- Subtitles: English
- Rated: PG
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 1 hours, 32 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: June 4, 2002
- Originally Released: 1972
- Label: Paramount
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 1.85
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
- Dolby Digtal Mono - English
- Interactive Features:
- Scene Selection
- Interactive Menus
Performers, Cast and Crew:
USA Today - 06/14/2002
"...A unique Civil War caper about draft-dodging misfits..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
This tale of friendship and survival set during the days of the 1860s focuses on a roguish group of runaways living by their wits and natural instincts. Two of them in particular are complementary opposites: Drew is a good boy from God-fearing stock in Ohio, out West to evade the draft. Jake is a scruffy scoundrel - a saddle tramp not above a little larceny here and there. Along the trail they encounter a variety of varmints and renegades. And eventually, they find themselves - older and wiser for the journey and friendship. Sensitively and realistically filmed.
Robert Benton's directorial debut stars Jeff Bridges as young con man Jake Rumsey in this highly original Western. After Drew Dixon (Barry Brown), an upright young man, is sent west by his religious family to avoid being drafted into the Civil War, he drifts across the land with a loose confederation of young vagrants. He connects with the entertaining Jake, and they add a couple of others, including Loney (John Savage) and Arthur (Jerry Houser), to a "gang" that is barely surviving in the harsh climate of the West. They have to avoid confrontations not only with professional criminals--such as Big Joe (David Huddleston)--but also from hardened civilians who would kill a young boy for trying to steal a pie. Always outdoors, without as much as one horse among them, they're even at the mercy of the elements. As the boys' tribulations mount, their naive visions of cowboy glory fade, and Drew begins to realize that a life of crime may be his only means of survival.
Though boasting a stellar cast, a strong script, and inspired direction, the film proved a disappointment at the box office, perhaps because of its bleak vision and loose, episodic narrative. The unjustly ignored masterpiece also features an arresting tonal combination of Brechtian irony and absurdist whimsy, as well as brilliant photography by the legendary Prince of Darkness, Gordon Willis (THE GODFATHER, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN), who skillfully utilizes a unique, expressive palette of washed-out grays and browns.
Robert Benton's first feature, an underestimated gem, depicts two Civil War deserters who slowly make their way west, all the time drifting deeper and deeper into a life of crime.
Civil War |
Theatrical Release |
- Screenwriter Robert Benton made his directorial debut with "Bad Company."
- Color by Technicolor.
- Music by Harvey Schmidt.