Breakheart Pass Reviews

  • Dec 26, 2020

    In the 1870s, residents of the garrison at the Fort Humboldt frontier outpost of the United States Army are reported to be suffering from a diphtheria epidemic. A special express train is heading up into the remote mountain ranges towards the fort filled with reinforcements and medical supplies. There are also civilian passengers on the train in the rear luxurious private car – Nevada Governor Fairchild (Richard Crenna) and his fiancée Marica (Jill Ireland), the daughter of the fort's commander. The train stops briefly in the small whistle stop settlement of Myrtle, where it takes on board local lawman United States Marshal Pearce (Ben Johnson) and his prisoner, John Deakin (Charles Bronson), a supposedly notorious outlaw who was identified via a picture in a newspaper advertisement offering a $2,000 (approximately $47,000 today) reward. But as the journey goes on through the beautiful snowy mountain scenery, several train passengers, including most of the train's soldier escort, are mysteriously killed or go missing. Deakin, who is actually an undercover U.S. Secret Service agent, uncovers en route that the "epidemic" at the outpost is actually a conspiracy between a group of killers led by the notorious outlaw Levi Calhoun (Robert Tessier), and a tribe of Indians under Chief White Hand (Eddie Little Sky). Instead of medical supplies, the train's boxcars are transporting a large secret shipment of weapons, rifles, ammunition and dynamite stolen from U.S. arms manufacturers for sale to the Indians, in return for allowing Calhoun and his men to mine and smuggle gold from their lands. Most of the people on the train, including Governor Fairchild and Marshal Pearce, are Calhoun's partners in crime, and those innocents who discover the evidence for his sinister plot are eliminated. Eventually, Deakin narrows his list of possible uninvolved allies down to Marica and Army Major Claremont (Ed Lauter), who agrees to assist the agent in his efforts to prevent the arms delivery... The Los Angeles Times called it "a fun if familiar picture but is played so broadly on such an elementary level that it can hope to satisfy only the most undemanding of viewer." The film was a box office disappointment in the US. "Breakheart Pass" based on the 1974 novel by Alistair MacLean with Charles Bronson in the lead is just a messy western and as exciting as watching paint dry. It simply never lifts from the ground and it´s not entertaining nor enjoyable.

    In the 1870s, residents of the garrison at the Fort Humboldt frontier outpost of the United States Army are reported to be suffering from a diphtheria epidemic. A special express train is heading up into the remote mountain ranges towards the fort filled with reinforcements and medical supplies. There are also civilian passengers on the train in the rear luxurious private car – Nevada Governor Fairchild (Richard Crenna) and his fiancée Marica (Jill Ireland), the daughter of the fort's commander. The train stops briefly in the small whistle stop settlement of Myrtle, where it takes on board local lawman United States Marshal Pearce (Ben Johnson) and his prisoner, John Deakin (Charles Bronson), a supposedly notorious outlaw who was identified via a picture in a newspaper advertisement offering a $2,000 (approximately $47,000 today) reward. But as the journey goes on through the beautiful snowy mountain scenery, several train passengers, including most of the train's soldier escort, are mysteriously killed or go missing. Deakin, who is actually an undercover U.S. Secret Service agent, uncovers en route that the "epidemic" at the outpost is actually a conspiracy between a group of killers led by the notorious outlaw Levi Calhoun (Robert Tessier), and a tribe of Indians under Chief White Hand (Eddie Little Sky). Instead of medical supplies, the train's boxcars are transporting a large secret shipment of weapons, rifles, ammunition and dynamite stolen from U.S. arms manufacturers for sale to the Indians, in return for allowing Calhoun and his men to mine and smuggle gold from their lands. Most of the people on the train, including Governor Fairchild and Marshal Pearce, are Calhoun's partners in crime, and those innocents who discover the evidence for his sinister plot are eliminated. Eventually, Deakin narrows his list of possible uninvolved allies down to Marica and Army Major Claremont (Ed Lauter), who agrees to assist the agent in his efforts to prevent the arms delivery... The Los Angeles Times called it "a fun if familiar picture but is played so broadly on such an elementary level that it can hope to satisfy only the most undemanding of viewer." The film was a box office disappointment in the US. "Breakheart Pass" based on the 1974 novel by Alistair MacLean with Charles Bronson in the lead is just a messy western and as exciting as watching paint dry. It simply never lifts from the ground and it´s not entertaining nor enjoyable.

