Wild Rovers William Holden

Runtime: 2 hours, 16 minutes
Director: Blake Edwards
Starring: William Holden,Ryan O’Neal,Karl Malden
IMDB: 6.6
Genres: Western
Studio: Warner Bros.
MPAA rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Buy from Amazon


The Ross Bodine and Frank decided to rob a bank and settle in Mexico. The robbery of the bank goes as planned, but at end to the chase far different than they had ever expected.

Great feel for the outdoors!

Overlong, but the wide-screen cinematography (a must-see in letter-boxformat), music score and character relationship of Holden and O’Neal,make this one of my favorite westerns. As a nature-lover, I find theoutdoor scenes, especially the horse-breaking in the snow, among thebest I’ve seen in any western. The cinematography in this scene isbreath-taking, exhilarating and thrilling. The superb and beautifulmusic score by Jerry Goldsmith adds to the overall enjoyment of thisfilm. Please, M-G-M, bring this film out on DVD. It needs to be seen init’s original, uncut, widescreen version so it can take it’s placealong other great western films.

A reflective gem of an Oater.

Wild Rovers is written and directed by Blake Edwards. It stars WilliamHolden, Ryan O’Neal, Karl Malden, Joe Don Baker, Tom Skeritt and JamesOlsen. Music is scored by Jerry Goldsmith and the Panavision/Metrocolorcinematography is by Philip Lathrop.

It’s a Western that not only was butchered by cretinous execs at MGM,but has also proved to be divisive among the Western faithful – thosethat have seen the now thankfully available un-butchered version thatis. Wild Rovers is one of those Oaters that is very much concerned withthe changing of the West, where cowboys start to find themselves out ofplace with their era. Think Monte Walsh/Will Penny/Ride The HighCountry, with a bit of Wild Bunch/Butch & Sundance thrown in for goodmeasure, and you get where Wild Rovers is at.

Some critics were quick to accuse Edwards of merely copying Westernfilms of past, but that is unfair. For this is a loving homage to thosemovies, also managing to be its own beast in the process. The tale issimply of two cowpokes, one aged and world weary, the other a youngexcitable buck, best friends who want more from life, so decide to robthe local bank and flee to Mexico to start afresh. Of course two menand destiny are quite often not the best of bed fellows…

There’s an elegiac beauty to Edwards’ screenplay, with some of thescripted dialogue lyrical and poetic. And yet even though the harshnessof the West, of the life of a cowboy, and the violence that is abound,is deftly pulsing within the story, there’s plenty of dashes of humouras well. This is not a perpetually downbeat movie, slow moving?Absolutely, short on ripper action? Also correct. But as the themes ofheroism and honour, of friendship and folly, are born out, and the manytender sequences draw you in, a pratfall is never far away.

Technically it’s high grade stuff. Holden is superb and he drags O’Nealalong with him to avert what could have been a casting disaster. Theymake a fine and beguiling partnership and both men are turning in someof their best ever work here. The photography of the Arizona locationsis outstanding, with Lathrop (Lonely Are the Brave) managing to addsome ethereal beauty to the story. Goldsmith knocks out a trifficscore, part blunderbuss Western excitement, part intimate pal to alland sundry.

Skip any version that is under two hours, for that is an MGM crime. TheMOD DVD comes complete with overture, intermission, entr’acte and exitmusic, while TCM shows the uncut version but minus the aforementionedroadshow segments. This is not a Western for those looking for aMagnificent Seven style actioner, for as fun as that great movie is,this is an altogether different and mature beast, and it deserves to bebetter known. 9/10

William Holden and Ryan O’Neal rob a bank in the old west

Blake Edwards began by writing westerns, but he mainly did other genreslike comedy (as in the Pink Panther series). Wild Rovers looks like alabor of love for Edwards. He wants to show us the violence, thecomradeship, the conflicts, the whores, the drinking, the horses andthe gunplay, and he does. The sum of its parts is greater than themovie in total, that is, each sequence is very enjoyable, even if theentire tale is nothing special.

