Junior Bonner


Junior Bonner

Critics Consensus

A strong central performance from Steve McQueen and absorbingly contemplative direction from Sam Peckinpah make rodeo drama Junior Bonner a classic character study.



Total Count: 23


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,996
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Junior Bonner Photos

Movie Info

Junior Bonner is a rodeo film which for several reasons is more than usually interesting. One is that it is directed by Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch), another is that Steve McQueen plays Junior. The film also features a decent script and a strong supporting cast (Ida Lupino, Robert Preston). Junior has been out of touch with his family for some time. When he returns home to Arizona, he is shocked to discover that his parents are splitting up, and his brother (Joe Don Baker) is making a fortune by selling the family ranch for real-estate developments. He gets a bug in his ear about the local rodeo, and decides to compete, inspiring a brief family reunion in the process.


Steve McQueen
as Junior 'JR' Bonner
Robert Preston
as Ace Bonner
Ida Lupino
as Elvira Bonner
Ben Johnson
as Buck Roan
Joe Don Baker
as Curly Bonner
Barbara Leigh
as Charmagne
Mary Murphy
as Ruth Bonner
Bill McKinney
as Red Terwiliger
Sandra Deel
as Nurse Arlis
Don 'Red' Barry
as Homer Rutledge
Sundown Spencer
as Nick Bonner
Rita Garrison
as Flashy Girl in Bar
Casey Tibbs
as Parade Grand Marshal
Rod Hart
as Himself
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Critic Reviews for Junior Bonner

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Junior Bonner

  • Oct 15, 2008
    Junior Bonner works if you look at it as a bunch of good scenes but as a whole movie its not that great. I would call this more of a Steve McQueen movie than a Sam Peckinpah film (as McQueen's presence for the most part carries it.) Robert Preston and Ida Lupino as McQueen's parents manage to steal every scene they're in (same for Charmagne.) Unfortunately the story never really figures out what it wants to do but the bar fight towards the end was a nice distraction from that fact. It looks like it could be about the death of The Old West for a few minutes but it turned into this goofy, folksy prodigal son kind of thing that turned into a day at the rodeo by default. A lot of little unspoken things are never tied up or explained (the movie wasn't clever, coy or sly enough to give the audience the impression this was done intentionally) and the end just... kind of happened as opposed to having been built up to. I love that Sam Peckinpah did this type of movie, but I just wish it was better.
    Michael G Super Reviewer
  • May 10, 2008
    How much you enjoy the film overall depends on your interest or affection for the rodeo but there are some really fine performances. McQueen is fine but Robert Preston and Ida Lupino really take acting honors as his parents. The scene between them on the stairs is an example of what great actors can do to make characters live on the screen. Something that helps sell the story is that the two of them really look like they could be Steve's parents. A subtle drama of the kind that is rarely made today.
    jay n Super Reviewer

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