Junior Bonner 1972

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.

92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 24

63%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,004
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Movie Info

When wandering middle-aged rodeo rider Junior Bonner (Steve McQueen) returns to his Arizona hometown, he reunites with his family, which includes his charming, troublemaking father, Ace (Robert Preston), and his ambitious real estate-developer brother, Curly (Joe Don Baker). While Ace dreams of finding his fortune in Australia, Junior is determined to conquer a tough bull named Sunshine by riding it for eight seconds. Can Junior claim victory over Sunshine and stay in the rodeo business?

Cast & Crew

Steve McQueen
Junior "JR" Bonner
Ida Lupino
Elvira Bonner
Ben Johnson
Buck Roan
Joe Don Baker
Curly Bonner
Mary Murphy
Ruth Bonner
Bill McKinney
Red Terwiliger
Sandra Deel
Nurse Arlis
Don "Red" Barry
Homer Rutledge
Joe Wizan
Producer
Jeb Rosebrook
Writer (Screenplay)
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Critic Reviews for Junior Bonner

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (22) | 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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