The Big Gundown

1966

The Big Gundown

Critics Consensus

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TOMATOMETER

Total Count: N/A

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 737
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Movie Info

Jonathan Corbett (Lee Van Cleef) is one of the top lawmen in the State of Texas. He's so good at what he does, that he's been approached by Brokston (Walter Barnes), a wealthy speculator and power-broker, about running for the United States Senate. But there's one job that needs doing first which, if Corbett can finish it, will put him in an unchallengable position -- he has to hunt down and capture (dead or alive, with the emphasis on "dead") Cuchillo Sanchez (Tomas Milian), who's wanted for raping and killing a 12-year-old girl. Corbett does what he does best, pursuing Sanchez relentlessly and on his own level of intense brutality, past the border and into Mexico -- but along the way, Corbett learns what life is like for peasants like Sanchez, and what men like Brokston have to do with it. And he discovers that Sanchez may not be the murderer that Corbett thinks he is.

Cast

Lee Van Cleef
as Jonathan 'Colorado' Corbett
Tomás Milian
as Manuel 'Cuchillo' Sanchez
Luisa Rivelli
as Prostitute of Willow Creek City
Fernando Sancho
as Capt. Segura
Walter Barnes
as Brokston
Ángel del Pozo
as Brokstonm's son-in-law
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Critic Reviews for The Big Gundown

All Critics (4)

Audience Reviews for The Big Gundown

  • Jun 17, 2012
    The plot of "The Big Gundown" is a little thin, centered on a sharpshooting lawman (spaghetti-western stalwart Lee Van Cleef) in pursuit of a Mexican peasant (Tomas Milian) accused of raping and killing a 12-year-old girl. Their passive-aggressive rivalry, bordering on friendship, is the heart of the film. A wealthy man of dubious principle (Walter Barnes) and an icy German marksman (Gerard Herter) are also in the mix, but female characters are in short supply. The incomparable Ennio Morricone supplies the score, though it's mostly variations on a single theme. Otherwise, his most interesting move is a twisted repurposing of Beethoven's "Fur Elise." The Italian version is about 20 minutes longer than the American version. I saw a less-than-optimal edit where the Italian scenes were inserted back into the film, undubbed. (Predictably, most of the cuts fall within the first half-hour or so.) I'd like to see a fully dubbed version someday.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2012
    After having pretty much run out of business opportunities as a bounty hunter and getting no younger, John Corbett(Lee Van Cleef) decides to browse respectability by attending the wedding of Brokston's(Walter Barnes) daughter. While there, Brokston has some business he would like to talk about with Corbett, namely running for Senate where he could protect Brokston's interests including a railroad to Mexico. Corbett responds in the affirmative. But before anything more can be discussed, news reaches them of the rape and murder of a twelve year old girl, committed by Cuchillo Sanchez(Tomas Milian). Considering the heinousness of the crime, Corbett takes it on as a favor but Cuchillo gives him the slip which won't be the last time... With Lee Van Cleef hitting all the right notes, "The Big Gundown" is a great looking, rousing and highly entertaining spaghetti western. That's not to mention the really cool Ennio Morricone score.(Heck, I even liked the opening credits sequence.) Of special interest is the attention given to the battle of wits on display over sheer violence(but relax, there is bloodshed) that goes beyond the Bugs Bunny-Yosemite Sam archetype by taking on the political and historical, not just the personal. The movie is set at a time(1850's?) when the west had been made not only safe for settlers, prospectors and pilgrims, but also a whole different type of criminal. And considering how much thought is given to violence here, one should really not think too much about what Corbett had been up to until now.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 03, 2011
    It's nowhere near as good as its reputation as the fourth greatest Spaghetti Western, but it is indeed a really cool movie. The reason it succeeds is mainly due to Italian superstar Tomas Milian, who is incredible as Cuchillo the knife expert. Lee Van Cleef is essentially playing Colonel Mortimer yet again, but that character is amazing so it's not like there's any need to complain. My problem with this particular movie is that it lacks scope, there was so much potential for a truly epic bit of storytelling. I'd say it's definitely worth watching, but expecting something in league with a Leone or Corbucci classic would be a mistake.
    Conner R Super Reviewer
  • Sep 04, 2010
    Fun western from Sollima. Lee Van Cleef is chasing a sneaky mexican bandit, and in the process meets hot crazy girls, lazy mexican officials and other assorted characters. Soundtrack from morricone, sadly not avialable in a proper R1 DVD.
    Tsubaki S Super Reviewer

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