Sunday, Sep 2020
Director: Richard Brooks
Length: 131 mins.
Released: 1975

bite the bullet movie posterIf you like horses you may enjoy this movie. BTB features walking horses, running horses, horses in slow motion, horses jumping, horses falling, .... Unfortunately, the film offers little else. The story is of a 700 mile horse race across the west (along a railroad line). Gene Hackman, James Coburn, and Ben Johnson are grizzled cowboys hoping to win the $2000 prize. The race begins and at times seems like it will never end. BTB is like one of the Cannonball run movies without Sammy Davis Jr. or the wackiness. It is an attempt at a Western Around the World in 80 Days. BTB is lacking in many areas. It has so little to say (literally) that it would be a challenge to find a modern movie that has fewer spoken words per minute. It is comprised of repeated sequences of horses doing what horses do in Westerns. Further, damaging the film is an absurd side plot that involves Candice Bergan trying to break her husband (lover?) from a chain-gang. The gang happens to working along the route of the race. Regardless, there are a couple of things worth noting in the movie. The scenery is spectacular. And in one scene, James Coburn and Gene Hackman must resort to riding in a motorcycle with a sidecar (Hackman rides bitch). This sequence holds the only good laugh of the movie.

Calling this movie a Rough Ride is generous. It is hard to imagine just how bad this movie would be if Gene Hackman, James Coburn, and Ben Johnson had not starred.

Cast:

  • Gene Hackman.... Sam Clayton
  • Candice Bergen.... Miss Jones
  • James Coburn.... Luke Matthews
  • Ben Johnson.... "Mister"
  • Ian Bannen.... Norfolk
  • Jan-Michael Vincent.... Carbo
  • Robert Donner.... Reporter
  • Jean Willes.... Rosie
  • Mario Arteaga.... Mexican
  • Dabney Coleman.... Jack Parker
  • John McLiam.... Gebhardt
  • Robert F. Hoy.... Lee Christie
  • Jerry Gatlin.... Woodchopper
  • Sally Kirkland.... Honey
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