Holden is a 50-year old cowhand and the mentor and chum of the 25-yearold O’Neal. This gives them a chance to ponder life and especiallydeath, which is close, exemplified by the random death of a cowhandwhen his horse goes loco. Holden opines that the life of each of usmostly cannot be any other way than what it is, although we have asmall area we carve out. O’Neal sees that Holden has no materialwealth, only dreams. He doesn’t want to end up like Holden. He’d ratherrob a bank. After they rob it, naturally the big rancher (Karl Malden)in the area and their employer wants them pursued. His sons (TomSkerrit and Joe Don Baker) do this.

This sounds like many other westerns, but it isn’t. This movie is allin the sequences, and some of them involve very beautiful scenery, andall are enhanced by Jerry Goldsmith’s music.

There’s a sequence where the men catch a wild horse and tame it. Howmany times have we seen something like that? Edwards writes his versionof poetry in these scenes with slow motion, double exposures, and soon.

Every scene becomes memorable in the hands of Edwards and PhilipLathrop (cinematographer) with able set design and acting helping too,not to mention the film editing. Examples: The initial scene of therovers returning to the ranch; their meal; the patriarch Malden withhis family and later with his wife alone; Moses Gunn the mule trader;Maybell and her whorehouse; the sheriff Dan French being roused from abed with his favorite girl; the shootout between the cow and sheeppatriarchs; Ryan O’Neal’s card game; several shootings; Holden in bedwith his girl smoking a cigar; Holden singing. I could go on. We’ve allseen it before, but this movie gives a fresh take on it all and bringsit to life lovingly.

One of the best westerns ever


I’ve just watched this one last night, and it’s quite an impresssivewesternfrom Blake Edwards, the king of Pink Phanter.Spite the vulgar screenplay, the characters view is fascinating, speciallyWilliam Holden, without his usual and cynical presence. We really care forthat middle aged cowboy and his tender friendship with the young man RyanO’Neal. Together, they pass throw challenges after robbing a bank,includinga scene with a dog, and most important the slowmotion use in the horsescene.The curious thing is that we see two different points of view: from themaincharacters and from the law men chasing them leaded by Karl Malden. Infact,Malden with his wife seems to be a person a bit far away from the story ofthe mov.The mov also stars younger Tom Skeritt and Joe Don Baker, Moses Gunn and ayelling Rachel Roberts.Pretty good western, and I’m not a western fan.

The Mild Bunch

A couple of cowpokes rob a bank on a whim and go on the lam. This is agenial character study that focuses on the relationship between the twocowboys, one older and theoretically wiser and the other a callowyouth. Edwards’ only Western feature is marked by lyrical outdoorscenes and a leisurely pace, allowing characters to develop. In avariation on the character he played in "The Wild Bunch," Holden isexcellent as a man who is nearing his twilight years but has little toshow for his life. O’Neal is surprisingly good as Holden’sanimal-loving partner. The ending is somewhat disappointing but thejourney is worthwhile.

Cowboys corral cayuses, steer steers to Sedalia, and brawl, booze, and bang in beer bar

Best western featuring 2 unprincipled, ignorant saddle bums who decide toleave their employer and rob the local financial repository. Things go wellfor the pair until the willful son of their former boss gets on their trailand absolutely nothing will remove him from it. Tenacious little grubberplayed well by Tom Skerritt. He and his brother chase the bandits across adesert, over mountains, and through the snow until finally they meet inMonument Valley National Park. However, the thieves were a tad worse forwear seeing as they had a little trouble on the way during a friendly littlegame of poker. Except for a couple of sluggish moments this film moved alongright nice like. Good performances, starkly beautiful scenery, and decentdialogue kept my interest all the way through. I especially liked the pokergame scene: it was one of the better played out scenes in the picture.Morbid ending.

