Machine Gun McCain (1970)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A hardened criminal learns there's little loyalty on either side of the law in this drama from Italian director Giuliano Montaldo. Charlie Adamo (Peter Falk) is a rough-hewn but ambitious underworld kingpin who has taken control of the West Coast syndicates and wants a piece of the action in Las Vegas. Adamo's boss Don Francesco DeMarco (Gabriele Ferzetti) isn't happy about his plans to take over The Royal, a posh casino and hotel that's owned by the mob, and he's determined to put Adamo in his place. Meanwhile, a handful of young gangsters are plotting to rob The Royal of $2 million, and one of them, Jack (Pierluigi Apra), know just the right man for the job -- his father Hank McCain (John Cassavetes), better known as "Machine Gun McCain," currently serving a life sentence after a crime spree put him in prison twelve years earlier. The mob arranges for McCain to be released, and Jack escorts him to Las Vegas, where he runs into Irene (Britt Ekland), a young woman he meets in a bar and impulsively marries. McCain plans and pulls off an ingenious casino robbery, but he pulled the heist after his backers ordered him to abandon the robbery, and soon he's one of several characters on the run from the law and the mafia. John Cassavetes and Peter Falk struck up a friendship while working on Gli Intoccabili (aka Machine Gun McCain), and it was the first of several films the two actors would make together, most under the direction of Cassavetes, including Husbands, A Woman Under The Influence and Big Trouble.
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Drama
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John Cassavetes
as Hank McCain
Peter Falk
as Charlie Adamo
Gena Rowlands
as Rosemary Scott
Britt Ekland
as Irene Tucker
Gabriele Ferzetti
as Don Francesco DeMarco
Salvo Randone
as Don Salvatore
Pierluigi Apra
as Jack McCain
Florinda Bolkan
as Joni Adamo
Margherita Guzzinati
as Margaret DeMarco
Steffen Zacharias
as Abe Stilberman
Luigi Pistilli
as Duke Mazzanga
Jim Morrison
as Joby Cuda
Claudio Biava
as Barclay
Tony Kendall
as Pete Zacari
Ermanno Consolazione
as Gennarino Esposito
Annabella Andreoli
as Assunta Esposito
James Morrison
as Joby Cudo
Val Avery
as Chuck Regan
Dennis Sallas
as Fred Tecosky
Jack Ackerman
as Britten
Billy Lee
as Pepe
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Critic Reviews for Machine Gun McCain

All Critics (4)

[A] minor, worthy entry [...] Cassavetes, like Gene Hackman, had access to a reserve of energy.

Full Review… | November 15, 2010
Bright Lights Film Journal

(T)his Italian-American crime movie cocktail has some great flavors in the mix, thanks to Cassavetes and to the unraveling chaos that director Montaldo follows to the bitter end.

Full Review… | September 4, 2010
Parallax View

an absorbing mixture of dramatic pathos and criminal intrigue, one of those rare gems of late-1960s international filmmaking that is all but unthinkable today

Full Review… | August 24, 2010
Q Network Film Desk

A noteworthy exploitation gangster B-film shot by an Italian crew in Las Vegas.

Full Review… | June 16, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Machine Gun McCain

Cassavettes stars as the titular character, freed from prison early for use in a convoluted heist. He finds himself less interested in the job that everyone else has planned for him and more in his own agenda, building into some nicely done violence in the final reel. Co-starring a young Peter Falk and the always watchable Britt Ekland, this one is well worth a look. Rent that mother.

Bill Bryant
Bill Bryant

Okay but ultimately pointless foreign lensed actioner. The great Gena Rowlands is in and out of this in under fifteen minutes and still manages to be the best thing in it by far. Peter Falk is similarly underutilized. They and Cassavetes must have signed on to this to get money for one of his independent directoral efforts. Britt Ekland is beautiful but given little to do. If you favor heist movies this is an acceptable time passer but nothing more.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


A bit of a disappointment, this would be a fairly unremarkable euro-crime thriller if it weren't set in Vegas and didn't star Falk, Cassavetes and Rowlands. I'll watch anything with any of those three actors in it let alone all three at the same time. Unfortunately Falk and Cassavetes never meet in the film, and Rowlands is only in it for ten minutes; though she is particularly stunning in this one. As the story falls flat and the characters remain relatively one-dimensional, there's just nothing particularly compelling here. Not to mention that the dubbing is absolutely awful. Then there was the unnecessary serial-like narration that would just sort of cut in at random moments. Still, it's not a horrible film, and it certainly has a few good moments along with a nifty little Morricone score. The times that Rowlands and Cassavetes are on screen together is gold, as usual. It's definitely worth a watch, I just wanted to feel more for the characters than I did.

Aaron Wittwer
Aaron Wittwer

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