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Junior Bonner (1972)

PG | | Drama, Western | 21 July 1972 (UK)
Ace Bonner returns to Arizona several years after he abandoned his family, Junior Bonner is a wild young man. Against the typical rodeo championship, family drama erupts.


Sam Peckinpah


Jeb Rosebrook
4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve McQueen ... Junior Bonner
Robert Preston ... Ace Bonner
Ida Lupino ... Elvira Bonner
Ben Johnson ... Buck Roan
Joe Don Baker ... Curly Bonner
Barbara Leigh ... Charmagne
Mary Murphy ... Ruth Bonner
Bill McKinney ... Red Terwiliger (as William McKinney)
Dub Taylor ... Del
Sandra Deel Sandra Deel ... Nurse Arlis
Don 'Red' Barry ... Homer Rutledge (as Donald Barry)
Charles H. Gray ... Burt (as Charles Gray)
Matthew Peckinpah Matthew Peckinpah ... Tim Bonner
Sundown Spencer Sundown Spencer ... Nick Bonner
Rita Garrison Rita Garrison ... Flashie


A week with Junior Bonner, a rodeo pro on the wrong side of 40, broke, bruised, and headed into Prescott, his home town, for the annual 4th of July Frontier Days. His dad, Ace, is a dissolute dreamer fixed on finding gold in Australia; his mom is resigned to Ace's roving; his brother Curly is tearing up the countryside to make a million in real estate. Junior just wants to stay on a bucking Brahma for eight seconds, hang out with Ace, find a way to spend time with a beautiful woman whose eyes catch his, and earn enough to get to next week's rodeo. As the old West and its code give way to progress, Junior is lonesome, laconic, and on the road - just where he wants to be. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"Tell 'em Junior sent you" See more »


Drama | Western


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Monte Hellman was approached to direct this film, but turned said offer down. See more »


When Junior knocks Curly through the window into the house, the table lamp on the left goes out (inexplicably). Seconds later, when Mrs Bonner is standing in front of it, it is lit again. See more »


Ace Bonner: By hook or by crook, I'm goin' to Australia.
Elvira Bonner: Well, you always were good at puttin' distance between us.
See more »


Referenced in Death Proof (2007) See more »


Bound to Be Back Again
Words and Music by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter
Sung by Alex Taylor
Courtesy of Capricorn Records
See more »

User Reviews

"I'm working on my first million, you're still working on 8 seconds"
21 August 2008 | by thinker1691See all my reviews

There are many actors who are willing to go that extra mile to convince you the character which they are playing is genuine. Junior 'Jr' Bonner Steve McQueen is such a man. Playing him with the stoic silence as a 8 second ride on the back of a Brahma bull and with the explosive outcome of the trill, McQueen is a simple but aging rodeo star with little to say except when it comes to what is important to him. One aspect is his father Ace Bonner (Robert Preston) whom he deeply respects and quietly emulates. Ida Lupino plays Elvira Bonner, his mother and Joe Don Baker, his ambitious older brother out to become rich. Even though his brother wants him to quit the rodeo and come to work for him, Jr seeks to remain his own man. A noted old timer to Bonner's ambitions is Ben Johnson who plays Buck Roan, the owner of the dynamite animal called "Sunshine", a huge bull which really challenges Bonner. The movie is a superb vehicle for McQueen who is unquestioningly suited for the part. The story does him well and could easily have been his real trade. Excellent film. ****

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Release Date:

21 July 1972 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Junior Bonner See more »

Filming Locations:

Prescott, Arizona, USA See more »


Box Office


$3,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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