Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Reviews

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½ August 30, 2015
A washed out, gritty, action thriller with great emotional bits for good measure.
August 25, 2015
CULT FAVE is the quintessential psycho horror crime thriller. Legend has it it's the only film from great director Sam Peckinpah in which he had 100 percent control. The story is sordid and hard to believe. Warren Oates has a job but he behaves like a desperate drifter, desperate for a little cash so he can settle down with his Mexican girlfriend. Emilio Fernandez, whom I love , basically has the same role he had in the Wild Bunch- that of an excessively powerful and rich evil man with tons of attitude and swagger. When he loudly boasts, "I'll give a million dollars for the head of Alfredo Garcia" , he is taken seriously because he is serious. He wants him dead because he impregnated his virgin daughter who appears to be slightly below the age of consent. That sets in motion this wild, ultraviolent horrific tale of gangsters trying to collect the bounty. Foolish Warren Oates is desperate enough to seek it for a mere 10 grand. Gradually, he realizes it's worth much, much more. He eventually turns psycho, but in a righteous way.
½ August 21, 2015
Rather sordid and violent (in a Tarantino-esque sort of way) revenge flick set in Mexico. I am reliably told it was partly Peckinpah's revenge on film execs, seeing himself in the Oates character and everyone else trying to rip him off as the execs. Quite well made but not a keeper (for me). A film for Donald Trump, perhaps...
½ July 25, 2015
One of those movies where I like it the more I think about it. But actually watching it and dealing with the slow parts makes it less enjoyable to me.
December 28, 2013
As with any film directed by Sam Peckinpah, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia sounded promising.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia maintains many of Sam Peckinpah's iconic elements as a filmmaker, but the narrative is hardly as direct as it should be. Despite what the title suggests and the fact that one of the characters actually quotes it at one point, the problem is that Alfredo Garcia is a man who has already died in a car crash and so any hunt for him would be futile. As a result of this, the story becomes anticlimactic pretty fast upon uncovering this fact. The film finds ways to slowly build up its grit again through building a game about the war for possession of Alfredo Garcia's corpse , but the feature really moves along too slowly. A lot of Sam Peckinpah's films have a slow pace, but the story in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia does not really take a positive turning point until the second act. It ends on a visually appealing note, but the finale feels too much like it is taken from The Wild Bunch anyway. The second half of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is better than the first, but by the time audiences get there the first half has already left things pretty dull.
The narrative in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is hardly that direct. It unfolds like a series of scattered plot points which all borrow familiar elements from superior Sam Peckinpah films without any sense of consistency. It is clearly a Sam Peckinpah film as it maintains elements of his style, but it is hardly one of his better features because the themes are ambiguous. Though the violence and sexuality of many of his films remain, the character study of others is hardly there in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, even though there're is a lot of potential for there to be. There are certain points in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia where viewers get a sense of the progressive madness inside the mind of Bennie, but for us to truly understand it we would have to get some context about who he really is as a person and why he is acting this way. All we know is that Bennie is a former United States Army Officer attempting to make a living in Mexico. Perhaps the ambiguity is intentional for the character, perhaps he is only in search of Alfredo Garcia for the money, but either way I wanted to know more about the character. Audiences learn about him through physical interactions with many intense scenarios, but there is little in the way of insight that we gain into his approach to the complicated tale at the heart of the film. The gritty mood of the story remains engaging, but entangled amidst the overly slow pace and lack of climactic stimulation that worked into more of Sam Peckinpah's gritty pieces. I guess I'm saying the problem is that Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is a low budget film which prevents it from being a massive spectacle, even though it does have visual appeal to it, and as a result it has to focus on more intricate details such as characters and themes. Though the protagonist is interesting, he is not characterized enough and so the best thing we get out of him is the actor's performance and the way he engages with the sporadic action scenes in the film. The action scenes in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia remains impressive because Sam Peckinpah remains the same technical mastermind, he just fails to support it with enough of a story. But either way, his role on the film is beneficial.
The film manages to go a long way on a small budget because the on-location scenery of the Mexican landscape gives a striking sense of gritty realism to the feature, providing the ideal backdrop to the story and giving it an appropriate western thematic. The colour scheme has a distinctively dirty crimson feel to it and the cinematography is appropriately iconic of Sam Peckinpah's works with all the extended shots. The visual experience of the film is effective enough, and it really does come off as genuine even though it is very easy to turn a plot like this into a generic action film very fast.