  • Aug 16, 2020

    in my mind, this is bronson's best film. a jam up good mystery done the old west way.

    in my mind, this is bronson's best film. a jam up good mystery done the old west way.

  • Jul 21, 2020

    I skipped this movie a dozen times thinking it was a typical Bronson Western. But then two Bronson Westerns are masterpieces. This is a just a great story.

    I skipped this movie a dozen times thinking it was a typical Bronson Western. But then two Bronson Westerns are masterpieces. This is a just a great story.

  • Feb 03, 2020

    Charles Bronson is masculine greatness.

    Charles Bronson is masculine greatness.

  • Dec 02, 2019

    My favorite movie of all time! Love it as much today as the first time I watched it. One of the last real "non spaghetti" Westerns.

    My favorite movie of all time! Love it as much today as the first time I watched it. One of the last real "non spaghetti" Westerns.

  • Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
    Nov 08, 2019

    Or Murder on the Orient Express Goes West as a train ride through mountain country in winter turns dangerous as bodies start to go missing mysteriously. Charles Bronson is his usual stoic self, unflappable, heading a cast that doesn't give away any clues as to who done it until the final reel. For my money actually better than the Agatha Christie affair.

    Or Murder on the Orient Express Goes West as a train ride through mountain country in winter turns dangerous as bodies start to go missing mysteriously. Charles Bronson is his usual stoic self, unflappable, heading a cast that doesn't give away any clues as to who done it until the final reel. For my money actually better than the Agatha Christie affair.

  • May 01, 2019

    bronson is one of my heroes

    bronson is one of my heroes

  • Oct 31, 2018

    Charles Bronson is a fine actor who makes it look easy with his calm demeanor and quiet intensity. To be able to make it look easy like he always does underscores his ability. We don't appreciate fine actors like him anymore. The scenery of the movie is sweeping and breathtaking. The supporting actors are experienced on all levels and a credit to the film, especially Charles Durning (playing a train conductor) and Jill Ireland. The chemistry between her and Bronson is real, if not a bit stiff. The plot has been characterized as non complex, simple, and fun...which might be fair, however it is not a bad plot nor is it boring or disappointing. Compare to the meaningless CG movies of today with little real scenery and meaningful dialogue. Enjoy the movie and the ensemble of fine actors. Shortly after this film Bronson was sick with cancer and died. Watching him and appreciating his different, hardworking style makes one appreciate him more and mourn his untimely passing again.

    Charles Bronson is a fine actor who makes it look easy with his calm demeanor and quiet intensity. To be able to make it look easy like he always does underscores his ability. We don't appreciate fine actors like him anymore. The scenery of the movie is sweeping and breathtaking. The supporting actors are experienced on all levels and a credit to the film, especially Charles Durning (playing a train conductor) and Jill Ireland. The chemistry between her and Bronson is real, if not a bit stiff. The plot has been characterized as non complex, simple, and fun...which might be fair, however it is not a bad plot nor is it boring or disappointing. Compare to the meaningless CG movies of today with little real scenery and meaningful dialogue. Enjoy the movie and the ensemble of fine actors. Shortly after this film Bronson was sick with cancer and died. Watching him and appreciating his different, hardworking style makes one appreciate him more and mourn his untimely passing again.

  • Oct 28, 2018

    My personal favorite Bronson film.

    My personal favorite Bronson film.

  • Aug 28, 2018

    Fun western on a train.

    Fun western on a train.