Bite the Bullet (film)

Bite the Bullet (film)

Infobox Film
name = Bite the Bullet

caption = film poster by Brian Bysouth
director = Richard Brooks
producer = Richard Brooks
writer = Richard Brooks
starring = Gene Hackman
James Coburn
Candice Bergen
music = Alex North
cinematography = Harry Stradling Jr.
editing = George Grenville
distributor = Columbia Pictures
released = 1975
runtime = 131 min.
country =
awards =
language =
budget =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0072705

"Bite the Bullet" is a 1975 Western written and directed by Richard Brooks starring Gene Hackman, James Coburn, Candice Bergen, Ben Johnson, Ian Bannen, Jan-Michael Vincent and Dabney Coleman.


Based on actual racing events in the early twentieth century, the film concerns a grueling 700 mile cross-country horse race in 1906 and the way it affects the lives of the various participants. A colorful group of contestants, including two former Rough Riders (Hackman and Coburn), a lady of little virtue (Bergen), a punk kid (Vincent), a Mexican with a toothache (Mario Arteaga), an old man (Johnson) and an English gentleman (Bannen), arrive on the scene and for various reasons attempt to win the competition. The film touches on the themes of sportsmanship, friendship, animal cruelty, the yellow press, racism, the end of the West, and much more. As the race progresses, the conditions test not only the endurance of horses and riders but also their philosophies of life and the meaning of winning and losing.

Production Notes

Charles Bronson turned down the lead role of Sam Clayton before Gene Hackman was eventually cast. The movie was filmed on location in New Mexico and Nevada, and begins in a church in the small town of La Puente, New Mexico. There are numerous scenes of steam locomotives at work, shot along the Cumbres and Toltec (formerly Rio Grande) narrow gauge railway between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado.


"Bite the Bullet" was nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Sound Mixing (Arthur Piantadosi, Les Fresholtz, Richard Tyler, Al Overton Jr.) and Best Music, Original Score (Alex North).


*Mister: "God, what ain't I tried. Pony express rider, Overland Stage driver, lawman, gambler, riverman, rancher, rodeo hand, barman, spittoon man... old man. Never much to remember. Of course, there ain't much to forget, either. Nobody's got much use for an old man. I can't blame 'em much. That's why I'm going to win this here newspaper race. When I cross the finish line, I get to be a big man. Top man. A man to remember."

*Mister: "I've never saw a man who could hold his liquor like a bottle."

*Clayton: "The people some people marry."

*Miss Jones: "Killing a man don't prove you're a man".

External links

*imdb title|id=0072705|title=Bite the Bullet
* [ Roger Ebert review, "Bite the Bullet"]

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