Nevada Smith


Nevada Smith

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 8


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,256
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Movie Info

Henry Hathaway's film is based on a character from Harold Robbins' The Carpetbaggers, who, in turn, based it on cowboy actor Ken Maynard. Set in the West of the 1890s, the film opens with the torture and murder of the parents of Max Sand (Steve McQueen) by a trio of gunslingers seemingly motivated by their hostility toward the mixed nature of the marriage, since the wife is a Native American. Swearing revenge, the young cowhand enlists the help of itinerant gunsmith Jonas Cord Brian Keith, who teaches him how to shoot while counseling against revenge. Nonetheless, Sand doggedly scours one town after the other before finally running up against one of the murderers, Jesse Coe (Martin Landau). He finally kills Coe in a vicious knife fight, but is severely wounded himself and has to be nursed back to health by Neesa (Janet Margolin), a young Kiowa woman. He next heads for Louisiana where another of the murderous trio, Bill Bowdre (Arthur Kennedy), is serving a prison sentence in a remote swamp. In order to get close to the man, Sand stages a robbery, and is soon among the prison inmates. This was the only film on which McQueen worked with Landau, the only other person admitted to the Actor's Studio out of thousands of applicants in 1957. ~ Michael Costello, Rovi

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Steve McQueen
as Nevada Smith / Max Sand / Fitch
Karl Malden
as Tom Fitch
Brian Keith
as Jonas Cord
Arthur Kennedy
as Bill Bowdre
Raf Vallone
as Father Zaccardi
Pat Hingle
as Big Foot
Martin Landau
as Jesse Coe
Paul Fix
as Sheriff Bonnell
Gene Evans
as Sam Sand
Josephine Hutchinson
as Mrs. Elvira McCanles
John Doucette
as Uncle Ben McCanles
Val Avery
as Buck Mason
Lyle Bettger
as Jack Rudabaugh
Bert Freed
as Quince
Merritt Bohn
as Riverboat Pilot
Sandy Kenyon
as Bank Clerk
Ric Roman
as Cipriano
Stanley Adams
as Storekeeper
George Mitchell
as Paymaster
John Litel
as Doctor
Ted de Corsia
as Hudson, Bartender
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Critic Reviews for Nevada Smith

All Critics (8)

Audience Reviews for Nevada Smith

  • Aug 02, 2016
    Solid, interesting, and unusual Western. The biggest problem is the casting. McQueen hands in an excellent performance, but he is supposed to be much younger than he is, and it doesn't quite work. Acting, directing, soundtrack, etc., are all top flight. If you like Westerns you'll probably enjoy this.
    Morris N Super Reviewer
  • Sep 24, 2010
    A fine Western with a revenge of the title role that is actually a strong and revealing study of the regeneration of one man. At age 36, Steve McQueen is a bit hard to believe as a 'kid'. The story obviously spans many years in Max Sand's life and if the writers had played this up more McQueen's age would not have mattered. Even showing Max and Alex Chord in a winter setting followed by spring, something to show an extensive passage of time would have helped make McQueen's age more fitting. A superb cast of supporting actors backs up McQueen. Brian Keith is the perfect father figure who takes Max in and teaches him to use firearms and tells him about life and how to find the men who killed his parents. Suzanne Pleshette cannot be made to look bad no matter how hard the make up department tries. Even dirty and sweaty in the swamp, her natural beauty and class shine. These traits and her unique voice and soft movements steal any scene she is in. She almost upstages McQueen. Martin Landau, Arthur Kennedy and Karl Malden are as bad as any movie villains I ever saw.
    Dean M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2010
    Mediane western.A story of revenge and violence when Max Sands(Mcqueen) goês
    Andre T Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2009
    Good if a bit overlong western with Steve, oozing charisma, acquitting himself well as he changes from callow youth to hardened gunslinger. A great supporting cast helps immeasurably with Suzanne Pleshette standing out bringing a gruff sexy charm to her too few scenes.
    jay n Super Reviewer

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