But the main thing that kept Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia engaging on any level was the leading performance of Warren Oates.
No stranger to working with Sam Peckinpah, Warren Oates brings his gritty acting talents along for the ride in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and gives the story the hero that it needs. He is not precisely characterized perfectly due to the absnce of sufficient narrative context, but either war Warren Oates displays a clear understanding of the character and explores him on a really effective level. Warren Oates loses himself in the madness of the character's mindset and begins the role with a sense of reluctance before slowly putting a greater sense of brimming madness into the part. He develops a more aggressive physicality and a louder voice which becomes all the more striking as his quest for the head of Alfredo Garcia becomes his own descent into the gritty underbelly of Mexico and his own mind. Warren Oates is able to effectively give it his all in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and his performance seems almost like a reflection of the gradually destructive lifestyle taken on by director Sam Peckinpah which would ultimately lead to his career downfall. He is the best reason to watch the film by the end of it, and his performance is strikingly memorable.

So Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia has the credibility of a strong central performance from Warren Oates and Sam Peckinpah's keen eye for imagery, but the slow moving and misleading narrative fails to carry the dramatic heft well enough to really carry well over into modern day.
February 18, 2015
-IGNORE THIS RATING
3/4
Peckinpah's bizarre, bloodthirsty story of an American bartender and his girlfriend and their trip through the Mexican underworld to collect a $1 million bounty on the head of a dead gigolo. Takes a long time getting stared, but once it gets going, it never lets up for a second. Gritty photography, and effective use of locations.
½ October 2, 2014
The head of Alfredo Garcia, the heart of Warren Oates, the soul of Sam Peckinpah... Tough, mean-spirited, and gritty--A lacerating study in corruption, perversion, irony... A manhunt for the ages!!
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2014
Sam Peckinpah's films have always been an intense experience to watch. His style was unmatched by any other filmmaker. The main reason here is the fact that his films have striking images that stick with you. His style has been lauded and dismissed, but you simply cannot deny the power his films have. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is a brilliant, well acted picture that like his previous outings uses a simple idea with stunning performances and unforgettable imagery to really tell a very good story. The result is an impressive Action thriller that moves at a fast pace, and is highly engaging from start to finish. Although not his greatest film, this is still a well crafted film from Sam Peckinpah and it's definitely worth seeing if you enjoy his work. With a great cast at his disposal, he was able to craft a film that has stood out among his filmography, but like I said, it's not his best either. His finest works are Straw Dogs, The Wild Bunch and The Getaway. However, this is still a picture well worth your time, and there's plenty to enjoy in the film. With effective action scenes mixed with the performances, the film is a taut, thrilling, memorable picture that will surely please fans of Peckinpah's work. The film has a few points that could have been improved upon, but overall, it's a well executed picture that is a top notch action film that will surely please genre fans. Not Peckinpah's finest picture, but very good nonetheless. This is an accomplished picture that boasts some fine direction, a good story and effective performances to really make this a unique film experience. Despite its shortcomings, Bring Me the Head of Alfred Garcia is Thrilling cinema.
½ April 28, 2014
In spite of its shamelessly exploitative subject matter and severe lack of refinement, "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" is a sweltering, booze-soaked fever dream of gruesome violence and frantic melodrama, that's both authentically shocking and incredibly entertaining.
½ February 12, 2014
Sam Peckinpah's masterpiece and most personal movie reflects a unique touch and style of cinema. Warren Oates acting is pitch perfect in all parts and the scenes of him and his girlfriend under the tree is one of the most touching scenes in 1970's movies. The action is so well directed and brutally perfect. The use of slow motion is also a great stylistic touch.
