and you're left at the end with a "what was the point" type of feeling. It's definitely not a strong narrative. The story is paper thin. If you're coming to this hoping to see some of what you expect from the two stars, you'll probably be disappointed. Warren Beatty is not his usual sexy, funny, charming self. Hidden away behind a beard and spending about half the movie mumbling like Popeye, none of the personality Beatty exhibited in most of his more famous films comes through. Julie Christie is a great beauty but here she's deliberately "uglied up" so as to add to the film's perceived authenticity.

It's a revisionist western and a good one. I would just like some of the pretentiousness to be checked at the door. Not for all tastes.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Cantonese

Release Date:

8 July 1971 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

The Presbyterian Church Wager See more »

Filming Locations:

British Columbia, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$31,558
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.40 : 1
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