The unanswerable question

May 6, 2006

Four good guys ride out against assorted bad guys, in a fine Western from 1966. They are hunting down an erstwhile revolutionary colleague, who’s allegedly kidnapped the wife of a wealthy Texan, who contracted them to rescue her, but found she was not really kidnapped, was in love with the revolutionary guy, etc., etc.

It’s a very good film, though overshadowed by The Wild Bunch, to which it is similarly themed.


I liked this bit:

Ehrengard: What were Americans doing in a Mexican revolution anyway?

Dolworth: Maybe there’s only ever been one revolution. Since the beginning. The good guys against the bad guys. The question is — who are the good guys?

And who the bad.



  1. “The unanswerable question”

    “And who the bad”

    How very values neutral and post modern of you, Rob.

    If you really want an answer to the question I guess I could do some reading and help you out.

  2. ‘values neutral and postmodern of you’

    Now that’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day. James, you must not be a regular reader here at TBPoV.

  3. This has always been a personal favorite of mine, Rob – great cast (Lancaster, Marvin, and the much under-rated Woody Strode), and that underlying “people good at what they do getting on with it” feeling (bit like “Rio Bravo”).

    But it’s only like “The Wild Bunch” if you also thing “The Magnificent 7” is like “The Wild Bunch”?

  4. Tony, I think the parallel some critics see is that both films represent a sort of swansong of the cowboy era — horses displaced by motor cars, and all that.

    I find The Professionals, 40 years on, still has an extraordinary freshness, and, yep, great performances, and a terrific soundtrack to boot.

    Still love the final lines:

    J.W. Grant (to Fardan): You bastard!
    Fardan: Yes sir. In my case an accident of birth. But you — you’re a self-made man.

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