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McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)



Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 8,193

My Rating

Movie Info

Memorably described by Pauline Kael as "a beautiful pipe dream of a movie," Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller reimagines the American West as a muddy frontier filled with hustlers, opportunists, and corporate sharks -- a turn-of-the-century model for a 1971 America mired in violence and lies. John McCabe (Warren Beatty) wanders into the turn-of-the-century wilderness village known as Presbyterian Church, with vague plans of parlaying his gambling winnings into establishing a fancy

Jun 4, 2002

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (41) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (4) | DVD (13)

A period story about a small northwest mountain village where stars Warren Beatty and Julie Christie run the bordello, the production suffers from overlength; also a serious effort at moody photography which backfires into pretentiousness.

September 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Still Robert Altman's best moment, this 1971 antiwestern murmurs softly of love, death, and capitalism.

September 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A pioneering film, in both senses of the word, and one of the key works in the American cinema of the 1970s.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I don't automatically object to contemporary allusions, but I prefer to find them myself, and McCabe and Mrs. Miller is so busy pointing them out to us that the effect is to undercut its narrative drive and the dignity of its fiction.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie haunts you like a ballad whose tune you remember but whose words hang just beyond reach. And like listening to a ballad, we know the outcome of the events we're watching was foretold long ago, but we're helpless to do anything but surrender.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Robert Altman has made a dozen films that can be called great in one way or another, but one of them is perfect, and that one is McCabe & Mrs. Miller.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"...less a deromanticized Western than an emasculated one."

June 16, 2014 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

A sort of feminist Deadwood

May 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemania

Altman's warmest, most lyrical masterwork doesn't so much scrap the mythology off the Western as invent a folkloric form of its own

December 17, 2012 Full Review Source: CinePassion

A surprise departure from modern-sensible ensemble maestro Robert Altman.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

The film invites the sort of active participation that defines the best, most personal criticism of the arts.

January 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

A bleak, beautifully mounted, elegiac film.

September 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Altman's capacity for fashioning an oddball romance without defeating the tough political implications of the story make this one of the greatest of all westerns and a key work in American cinema.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

If anything, Robert Altman's self-styled "anti-western" looks even richer, stranger and more daring than it did when it first appeared back in 1971.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian

A poetic, slow-burning tale of America's pioneering past, it's an off-beat western and one of Altman's finest films.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Cast and director come together a treat in a fascinating attempt to revise the western that satisfies visually, emotionally and intellectually.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

They say that great actors are never knowingly caught acting; Altman's best movies are similarly effortless - experiences to be lived in, rather than simply watched.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Diferente em ambientação, tom, textura e ritmo, é um western que só Altman poderia realizar, concentrando-se na humanidade de seus personagens e suas ambigüidades de maneira tocante, profunda e poética sem jamais nos deixar perder o interesse.

November 28, 2006
Cinema em Cena

One of Robert Altman's two or three best films, this elegiac, revionisit Western reflects the director's cynical view of free enterprise and the American Dream; Warren Beatty and Julie Christie give top-notch performances.

June 15, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Altman before he went weird.

December 21, 2004
Greenwich Village Gazette

Altman and cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond present the film in grainy browns, as if the film were painted on a fence, and the endless white snow has never felt more textile, or more appropriate.

November 15, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A grim and dirty slice of bleak frontier life rendered with extraordinary beauty.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for McCabe & Mrs. Miller

A poetic, engrossing tale of Darwinism accelerated by pioneer-era capitalism and firearms, as well as a fascinating insight on the industry of prostitution and the fostering of the American Dream. This movie is yumyumyumyum.
January 6, 2013
Kevin Cookman

Super Reviewer

Set during the turn of the century in the Pacific Northwest in the small mining town of Presbyterian CHurch, this is the story of an enigmatic gambler and rumored gunfighter named John McCabe who shows up in town with the plan of creating civic progress and economic gain by running a brothel/gambling parlor/bath house. He gets help from an experienced and classy madame and opium addict named Mrs. Constance Miller. Their business partnership proves quite successful, and all seems well until business rivals arrive to pressure McCabe into selling out to them, something he has no interest in doing.

Robert Atman was an interesting filmmaker, and this is likewise a very interesting project. Being made in the early 1970s, it is one of many revisionist westerns from the era, a nie group of films that sought to demythologize the Old West, eschew genre conventions, and inject contemporary sensibilities and beliefs into things.

This is some really good stuff, and it's definitely a stand out little film in the genre. It's moody, atmospheric, and fits Altman's naturalistic and loose style quite nicely. One of its few faults is that it is a tad too slow and meandering at first, but once things get going, the results are pretty fantastic. It was filmed on location in Vancouver, and Vilmos Szigmond's cintmatography is absolutely brilliant and stunning. He gave the film a unique old timey look by fogging the lenses and using various filters while shooting instead of doing it all in post, and the result is a film that really makes you feel the cold, dirt, grit, and environment. It's a wonderfully realistic portrait that he and Altman paint.

The tunes are handled by Leonard Cohen, and they too fit perfectly. I've always felt that his music works best when listened to on chilly fall and winter days, and, since part of the film does take place during winter, I was not disappointed. Besides being a little too loose and slow, I could have used a bit more development and backstory for the characters. Julie Christie is really good though, and seeing Warren Beatty with a beard is awesome, especially since his performance is also pretty strong. I'm not as familiar with the show Deadwood as I should be, but I can definitely see this film being a strong influence.

All in all, this is really good. I don't think it's absolutely perfect like some do, but at the same time, I get the sense that this is one of those films that probably needs multiple viewings for it to be fully appreciated, and that it probably does get better with each watch. As it stand for me though, I give this one a strong B+.
November 17, 2011
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Altman's take on the "western" genre is a classic. With great performances and a soundtrack featuring the songs of Leonard Cohen.
October 27, 2011
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Movies Like McCabe & Mrs. Miller

    1. John McCabe: If a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass so much.
    – Submitted by Mark B (15 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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