Not great but not bad. I'd call this more of a Steve McQueen movie than a Sam Peckinpah film. Junior Bonner gets by more on McQueen's charm than the thin and generally uneventful story that wheezes dust by the end of the movie and thinks its paying off. Robert Preston and Ida Lupino as McQueen's parents steal the show in their scenes and the bar fight was kind of fun but Junior Bonner is nothing to freak out over.
This film was the result of the success that Peckinpah and McQueen had from The Getaway. They liked working with each other so much they decided to this film and what came from that was Peckinpah's most intimate film. Peckinpah once stated, "I made a film where nobody got shot but nobody went to see it."
Incredible film. Part contemporary western, part sports redemption film. One where the athlete's eventual success does not lead to accolades or money or even a happy retirement but instead to a continued life of isolation and physical pain. McQueen is brilliant, his famously stoic coolness replaced by stoic suffering.
Plus qu'un western, un grand film intimiste sur la fin de l'Ouest et de ses mythes faussement éternels. Toute la contrée est déjà aux mains des promoteurs immobiliers et le héros n'est plus un aventurier, mais un survivant. La quête de la "frontière" a été remplacée par un parcours intérieur et solitaire. www.cinefiches.com
Scorsese once differed story from the plot, claiming first one is not limited by the length of the movie and leaves much of its content hidden. Even though this films plot didn't offer much but few interesting sequences, by the time it ended overall feeling is there was much more going on underneath.