The Professionals (1966)
IMDB Rating 7.5/10 123 min - Rated 15 Western | Adventure
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan Director: Richard Brooks
The Mexican-US border 1917. Four mercenaries — an explosives expert (Lancaster), a sharpshooter and tracker (Strode), a horse handler (Ryan) and one skilled in tactics and weaponry (Marvin) —are hired by a wealthy Texan oil baron (Bellamy) to rescue his wife (Cardinale) from a Mexican revolutionary hero (Palance) who has kidnapped her. They make their way across the treacherous landscape to Mexico, carry out the rescue only to discover that she does not want to return. One of the most financially successful Westerns of the 1960s, (grossing almost $9 million in domestic rentals), it was, despite its 2-hour length, tightly directed and written by Richard Brooks. He also managed to integrate serious themes of loyalty and the need for personal ethics, with a great deal of slam-bang action and humour, while cynicism gives way to romance. The magnificent four — Lancaster, Ryan, Marvin and Strode — present us with four complex and flawed personalities. It all takes place against stunning landscapes. Conrad Hall's cinematography brilliantly evokes the mountains, the ochre-coloured desert and heat that our heroes have to conquer. The atmosphere, plot and setting obviously influenced Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, three years later.