The Missouri Breaks

  • 1976
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Western

In the 1970s westerns started to come a little weird, and this one was downright eccentric, although Brando, as a nutty gunfighter, and Nicholson, as a leader of rustlers, are fascinating to watch, if not believable in their disjointed roles. The film opens as a rustler, on ranch baron McLiam's orders, is hanged, no little example for Nicholson, who heads...read more

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In the 1970s westerns started to come a little weird, and this one was downright eccentric, although Brando, as a nutty gunfighter, and Nicholson, as a leader of rustlers, are fascinating to watch, if not believable in their disjointed roles. The film opens as a rustler, on ranch baron

McLiam's orders, is hanged, no little example for Nicholson, who heads a gang of vicious horse thieves. The hanged man, Hunter Von Leer, was Nicholson's friend, and Nicholson intends to avenge the death; but he falls for Lloyd, daughter of the cattle baron, and somehow is persuaded to settle down

to the mundane chores of farming, much to the disgust of his gang. The rustlers carry on without Nicholson's help, raiding McLiam's herds and driving the cattle baron half crazy. He sends for a top gun bounty hunter, Brando, who turns out to be the most unpredictable and outright strangest

creature to ever visit a western movie. To capture one outlaw he takes to wearing a bonnet and dress, and when Nicholson goes to kill him he finds Brando taking a bubble bath, a sight that so jars him that he misses his opportunity to kill him. Brando continues his rampage, destroying all the

rustlers except Nicholson, who manages to finish off the weirdo in the end. The whole thing, script, acting, and especially Penn's heavy-handed direction, is bizarre. Yet there's a perverse joy in watching Brando and Nicholson try to compete with each other in mugging, switching accents, and

mannerisms that could only be found elsewhere in institutions like the Bellevue Insane Asylum. The erratic and exotic behavior of the stars is infectious, with Quaid, Forrest, Stanton, and others mimicking them with slavish devotion.

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  • Released: 1976
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: In the 1970s westerns started to come a little weird, and this one was downright eccentric, although Brando, as a nutty gunfighter, and Nicholson, as a leader of rustlers, are fascinating to watch, if not believable in their disjointed roles. The film open… (more)

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