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

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Reviews

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August 28, 2017
Excellent. My favorite Peckinpah so far. Everything it has to say just works so well for me. Oats' doomed mission, and how he handles it, is so perfectly done.
August 13, 2017
This is the only movie directed by Sam Peckinpah where he had final cut and did not have any studio post production tinkering (thought after the success of "The Wild Bunch" he was offered and declined a chance to re-cut "Major Dundee"). Interestingly, "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" is probably one of Peckinpach's most divisive films among his fans. A masterpiece to some and an indulgent mess to others. I fall in line with the former and believe Garcia stands right alongside "Ride the High County" and "The Wild Bunch" as arguably Peckinpah's best film (though there is something so personal and autobiographical about "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" that I very nearly want to call that a masterpiece as well). But to this film in particular, Peckinpah stock company regular, the great Warren Oates, plays a south of the border lounge piano player who hears about a rancher/underworld figure who is offering a million dollars for the head of Alfredo Garcia for impregnating his daughter. Oates' prostitute girlfriend knows that Garcia is already dead and where he's buried, so she and Oates set off on a cross country trip for an easy payday. However, the trip is anything but easy, when the pair encounter biker gangs, rapists, hitmen, and other assorted nastiness. It is not hyperbole to say this film is a pretty rough Grand Guignol. Oates commands the screen as an on the edge character, himself adopting many characteristics of the director, and again proving how badly he should have been given more leading roles. But as I said earlier, if this film divides Peckinpah fans it is certainly not going to please most general audience members and more likely than not will be unbearable for most viewers. There's not a lot you can compare this film to, but I suppose if you enjoyed (although that's really not the right word) "Straw Dogs" or maybe something like "The Devil's Rejects," you might find this film equally rewarding.
April 14, 2017
A passionate masterpiece about self-discovery, soul-searching, and the ultimate failure of alcohol.
January 30, 2017
If you knew Mexico then better than Peckinpah, you might be insulted. It is violent and debauched.
August 25, 2016
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, but gripping. 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.
July 7, 2016
One of the 1001 Movies. All the Peckinpah elements are here, including actors from the Wild Bunch, nearly reprising their roles, and slo-mo shootouts. It wanders around a bit. Definitely a 70s picture. 4 Stars.
July 6, 2016
More romance than expected. In the end, a vengeance story where no one wins.
½ June 19, 2016
Classic action flick from the great Sam Peckinpah and starring Warren Oates. It is essentially a B-movie, but well made and quite entertaining. All action fans need to see this one!
May 28, 2016
A grimy road movie about grave robbing & revenge in modern Mexico.
May 27, 2016
EEESSSHHHH! That was bad. The only mildly redeeming moments were the two final shootouts. Other than that, I hardly knew what was going on and wanted it all to just finish. As boring as they come.
½ May 24, 2016
This nasty little movie has enough style, blood and action to entice a certain audience. I'm clearly not the target audience but I nevertheless enjoyed it.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2016
An uncomprimising vision of life's brutality, and Sam's deepest and most rewarding exploration of what it means to be a man. Sadly not that well known. The purest expression of Sam's recurring thematic meditations on masculinity, and it's got Warren Oates!!!!!! A very rare and special cinematic treat.
January 18, 2016
Greasy seventies! This is Peckinpah
½ August 30, 2015
A washed out, gritty, action thriller with great emotional bits for good measure.
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.
May 13, 2015
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
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!!
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