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Major Dundee (1974)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

66

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 3,344

My Rating

Movie Info

Sam Peckinpah's 1965 feature Major Dundee was recut and rescored for re-release theatrically in 2005, 40 years after its original release. The "Extended Version," as it is known officially, tells essentially the same story as the original but with clearer motivations for the characters (which often seemed vague or obscure in the 1965 edition) and much greater effectiveness. Major Amos Charles Dundee (Charlton Heston) is a West Point graduate who somehow -- it's not clear -- exceeded his orders

Aug 30, 2005

Columbia Pictures

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All Critics (35) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (1) | DVD (14)

Sam Peckinpah's crippled film plays best as a dry run for The Wild Bunch.

October 3, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Giddy-up, Western lovers. This one is worth the return engagement.

June 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
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It's one of those flawed, fascinating films that are somehow more intriguing than many a smooth-cheeked blockbuster.

June 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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No true Peckinpah-lover should pass it by.

May 13, 2005 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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Major Dundee, not a great movie but a great star-driven, big budget 1965 studio western, is back in all its fractured glory and confidence.

April 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's richer and more interesting, partly because some motivations have been cleared up, partly because the music isn't a burden and partly because we now can see that this was all leading to the creation of a truly great film four years later.

April 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Very disappointing Peckinpah western "classic" is not even near such.

March 8, 2008
Video-Reviewmaster.com

An offbeat and sometimes jumbled western adventure film sees Heston as a Union officer in charge of a jail in the Southwest.

August 30, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's an ode to the unstable, explosive force that was Sam Peckinpah, as well as to the powerful studio system that crushed him and kept him down.

September 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Peckinpah's Western, starring Charlton Heston, is compromised due to studio interverence, but it still has merits

June 17, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

This restored version demonstrates is that while it remains an uneven work, it has flashes of brilliance as well as a general air of competence, even elegance in storytelling.

June 11, 2005 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

They don't make movies or movie directors like this anymore.

April 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

The new Dundee plugs some of the story holes but, sadly, it's still a plodding affair that's low on plausible character motivation and compelling action scenes.

April 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Testosterone Valhalla ... This newly restored version proves to be one of the most purely enjoyable, least thorny examples of [Peckinpah's] work.

April 21, 2005 Full Review Source: The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

The restored version becomes a near masterpiece--a most powerful but fragmented western of epic proportions.

April 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...it is still incomplete - permanently so, since crucial scenes were never even shot - and the seams show.

April 14, 2005

Audience Reviews for Major Dundee

I don't know what Sam Peckinpah intended but I'm pretty sure this 'studio edited' discombobulation isn't it. This is a good film that could have been a great one. High on the Richter scale of missed opportunity and unfulfilled potential.

*If you have a choice, watch the 'extended version'. It's still not the film Peckinpah intended us to see but it's a damn sight closer than anything previously available.
October 4, 2009
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Sam Peckinpah?s early, flawed, epic about a Union Major running a prison camp in the New Mexican front late in the civil war, who enlists Confederate prisoners in order to go after a renegade Apache. The film fell victim to immense studio tampering, it had its budget cut in half from the beginning, they gave Peckinpah pressure throughout the production, and they took the whole film away from him during the editing. As such we?re left with a Magnificent Ambersons situation of a movie with extensive lost footage; the full vision of what it could have been is unknown. The cut on DVD right now has been restored as much as possible, but it?s still not complete. What remains is a film that feels fractured and held together by a tacked on voice over. The film is still watchable, and the underlying concept of Union and confederate soldiers working together is quite interesting, one can see a story about a fractured America forced to unify somewhere below the surface. That said, not all of the movie?s problems can be pinned on the studio. The film?s visual style, while perfectly competent, is not anywhere near the heights achieved by Peckinpah?s other works, and the occasional night scenes are poorly lit making it hard to make out what?s going on.
December 22, 2008
Dracula787
MJS MJS

Super Reviewer

Great cast, Heston and Harris are good together. Good story and fun to watch,but formulaic and bad uneventful ending.
April 28, 2008
codyfranklin2

Super Reviewer

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