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The Missouri Breaks

The Missouri Breaks (1976)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 2



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 3,767

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Movie Info

A rancher, a rustler, and a regulator face off in Arthur Penn's eccentric western. As a cover for their horse thievery, a gang of Montana rustlers, led by the laid-back Tom Logan (Jack Nicholson), buys a small farm adjacent to the ranch of their latest target/nemesis, Braxton (John McLiam). When the gang leaves Tom on the farm and heads to Canada for another score, Tom takes a shine both to farming and Braxton's rebellious, strong-willed daughter, Jane (Kathleen Lloyd). The slightly loco


Western, Drama, Action & Adventure

Thomas McGuane

Nov 8, 2005


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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (3) | DVD (6)

A Western-as-capitalist-critique piece shanghaied by Marlon Brando's eccentric bounty hunter trying on brogues, mumus, and buckskin Nudie suits.

November 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a film achievement it's corned beef and ham hash.

June 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the few truly major Westerns of the '70s, with a very clear vision of the historical role played by fear and violence in the taming of the wilderness.

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

Enjoyable, if forgettable, New Hollywood shtick.

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

Interesting, even if not cohesive, Brando & Nicholson western.

May 10, 2007

Slightly lacking in tension but with a striking performance from Marlon Brando

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

If Penn failed to ride herd on his two superstars, he still was able to wrangle some sharp observations on the clash between the mythic old West and its reality

November 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

Brando's conversation with his horse, in which he notes that the animal has "the lips of Salome and the eyes of Cleopatra," must be seen to be believed...

November 12, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Brando admittedly improvised quite a bit in his over-the-top role.

July 15, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Although there are obvious flaws, there's a lot to recommend what turns out to be a dark, cynical work with some finely honed character acting from both men.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

This appealingly eccentric revisionist western highlights the critical importance of violence in establishing 'civilized' society in the American wilderness.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: BBC

Audience Reviews for The Missouri Breaks

Who would think that a movie with two of the greatest actors ever would be so horrible? I saw this one on TV, and it was so incredibly slow and boring, I couldn't watch the whole thing.
January 3, 2011

Super Reviewer

This goes from being a very odd movie to a very good movie about half way in, which is actually why it's so interesting. Jack Nicholson really gives the better performance here, both his character and mannerisms are so natural and deeply thought out. Marlon Brando essentially went crazy for his role, which ends up being more scary than funny in the end. I really like the twist sense of mortality and the way murder is such a big part of the story. When the characters meet their fate, it's hardly glorious. It reminds me of what Clint Eastwood later played with in Unforgiven.
August 23, 2010

Super Reviewer

Jane Braxton: Are you an outlaw? Tom Logan: I'm a jackpot farmer with one milk cow and a hundred-square-foot patch of vegetables. Jane: Then how come you have so many guns? Tom: Because I'm a sportsman. Jane: Why do you have a sawed-off shotgun? Tom: Because I'm a sawed-off sportsman. And speaking of Marlon Brando, I was just thinking about what I'd said with regard to On the Waterfront not being Brando's greatest movie, and I was thinking about The Missouri Breaks, and I flip the channel to Turner and lookie here: The Missouri Breaks is showing. I call it fate. The supremely gifted Brando plays the "eccentric" gunslinger frightfully well here. Reading cue cards because he didn't want to memorize lines anymore . . . Whatevahs. I don't know if he was on a chocolate and lasagne high when he was making this movie, or if he was just plain off his rocker, but he climbs to the heights of bizarre-dom in this plum role. And I definitely mean this in a good sense. The word "lurid" comes to mind, for some reason. Yeah, lurid, that's a great adjective, I think, and, well, he is so darn real as this psychotic killer, that he literally scares the chitterlins' outta me every time I watch this. The scene where he . . . executes Harry Dean Stanton is maximally spine chilling. Flixsters, I caution you in all seriousness, please make note to beware if anyone ever tries the old "round this time of year, Indian summer, you can see the star of Bethlehem" routine on you. Be prepared. Brando's own death scene, at the hands of Jack Nicholson, after expressing a fairly odd affection for his horse, that opening of the eyes to experience death, is un-freakin'-forgettable. Nicholson and Brando, eyeball to eyeball. Never ever to happen again in cinematic history. An amazing historical moment. Geez! Just the accents coming and going, Marlon Brando, you are extremely creepy. Creeeeepy . . . You know what woke yah up? You just had your throat cut.
May 30, 2007

Super Reviewer

This is such a peculiar movie... it should have been great, considering the dynamic and powerful combination of actors under the direction of Arthur Penn. But it's a distant, sometimes tedious picture that I only enjoyed for the colorful, creative performances from Brando and Nicholson. As a huge fan of both actors, I liked watching the movie. I would assume that most viewers would not.
November 13, 2008

Super Reviewer

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