In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the U.S., a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries, and scouts.
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
During Junior's last bull ride, one of the shots shows him riding a different (smaller) bull. See more »
Junior, you're my brother, and I guess I love you. Well, we're family. I don't care what you do. You can sell one lot or a hundred lots. I'm just tryin' to keep us together.
Junior 'JR' Bonner:
I gotta go down my own road.
What road? I mean, I'm workin' on my first million, and you're still workin' on eight seconds.
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Sam Peckinpah is usually stereotyped as a director who is mainly concerned with violence and confrontation. This is only part of the picture. If you look past the violence of 'The Wild Bunch' you'll see a movie concerned with old age, loyalty and changing values. 'Straw Dogs' deals with masculinity and ethics. 'Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia' contains a vivid picture of traditional Mexican culture confronted with modern America's greed and corruption. These sub-texts and themes are often overlooked because of the blood and gore.
'Junior Bonner' leaves out the gore, and what happens? Peckinpah detractors who criticise the aforementioned movies ignore it and dismiss it as "slow" and "boring"! It is anything but. 'Junior Bonner' is a thoughtful character study of an aging rodeo performer (Steve McQueen at his best) and his relationship with his estranged family (veterans Ida Lupino and Robert Preston and character actor legend Joe Don Baker - all first rate). It moves at its own pace, which will alienate the MTV-generation, but anyone with a love of good movies will be fascinated. 'Junior Bonner' may not be as widely discussed as Peckinpah's more controversial efforts, but it's just as good in its own way, and shows once again, that he was one of THE greats of American cinema. Don't overlook this one!
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