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Shoot the Sun Down (1978)

PG | | Drama, Western | 1978 (USA)
Couple of strangers arrive in a small town, each one after a different thing.


David Leeds




Cast overview, first billed only:
Margot Kidder ... The Woman
Geoffrey Lewis ... Scalphunter
Christopher Walken ... Mr. Rainbow
Bo Brundin ... Captain
A Martinez ... Sunbearer
Ivan Naranjo Ivan Naranjo ... Delaware
Bert Santos Bert Santos ... Angel
Sacheen Littlefeather ... Navajo Woman
Jorge Cervera Jr. Jorge Cervera Jr. ... Lieutenant
Michael Eiland Michael Eiland ... Shipping Agent
Don Hann Don Hann ... Barber
Phil Haozous Phil Haozous ... Apache Leader
Robert McVay Robert McVay ... Amos
Michael Melton Michael Melton ... Durango
Sam Montoya Sam Montoya ... Outlaw Leader


Couple of strangers arrive in a small town, each one after a different thing.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

scalp hunter | See All (1) »


In 1836 the American West was a burning desert awash with bushwackers, scalphunters and adventurers in search of forgotten gold . . . See more »


Drama | Western


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Sacheen Littlefeather had a minor role as a Navajo woman who was a love interest for Mr. Rainbow, but her scenes were cut from the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

An earlier version was in limited release in the U.S. in 1978. See more »

User Reviews

The vultures are circling...
10 April 2020 | by lost-in-limboSee all my reviews

Not just the protagonist, but also "SHOOT THE SUN DOWN". There's not much to this creaky, workmanlike western with minor offbeat strokes. A British sea captain and his accompanying lady (though there's more to their relationship) are on a quest to find the lost treasure of Montezuma, where along the way to Santa Fe they're joined by a wandering stranger and a small posse led by a conniving scalphunter.

Watch it for the cast (Christopher Walken, Margot Kidder & Geoffrey Lewis), but even then they don't look all that interested either. Actually, I would make Lewis the exception. Without his smarmy performance as the scalphunter it would be quite a slog to sit through. With the likes of a pre-stardom Kidder and Walken (who later that same year go onto acclaimed films; "SUPERMAN" & "THE DEER HUNTER"), you could see why it was fairly obscure at the time. On the other hand it's the lackadaisical experimental style that might have alienated it up until this day.

The influences are obvious; where it seems to want be some sort arty western (without the art) executed in a minimalist style of Monte Hellman, but also there's a spaghetti western within wanting to break out. Sadly it's not as exciting as it sounds, where I think the music composer was confused to what type of western he was scoring. It's very plodding and overly talky for most part in its attempts of a meditative sort of character-mood piece. The script however, is just too shallow and uninteresting in the details to make it work. When comes to the shootouts, there's little of it and it's staged in a rather scratchy manner. It's not until the backend when it gets a little interesting with an unexpected downbeat sense of closure.

As for Walken, he spends some time channeling Eastwood's dry, loner bounty hunter persona, but also one with principals and even a romantic interlude. His attire however looked more like a costume getup, than anything authentic. The same can't be said about the picturesque backdrops of New Mexico and Texas.

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Release Date:

1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Rainbow See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (VHS)

Sound Mix:



Color (CFI)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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