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Ulzana's Raid (1972)

After fierce war chief Ulzana and a small war party jump the reservation bent on murder and terror, an inexperienced young lieutenant is assigned to track him down.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writer:

Alan Sharp
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... McIntosh
Bruce Davison ... Lt. Garnett DeBuin
Jorge Luke ... Ke-Ni-Tay
Richard Jaeckel ... Sergeant
Joaquín Martínez ... Ulzana (as Joaquin Martinez)
Lloyd Bochner ... Captain Gates
Karl Swenson ... Rukeyser
Douglass Watson ... Maj. Cartwright
Dran Hamilton ... Mrs. Riordan
John Pearce John Pearce ... Corporal
Gladys Holland Gladys Holland ... Mrs. Rukeyser
Margaret Fairchild Margaret Fairchild ... Mrs.Ginsford
Aimee Eccles ... McIntosh's Indian Woman (as Aimee Ecclés)
Richard Bull ... Ginsford
Otto Reichow ... Steegmeyer
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Storyline

Report reaches the US cavalry that the Apache leader Ulzana has left his reservation with a band of followers. A compassionate young officer, Lieutenant DeBuin, is given a small company to find him and bring him back; accompanying the troop is McIntosh, an experienced scout, and Ke-Ni-Tay, an Apache guide. Ulzana massacres, rapes and loots across the countryside; and as DeBuin encounters the remains of his victims, he is compelled to learn from McIntosh and to confront his own naiveté and hidden prejudice. Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

To Defeat The Apaches, They Had to Be Just as Savage See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The UK DVD release has been re-edited to remove all instances of horses being trip-wired. According to the British Board of Film Classification, such a tactic contravenes the 1937 Cinematograph Act (following the carnage of the flying W in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)), which forbids the ill treatment of any animal in the making of a film (although some stuntmen claim that the method can be performed without harming any horses). See more »

Goofs

When the platoon sets out from the fort, Macintosh's Indian girlfriend is watching them depart, with her face half-hidden by the shawl she is holding tightly under her nose. The next shot cuts straight to a close up of her face, but her hands are not in view and more of her face is hidden by the shawl. See more »

Quotes

McIntosh: These horses they're after... you keep 'em tucked away safe. And if the worse comes to it - shoot them.
Sergeant: Shoot them?
McIntosh: Shoot them!
Sergeant: The army don't take very kindly to sergeants shooting their horses.
McIntosh: Maybe so, but they'll take it a lot less kindly then seven Apache bucks riding 'em off.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD version released in Brazil in 2003 by Universal runs only 99 minutes. Burt Lancaster's Indian wife appears merely in the window watching him when he departs. See more »

User Reviews

 
Authentic period piece about the horrors of the Indian wars
30 December 2007 | by RJBurke1942See all my reviews

Robert Aldrich was a director I much admired, directing some of my favorite films: Kiss Me Deadly (1955) – the quintessential Mike Hammer flick – Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967) and others. Now, after missing it for over thirty years, I can now add this one: as a truly realistic and accurate portrayal of what would have happened in one of many skirmishes during the Indian wars of the late nineteenth century.

This is a mature and sometimes grossly horrific account of what Apaches did to settlers and soldiers, and what soldiers did to Apaches. It pulls no punches in depicting how the marauding band of Apaches eviscerate the dead and play sport with the entrails of victims, how they rape and torture wives of settlers, how they torture the men slowly and most cruelly. But, it also shows how soldiers are driven to perform cowardly, and equally cruel acts when retaliating, in the name of justice.

And caught in the middle of this mayhem is young Lt. DeBruin (Bruce Davison) who's given the task of rounding up Ulzana (Joaquin Martinez) and his band of Apaches who left the reservation, stole some horses and began to lay a path of destruction and death across part of Arizona. Being fresh out from military college, he needs help; and so, the fort commander (Douglass Watson) sends the grizzled Army scout McIntosh (Burt Lancaster) along to provide necessary advice and guidance – together with a company of toughened army veterans kept in check by a weary sergeant (the ever competent Richard Jaeckel). Rounding out the 'posse' is the Apache army scout Ki-Ni-Tay (Jorge Luke) who provides the young DeBruin (and the viewer) with insight into the mind of the Apache.

The story resolves to a cat-and-mouse game between Ulzana and his pursuers, each trying to outguess and outmaneuver the other across and through the wide and desolate expanse of the Arizona hills and semi-desert. So, it's as much an entertainment as it is a lesson in the tactics necessary for the soldiers to gain the upper hand. There are some wonderful landscape shots that illustrate just how difficult the task was; and there are moments of sheer brilliance when Aldrich shows Ki-Ni-Tay's on-foot pursuit of one of Ulzana's band, a standout sequence of stealth and suspense.

Throughout all of this McIntosh brings his long experience to bear upon DeBruin's decisions, convincing the lieutenant to set the only trap that would fool Ulzana into making a mistake – McIntosh reiterating many times that "those who make the first mistake" will lose. All too true because things always go wrong with the best laid plans...

Once again, Lancaster shows the master's touch in this role: his crinkly eyes, lined face and quiet voice attesting to a man who's seen it all and who just wants to get a job done and survive another day. Which makes Davison almost perfect as the cherubic – almost angelic – faced neophyte who wants to do well but who also wants to change his world and make it better for all – including the Apache. Such irony...

The only jarring notes were the sometimes-quick cuts (which made me wonder if some scenes had been deleted); and the sometimes-peculiar music sound track that you have to listen to, to understand my point. Otherwise...

Not recommended for children as this film does contain some graphically awful scenes. For all adult fans of the western genre, however, I thoroughly recommend a viewing.


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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

27 October 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ulzana's Raid See more »

Filming Locations:

Tucson, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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