Bite the Bullet
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Bite the Bullet

4.0 2
Director: Richard Brooks

Cast: Gene Hackman, Candice Bergen, James Coburn

     
 

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An excellent cast, featuring Gene Hackman, Ben Johnson, and James Coburn, highlights this entertaining Western that came and went at the box office, barely noticed by audiences. That doesn't stop the exciting story from capturing the viewer's attention as a disparate group of riders assembles to participate in a marathon 700-mile horse race across the American West at

Overview

An excellent cast, featuring Gene Hackman, Ben Johnson, and James Coburn, highlights this entertaining Western that came and went at the box office, barely noticed by audiences. That doesn't stop the exciting story from capturing the viewer's attention as a disparate group of riders assembles to participate in a marathon 700-mile horse race across the American West at the turn of the century. The standard mutual feelings of distrust give way to respect and grudging admiration as each rider is put to the test. Stunning cinematography and locations, plus a gripping pace set by director Richard Brooks, set this Western apart at a time when the genre was in decline.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This unique fusion of the western and the race movie is a grand, old-fashioned epic that offers some surprising food for thought. Richard Brooks' script deftly balances adventure and racing-oriented setpieces with nuanced characterizations and thoughtful dialogue that explores how "winning" is a central part of the American ideal. Brooks directs his narrative with a judicious eye, making effective use of sharp cinematography by Harry Stradling, Jr. to convey both the beauty of the landscape and the grueling toll it takes on the racers. Brooks also gets strong performances from a diverse, likeable cast: Gene Hackman excels as the rugged but big-hearted hero - the emblem of the best American qualities that Brooks is using his film to praise - but there is also skillful work from James Coburn as an amusingly roguish racer and Jan-Michael Vincent as a callow young rider who is forced into maturity by the challenges of the race. That said, it is Ben Johnson who captures the heart of the film with his finely-tuned performance as an over-the-hill drifter who pursues the race despite his poor health. His campfire monologue about how one must be a "winner" to be noticed in America is quietly devastating stuff. Finally, it is worth noting that the film boasts a lavish musical score by Alex North that has a sense of grandeur reminiscent of the work of Aaron Copeland. All in all, Bite The Bullet is majestic, rousing entertainment that appeals to both the heart and the mind. It is well worth the time for anyone who wants to enjoy a uniquely American epic.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/02/2002
UPC:
0043396077614
Original Release:
1975
Rating:
PG
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
2:11:00
Sales rank:
6,098

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Hackman Sam Clayton
Candice Bergen Miss Jones
James Coburn Luke Matthews
Ben Johnson Mister
Ian Bannen Norfolk
Jan-Michael Vincent Carbo
Dabney Coleman Jack Parker
Sally Kirkland Honey
Mario Arteaga Mexican
Robert Donner Reporter
Robert Hoy Lee Christie
Paul Stewart J.B. Parker
Jean Willes Rosie
John McLiam Gebhardt
Jerry Gatlin Woodchopper
Walter Scott Steve
Billy Burton Actor
Buddy Van Horn Actor
Joe Brooks Actor
Darwin Lamb Actor

Technical Credits
Richard Brooks Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Robert F. Boyle Art Director
Les Fresholtz Sound/Sound Designer
Chuck Gasper Special Effects
George Grenville Editor
Alex North Score Composer
Al Overton Sound/Sound Designer
Arthur Piantadosi Sound/Sound Designer
Rita Riggs Costumes/Costume Designer
Kay Rose Sound Editor
Tom Shaw Asst. Director
Robert Signorelli Set Decoration/Design
Harry Stradling Cinematographer
Richard Tyler Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

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Bite the Bullet 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This 1975 Adventure seemed to arrive at the theaters and leave without giving movie lovers a chance to develop a following for it. Director Richard Brooks has assembled a cast of journeyman actors that includes Gene Hackman, James Coburn, Candice Bergen, Ian Bannen, Jan-Michael Vincent, Ben Johnson and Dabney Coleman. Set in turn-of-the-century America, a group of disparate riders compete in a grueling 600 mile horse race that covers various terrains and eventually leads to their mutual respect for one another. Filmed in spectacular locales, this Western was a treat and a reward for those who saw it on the big screen before it went to video.