Karl Westover, an inexperienced farm boy, runs away after unintentionally killing a neighbor, whose family pursues him for vengeance. He meets Barbarosa, a gunman of near-mythical proportions, who is himself in danger from his father-in-law Don Braulio, a wealthy Mexican rancher. Don Braulio wants Barbarosa dead for marrying his daughter against the father's will. Barbarosa reluctantly takes the clumsy Karl on as a partner, as both of them look to survive the forces lining up against them.Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This independently financed movie was picked up by Universal Pictures when they acquired Lord Lew Grade's ITC/Associated Film Distributors (AFD) which got sold when they went bust after the box-office failure of Raise the Titanic (1980). Reportedly, the pictured got pulled from theaters in some territories when AFD was sold. The film was one of two westerns that Universal inherited from ITC/AFD, the other was The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981). Both flopped at the box-office. See more »
(at around 1 min) Willie meets Gary for the first time with his gun drawn on him. Seconds later a gunman charges Willie and Willie has to draw his gun to shoot the man down. See more »
Drop those saddlebags and help me up, dammit!
[Karl drops the bags over the cliff]
Why'd you drop them down there?
Well, you said to drop them and help you!
We already been down there!
[Rain starts to fall]
Why don't you go ahead and just rain on me then?
See more »
The title role of Barbarosa is played by Willie Nelson and he's a former Texas Ranger turned outlaw who's on the run from his various crimes and from his in-laws who don't like him very much. They resent this Anglo marrying into their family and family patriarch Gilbert Roland got his leg shot off while trying to break up that marriage. He's lost several other family members in trying to kill Nelson to avenge that.
But Nelson picks up Gary Busey a farm kid on the run from a feud himself because he accidentally killed his brother-in-law. Busey takes up with Nelson and his outlaw ways and the two become an amiable pair.
Judging by the other reviewers Barbarosa seems to have a bit of a following. I wouldn't call it great by any means, still it's certainly entertaining enough for the discriminating western fans.
Barbarosa's significance to me is that it is the farewell performance of Gilbert Roland whose career went back six decades into the silent era when he was touted as a would be Valentino successor. His career never quite fit that mold, but he was always a favorite of mine. The part as the family patriarch is not the usual carefree, but tough Gilbert that we usually see. He's an understandably bitter man in this film and it was a good performance to go out on.
Western fans won't mind this one and Nelson and Busey have a nice chemistry between them.
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