Ulzana's Raid (1972) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ulzana's Raid (1972)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Set in Arizona in the late 19th century, a cynical scout and an idealistic U.S. Cavalry lieutenant set out to catch a group of Apache renegades lead by the chieftain Ulzana. This drama offers food for thought about American military policies and questions the once-popular American tenets of patriotism and racism.
R (violence)
Action & Adventure , Drama , Western
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MCA Universal Home Video

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Burt Lancaster
as McIntosh
Bruce Davison
as Lt. Garnett DeBuin
Jorge Luke
as Ke-Ni-Tay
Richard Jaeckel
as Sergeant
Lloyd Bochner
as Capt. Gates
Karl Swenson
as Rukeyser
Douglass Watson
as Maj. Cartwright
Dran Hamilton
as Mrs. Riordan
John Pearce
as Corporal
Gladys Holland
as Mrs. Rukeyser
Margaret Fairchild
as Mrs. Ginsford
Aimee Eccles
as McIntosh's Indian Woman
Richard Bull
as Ginsford
Otto Reichow
as Steegmeyer
Dean Smith
as Horowitz
Larry Randles
as Mulkearn
Hal Maguire
as Trooper
Ted Markland
as Trooper
R.L. Armstrong
as Trooper
John McKee
as Trooper
Tony Epper
as Trooper
Nick Cravat
as Trooper
Billy Burton
as Trooper
Walter Scott
as Trooper
Jerry Gatlin
as Trooper
John R. McKee
as Trooper
Henry Camargo
as Indian Brave
Chase Winton
as Ms. Cleveland
Gil Escandon
as Indian Brave
Frank Gonzales
as Indian Brave
Larry Colelay
as Indian Brave
George Aguilar
as Indian Brave
Marvin Fragua
as Indian Brave
Benny Thompson
as Indian Brave
Wallace Sinyella
as Indian Brave
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Critic Reviews for Ulzana's Raid

All Critics (7)

One of Aldrich's finest films, this underestimated Western presents a bleak yet intelligent portrait of the racial warfare of the white men vs. Native Americans and also serves as effective and damning allegory of the American involvement in Vietnam.

Full Review… | April 12, 2008

A superior western though somewhat ponderous and its action sequences are formulaic.

Full Review… | October 31, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The kind of storyline that suits a cop-vs-serial-killer formula better than a western

January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews for Ulzana's Raid


160617: A good but harsh, violent film. Lancaster & Luke were fantastic. Most of the cast was pretty decent.

John Redshaw
John Redshaw

Robert Aldrich's allegorical "Ulzana's Raid" is a brutal, bleak Western that uses the harsh Arizona landscape and its unforgiving Apache inhabitants as a metaphor for the Vietnam War. The tone is consistently nihilistic and downbeat, and a constant reminder that bad things will happen and few will be able to stop them. Burt Lancaster is wise and world-weary as McIntosh, an aging scout, and for 1972, the level of violence is shocking.

Stephen Earnest
Stephen Earnest

Super Reviewer


This is a good western movie. It came out at the end of the Vietnam War. So the story was influenced by the war. They wanted to show that similarities between the Vietnam War and the Indian Wars. But that didn't stop the makers of the movie from making the movie as accurate as possible. The movie was filmed on location in Arizona and they kept the details accurate to the 1880's. Unlike most westerns they depicted the Indians and the Soldiers accurately for the 1880's. When the characters ran out of bullets the guns went click and they had to reload. The typical Hollywood western would have the guns shoot continually without reloading. The story is loosely based on Geronimo's escape from the Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona in 1881. Geronimo escaped with a large group of Apaches including women and children and made it to Mexico. He fought mainly soldiers and it took several years to convince him to surrender. The fictional Ulzana in this movie escapes with a small war party and goes on a murder spree; however, they had him killing homesteaders. But in 1880 Arizona was a sparsely populated desert. There may have been some prospectors looking for gold and silver, some large cattle ranches, and some stage coach stations but no farmers. Years later Arizona began building irrigation systems that allowed farming. Not during the Apache Wars. The real theme of the movie was racism and the culture clash that caused the Indian Wars. The Arizona Apaches were deadly warriors but had been fighting the Spanish and the Mexicans for 200 years. When the United States defeated Mexico in the Mexican War the Arizona Apaches welcomed the U.S. Army because they hated the Mexicans. During the Civil War the North and the South fought over Arizona. When the Apache started stealing cattle the Army took some of the Apache hostage. The Apache retaliated and a 25 year war started. Some of the Apaches didn't want to fight the U.S. Army and joined the Army as Indian Scouts. One of the characters in the movie is one of these Indian Scouts. When the Indians agreed to live on Reservations the U.S. Government agreed to feed them and make them "Wards of the State". Just as our modern inner-cities began to fall apart when the government began handing out welfare benefits, the Indian men had nothing to do. When food became scarce they resorted to their old habits of stealing from their neighbors especially the Mexicans. They didn't show this in the movie. They didn't explain this in the movie. They only showed the Apaches as sadistic killers. In the movie the Indian scout explained to the young Lieutenant that Ulzana was bored and wanted the smell of war in his nose. The real Apaches in the 1800's killed for revenge or in battle or in raids to steal food, cattle and horses. I have this movie on LaserDisc. I saw an edited version on TV a long time ago.

Donald White
Donald White

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