The Missouri Breaks

1976

The Missouri Breaks (1976)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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A rancher, a rustler, and a regulator face off in Arthur Penn's eccentric western. As a cover for their horse thievery, a gang of Montana rustlers, led by the laid-back Tom Logan (Jack Nicholson), buys a small farm adjacent to the ranch of their latest target/nemesis, Braxton (John McLiam). When the gang leaves Tom on the farm and heads to Canada for another score, Tom takes a shine both to farming and Braxton's rebellious, strong-willed daughter, Jane (Kathleen Lloyd). The slightly loco Braxton, however, hires the psychopathic regulator Lee Clayton (Marlon Brando) to root out the rustlers. With a series of unorthodox methods (and costumes), Clayton hunts down Logan and his gang one by one, even after Braxton fires him, but Logan isn't about to let Clayton (or Braxton) make him obsolete. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Missouri Breaks

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (3)

A Western-as-capitalist-critique piece shanghaied by Marlon Brando's eccentric bounty hunter trying on brogues, mumus, and buckskin Nudie suits.

Nov 12, 2008 | Full Review…

As a film achievement it's corned beef and ham hash.

Jun 24, 2008 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

Enjoyable, if forgettable, New Hollywood shtick.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Although the general western flavor of the film seems all right, an air of pastiche is never far off, as if this were really a western made not by Arthur Penn but by Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Aug 15, 2018 | Full Review…

... worth seeing if only for the madness of Marlon Brando ... it's not hard to see why some charge him with sabotaging the film with a genuinely bizarre performance

Jan 4, 2015 | Rating: 79/100

Interesting, even if not cohesive, Brando & Nicholson western.

May 10, 2007 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for The Missouri Breaks

Who would think that a movie with two of the greatest actors ever would be so horrible? I saw this one on TV, and it was so incredibly slow and boring, I couldn't watch the whole thing.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

This goes from being a very odd movie to a very good movie about half way in, which is actually why it's so interesting. Jack Nicholson really gives the better performance here, both his character and mannerisms are so natural and deeply thought out. Marlon Brando essentially went crazy for his role, which ends up being more scary than funny in the end. I really like the twist sense of mortality and the way murder is such a big part of the story. When the characters meet their fate, it's hardly glorious. It reminds me of what Clint Eastwood later played with in Unforgiven.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

½

This is such a peculiar movie... it should have been great, considering the dynamic and powerful combination of actors under the direction of Arthur Penn. But it's a distant, sometimes tedious picture that I only enjoyed for the colorful, creative performances from Brando and Nicholson. As a huge fan of both actors, I liked watching the movie. I would assume that most viewers would not.

Mike T.
Mike T.

Super Reviewer

Jane Braxton: Are you an outlaw?

Tom Logan: I'm a jackpot farmer with one milk cow and a hundred-square-foot patch of vegetables.

Jane: Then how come you have so many guns?

Tom: Because I'm a sportsman.

Jane: Why do you have a sawed-off shotgun?

Tom: Because I'm a sawed-off sportsman.

And speaking of Marlon Brando, I was just thinking about what I'd said with regard to On the Waterfront not being Brando's greatest movie, and I was thinking about The Missouri Breaks, and I flip the channel to Turner and lookie here: The Missouri Breaks is showing. I call it fate.

The supremely gifted Brando plays the "eccentric" gunslinger frightfully well here. Reading cue cards because he didn't want to memorize lines anymore . . . Whatevahs. I don't know if he was on a chocolate and lasagne high when he was making this movie, or if he was just plain off his rocker, but he climbs to the heights of bizarre-dom in this plum role. And I definitely mean this in a good sense. The word "lurid" comes to mind, for some reason. Yeah, lurid, that's a great adjective, I think, and, well, he is so darn real as this psychotic killer, that he literally scares the chitterlins' outta me every time I watch this. The scene where he . . . executes Harry Dean Stanton is maximally spine chilling.

Flixsters, I caution you in all seriousness, please make note to beware if anyone ever tries the old "round this time of year, Indian summer, you can see the star of Bethlehem" routine on you. Be prepared.

Brando's own death scene, at the hands of Jack Nicholson, after expressing a fairly odd affection for his horse, that opening of the eyes to experience death, is un-freakin'-forgettable. Nicholson and Brando, eyeball to eyeball. Never ever to happen again in cinematic history. An amazing historical moment.

Geez! Just the accents coming and going, Marlon Brando, you are extremely creepy. Creeeeepy . . .

You know what woke yah up? You just had your throat cut.

Lanning : )
Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

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