Review: ‘The Missouri Breaks’

The environment is the Montana headlands of the Missouri River, where pioneer John McLiam is range boss, local political muscle and pretty well master of the territory. Enter Jack Nicholson, leader of the area's horse thieves, out to avenge a colleague's death while facilitating his work by buying a ranch near the McLiam property as a rest stop for stolen horses.

The environment is the Montana headlands of the Missouri River, where pioneer John McLiam is range boss, local political muscle and pretty well master of the territory. Enter Jack Nicholson, leader of the area’s horse thieves, out to avenge a colleague’s death while facilitating his work by buying a ranch near the McLiam property as a rest stop for stolen horses.

Finally comes Marlon Brando, vicious frontier hired gun, engaged by McLiam to ferret out the Nicholson gang.

The trouble with The Missouri Breaks is that one is seriously drawn to it on its upfront elements, but leaves with a depressing sense of waste. As a film achievement it’s corned beef and ham hash.

The Missouri Breaks

Production

United Artists. Director Arthur Penn; Producer Elliott Kastner, Robert M. Sherman; Screenplay Thomas McGuane; Camera Michael Butler; Editor Jerry Greenberg, Stephen Rotter, Dede Allen; Music John Williams; Art Director Albert Brenner

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 126 MIN.

With

Marlon Brando Jack Nicholson Kathleen Lloyd Randy Quaid Frederic Forrest Harry Dean Stanton
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