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I own a whole slew of Frank O'Rourke's novels (he's the author of the one they based this movie on); he was a darned good writer and he wrote fairly complex books, like this one. He liked to explore motivations. I can't think of one book he wrote that fit the plotline one usually associates with the standard Western. Moreover, he didn't write about "the West" as the post-Civil War lawless territory so many other authors did; one of his most interesting is "The Shotgun Man," about the Pancho Villa period along the Mexican border.


Addendum: he also wrote "A Mule for the Marquesa," which was turned into the movie The Professionals.

Kevin Wolf

I've never heard of this movie. Must look it up.

1950s westerns are among the most interesting films in American movies. I do think, though, that The Searchers is overrated. It's about 50% great western stuff (with a better than expected John Wayne performance) and 50% dumb John Ford hokum.


For what it's worth, Rio Arriba is the name of a county in New Mexico. Doesn't mean that it was supposed to take place there but it could.


I see Lance edited my addendum to link to the second movie. That one contains one of my favorite movie lines of all time. Marvin's character is talking to Bellamy's character and has just been called a bastard. Marvin says: "Yes sir. In my case an accident of birth, but you, sir, are a self-made man."


Naked Spur, yes!!!! One of the most underrated westerns of all times. Perhaps one of the most neglected films of any genre.

Nice appreciation of The Bravados, Lance.


Naked Spur is indeed an incredible movie, especially since it had Robert Ryan in one of his greatest performances (as well as Ralph Meeker in one of HIS best performances).


I promise to see The Bravados (always glad to hear of a good Western), but you must see The Gunfighter. Peck's best performance in my view, better than Atticus.

Kevin Hayden

Gregory Peck is one of less than a handful of actors that I've ever been able to say: I don't think he made a bad film in his career, because no matter what it was, Peck made it worthwhile if only for his performance.

Excellent review, Lance, and now I hafta go rent Naked Spur.

Exiled in New Jersey

I saw The Gunfighter at age eight, and it stuck with me for forty plus years until I rented it and was amazed by it again. By that date I could only remember the ending, and when I watched it again, I patted the 8-year old myself on the back for sitting through this story not crammed with action. Rent it, Lance.

Leah A

Naked Spur is available, as of yesterday, on a newly released DVD, which means rentals of it will probably be available.

Another interesting black & white 20th Greg Peck western not as well known as "The Gunfighter," is Yellow Sky, which I believe is already on DVD. Wm Wellman directed, Widmark and Anne Baxter co-star with Peck. An interesting oddity of the film, no music on the sound track, if memory serves. Particularly notable, one scene in which Peck and Baxter, portrayed as a tough cookie in dusty jeans, have a physical tussle; as expected, Peck wins, but the usual sexual heat of such moments, when the dominant male physical dominates the scrappy female, is undercut by a single hilarious line.

Wonderful discussion of The Bravados; always love it when you talk about movies. And everything else you choose to talk about, of course.

Exiled in New Jersey

While you are out renting Naked Spur, Gunfighter and others, find Lonely Are The Brave, a 1962 western that Kirk Douglas thought was his best film. You have a wonderful knack for moseying around Western movies.

RN bows

Is the young child that portrayed Pecks daughter, still acting as an adult? Thanks RNB

Scott D

Great review, particularly noting the very straightforward presentation of life in the Latino Southwest as being, well, unabashedly Latino. The dialogue in Spanish was not subtitled, thankfully. Peck appears to actually have spoken his lines from more than memory.

The non-Anglo characters were not one-dimensional. That seems far ahead of its time for still-segregated America in 1958, as does the movie's very un-1950s themes of reckless male violence that leads to rape (the one not scene and the one almost perpetrated). Also of note is that the violence here isn't minimalized; it has a raw feel; we see what damage happens when a man is killed at close range. The knife attack on the sheriff has a peculiar nastiness to it that seems out of place for its time.

It would have nice to know where the film was shot. I agree with the the reviewer that the framing was crisp. I think the cinematography was superb, giving full license to the outstanding scenery chosen for the setting. I just wish I knew where that scenery is located. I would go there in a heartbeat.


who played pecks daughter in the bravados?

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