rayman0071
Super Reviewer
June 26, 2008
Sam Peckinpah's next to last real masterpiece was also the film that nearly destroy his career as one of Hollywood's most maverick filmmakers both personally and professionally. "Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia" was a major flop upon its original release on August 14, 1974. "Alfredo Garcia" was made while the "Straw Dogs" and "The Wild Bunch" director was debilitated by excessive drug usuge and alcoholism. The film's central frank and controversial subject matter of its strong graphic scenes of explicit violence throughout not to mention strong language and brief nudity were perceived as misogyny,but to this day has a strong cult following in one of the risque' films ever made despite given its black comedy and existential storyline that has been duplicated numerous times in many movies. In the most astounding best performance of his career,the great character Warren Oates(who also starred in Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch",but his resume follows a long list of classics including "In The Heat Of The Night" as one of the most diverse actors of his generation)as an alcoholic piano player who takes his prostitute girlfriend on a road trip through the seedy and dangerous Mexican underworld to collect a huge payday only to be have the titular noggin of the notorious drug lord calling for his reward. Oates and his girlfriend are on the run from the two notorious hencemen(Robert Webber and Gig Young)out to get them not to mention coming to a violent cilmax with the drug lord and the million dollar bounty. Oates literally takes advantage with the head of the dismembered body(in a brown sack) as he seeks vengeance for what he has lost in the quest. It's one of the purest distillations of Peckinpah's nihilistic vision,along with a rare supporting turn from Mexican-American actress Isela Vega as Oates' victimized girlfriend of a prostitute. It may not be out of the best films of 1974,but with some of its action scenes and violent content,it's worth taking a second look.
December 8, 2013
The plot is a bit silly, but the unconventional Peckinpah's direction and some cool character make it pleasant enough to watch.
November 10, 2013
Sendo provavelmente um dos filmes em que Peckinpah melhor demonstra como um dirty job pode também ser uma viagem pelo absurdo, "Bring me the head of Alfred Garcia" tem toda a glória pulp das melhores histórias de violência tipicamente americanas. Com um MacGuffin tão hilariante como é a cabeça cortada de um mexicano e um ator tão disposto a tudo chamado Warren Oates, Peckinpah joga com dois ases numa narrativa delicada e exigente em que a demência e a tensão estão em constante escalada. E há que notar também que a mercadoria e trajecto deste protagonista não serão assim tão diferentes dos que levam Jules Winnfield e Vincent Veja em missão no "Pulp Fiction". Não é um Peckinpah de topo, mas é tão interessante com todos os outros e mete Warren Oates ao volante de um carro, o que por si só são 2 estrelinhas garantidas.
November 10, 2013
By virtue of its title, I went "SOLD!" but then it's also directed by Sam Peckinpah so it's DOUBLE-sold. This is about a rich Mexican crime lord who orders his network to bring the head of the man who knocked up his young daughter and Warren Oates, an American expat, is caught up on it. This one isn't QUITE as lurid or exploitive as the title suggests. Well, it is sort of. There are lots of nudity and violence but Peckinpah actually takes his time to build character and story so when it comes, it was quite satisfying. It mixes absurd dark humor, romance and violence very well. It's pretty darn awesome.
October 9, 2013
"Fermented in a tragic romanticism placed firmly in a no-man's land between liberation and capitalism" In other words, too long. "A profound existential adventure, twistedly comic and openly bitter, brought to life by those two maniacs: Peckinpah and Oates." "The movie is some kind of bizarre masterpiece. It's probably not a movie that most people would like, but violence, sometimes becomes a psychic ballet." Nice cameo by Kristofferson. "For something so bleak, so purposely revolting and unsentimental, there are reservoirs of profound poetry in Alfredo Garcia, the only film that Peckinpah ever considered completely his own."
September 29, 2013
Another 70's nihilistic movie with a downer ending and a existential tone. The first half is boring, but then it picks up.
July 30, 2013
A wonderful time piece that depicts 1970's Mexico City and its surroundings. You don't really start feeling or caring for the characters until movie is halfway through, then it hits really hard.
May 9, 2012
A portrait of noble self-destruction, displayed with all the depravity, seediness and violence that can entail. In other words, director Sam Peckinpah's life story, pretty much. If 'The Wild Bunch' is about the death of the kind of bold, honorable men the Old West was romanticized for, 'Alfredo Garcia' is about the death of the soul under the yoke of commercialism.
July 14, 2013
Choreographic violence, pessimism, suffocating atmosphere; a living hell. This is the most authentic imprint of Sam Pechinpah's bleak universe.
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