Pretty good western.

During the opening credits, the breakfast scene, watch for John Wayneand James Arness. Everything considered, this is a pretty good movie.Photography is first rate and the story interesting, if a bit strainedat times and it takes a little different twist on bank robbery. Somefolks face questions that don’t usually have to be answered in life andsome of the answers surprise even those who have to answer them.William Holden fans will not be disappointed and even Ryan Oneal givesa credible performance. Most old western fans, emphasis on "old", haveendured a whole lot’a Fuzzy Q., Lash, Buster and Wild Bill in youngerdays so the bar isn’t set too high in some cases. But for most of us awestern is still a western! This’n ain’t bad.

Classic western style movie with William Holden

I think this is really a good western. Some might say it’s inferior to mostwesterns, and while it’s definitely not a masterpiece, it’s not that a badentertaining work either. I liked it.

William Holden, as Ross Bodine, and Ryan O’Neal, as youngster Frank Post,work at a ranch as cattlemen for John Buckman, played by Tom Skerritt, butthe two are growing tired of it, and plans are ahead, at least in FrankPost’s head.

It’s more than two hours long (which only makes it better) and things happenmost of the time, that’s what makes it so entertaining. It’s beautifullydirected with some Peckinpah-inspired slow-motion scenes aswell.

I was impressed by Ryan O’Neal indeed as the young cowboy which is takenunder it’s wings by William Holden as the adventure takes off in a littletown in the middle of nowhere.

"Well then, let’s you and me rob a bank."

It’s a given that many Westerns made from the Thirties through theFifties had nothing to do with their titles, but by the Sixties orthereabouts this minor issue was pretty much rectified. Except in thecase of this film. "Wild Rovers" is about the last thing I’d use todescribe this picture of two cowboy ranch hands that decide to take ashort cut regarding their big plan of buying a ranch in Mexico. There’sreally nothing wild here in the way of action sequences, no gallopingposses or drawn out shoot ’em up scenes. There’s a segment that sets upthe finale when Frank Post (Ryan O’Neal) gets plugged in a saloon shootout, but even that’s marred by the can of red paint that’s used tosimulate the blood on his shirt. In short, Frank and Ross Bodine(William Holden) are the most casual pair of bank robbers you’ll everrun across in any genre, to the point where they actually pay off thebank manager for his trouble.

The problem’s not with the cast, though I’ll qualify that somewhat. Asthe aging cowpuncher, Holden’s character exhibits a laid back wisdomthat comes with his years, and in any other vehicle might have been thekind of mentor a younger would-be bank robbing partner could learnfrom. But with that partner being Ryan O’Neal, this thing just doesn’twork. He just looks out of his element here, having already beentypecast to my thinking by roles like Oliver in the prior years’ "LoveStory". I’ll support my argument with that scene where he rolls aroundin the snow while Bodine breaks the wild stallion.

The rest of the supporting players, though competent, are given rolesthat are underdeveloped and fail to grow over the course of the story.For example, young Johnny (Tom Skerritt) seems to be the favored son ofWalt Buckman (Karl Malden) opposite brother Paul (Joe Don Baker), buttheir relationship is never given any further explanation. You neverreally have a clear understanding of Johnny’s resolve to bring in Rossand Frank, or his brother’s willingness to let the matter go. VictorFrench as sheriff Bill Jackson was an interesting choice; I don’t thinkI’ve seen him in a Western before and his sense of duty was admirablein between his drinking and whoring with the gals at Maybell’s place.

If you want to put this into perspective, think of Newman and Redfordin their hit film made two years earlier. Lots of humor, great actionsequences, a lively hit song as part of the soundtrack, and a chemistrybetween the principals that made the story a classic buddy flick and agreat Western. When you consider all that, I think you’d have to cometo the conclusion that Ross and Frank are no Butch and Sundance.

Posted in:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.