Breakheart Pass


1h 35m 1975
Breakheart Pass

Brief Synopsis

A U.S. Marshall tries to bring in a captured outlaw during a treacherous train ride.

Film Details

Also Known As
Showdown at Breakheart Pass
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Western
Drama
Release Date
1975
Production Company
Cinefx; United Artists Films
Distribution Company
MGM Home Entertainment; United Artists Films

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

Frontier lawman John Deakin goes undercover as a fugitive from justice and boards a train in order to follow a gang of ruthless outlaws.

Film Details

Also Known As
Showdown at Breakheart Pass
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Western
Drama
Release Date
1975
Production Company
Cinefx; United Artists Films
Distribution Company
MGM Home Entertainment; United Artists Films

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 35m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Articles

Breakheart Pass


With its runaway train ride, Breakheart Pass (1975) provided a perfect vehicle for Yakima Canutt's final assignment as a stunt coordinator. The screen legend, who had started out starring in silent westerns and capped his career staging the chariot race in Ben-Hur (1959), took a final bow after more than 50 years in the business with this 1975 western adventure.

Like the classic Stagecoach (1939), Breakheart Pass features a band of desperate characters -- a state governor, an Army major, a minister, a doctor and a young innocent -- whose trip through the wild West is complicated by the presence of a fugitive from justice (Charles Bronson)...or is he? They come together on a train speeding to a disease-stricken frontier outpost with a precious cargo of medicine...or is it? As passengers start turning up dead, it quickly becomes clear that nothing on this twisted train ride is what it seems.

Charles Bronson was still riding high on the success of Death Wish (1974) when he returned to the Western, the genre that had made him an international star in Once Upon a Time in the West (1969). His director, Tom Gries, had already made one of the modern classics of the genre in Will Penny (1968), starring Charlton Heston and, like this film, beautifully shot by Lucien Ballard. As an added attraction, Alistair MacLean, whose best sellers had served as the basis for such action hits as The Guns of Navarone (1961) and Where Eagles Dare (1968), adapted his own novel for the screen; it was only the second time he had done so.

Along with the daredevil stunts, the film is greatly aided by a strong supporting cast, including Oscar®-winner Ben Johnson as the U.S. Marshal who thinks he's taking Bronson to justice, Richard Crenna as the governor, Charles Durning as a businessman, Ed Lauter as the Army Major on his way to take command at the fort and Bronson's wife and frequent co-star, Jill Ireland, as an innocent passenger aboard the train. Former light heavyweight champ Archie Moore dukes it out with Bronson in a classic fight scene aboard the train. Cast as a friendly lady of the evening is Sally Kirkland, once noted as the first actress to appear naked in a legitimate New York stage production (Sweet Eros by Terrence McNally in 1968) and now better known as the Oscar®-nominated star of the independent hit Anna (1987); she's also an ordained minister.

An entertaining hybrid that was part suspense thriller and part Western, Breakheart Pass proved to be one of Bronson's biggest hits. Along with such other favorites that year as Breakout, also directed by Gries and co-starring Ireland, and Hard Times, which co-starred Ireland and James Coburn, it helped Bronson rise to the number four spot on the year's list of top box-office stars.

Producer: Elliott Kastner, Jerry Gershwin
Director: Tom Gries
Screenplay: Alistair MacLean, based on his novel
Cinematography: Lucien Ballard
Score: Jerry Goldsmith
Art Direction: Johannes Larsen
Cast: Charles Bronson (John Deakin/John Murray), Ben Johnson (Deputy U.S. Marshal Nathan Pearce), Richard Crenna (Governor Richard Fairchild), Jill Ireland (Marcia Scoville), Charles Durning (Frank O'Brien), Ed Lauter (Major Claremont), David Huddleston (Dr. Molyneux), Archie Moore (Carlos the Chef), Sally Kirkland (Jane-Marie). C-95m.

by Frank Miller
Breakheart Pass

Breakheart Pass

With its runaway train ride, Breakheart Pass (1975) provided a perfect vehicle for Yakima Canutt's final assignment as a stunt coordinator. The screen legend, who had started out starring in silent westerns and capped his career staging the chariot race in Ben-Hur (1959), took a final bow after more than 50 years in the business with this 1975 western adventure. Like the classic Stagecoach (1939), Breakheart Pass features a band of desperate characters -- a state governor, an Army major, a minister, a doctor and a young innocent -- whose trip through the wild West is complicated by the presence of a fugitive from justice (Charles Bronson)...or is he? They come together on a train speeding to a disease-stricken frontier outpost with a precious cargo of medicine...or is it? As passengers start turning up dead, it quickly becomes clear that nothing on this twisted train ride is what it seems. Charles Bronson was still riding high on the success of Death Wish (1974) when he returned to the Western, the genre that had made him an international star in Once Upon a Time in the West (1969). His director, Tom Gries, had already made one of the modern classics of the genre in Will Penny (1968), starring Charlton Heston and, like this film, beautifully shot by Lucien Ballard. As an added attraction, Alistair MacLean, whose best sellers had served as the basis for such action hits as The Guns of Navarone (1961) and Where Eagles Dare (1968), adapted his own novel for the screen; it was only the second time he had done so. Along with the daredevil stunts, the film is greatly aided by a strong supporting cast, including Oscar®-winner Ben Johnson as the U.S. Marshal who thinks he's taking Bronson to justice, Richard Crenna as the governor, Charles Durning as a businessman, Ed Lauter as the Army Major on his way to take command at the fort and Bronson's wife and frequent co-star, Jill Ireland, as an innocent passenger aboard the train. Former light heavyweight champ Archie Moore dukes it out with Bronson in a classic fight scene aboard the train. Cast as a friendly lady of the evening is Sally Kirkland, once noted as the first actress to appear naked in a legitimate New York stage production (Sweet Eros by Terrence McNally in 1968) and now better known as the Oscar®-nominated star of the independent hit Anna (1987); she's also an ordained minister. An entertaining hybrid that was part suspense thriller and part Western, Breakheart Pass proved to be one of Bronson's biggest hits. Along with such other favorites that year as Breakout, also directed by Gries and co-starring Ireland, and Hard Times, which co-starred Ireland and James Coburn, it helped Bronson rise to the number four spot on the year's list of top box-office stars. Producer: Elliott Kastner, Jerry Gershwin Director: Tom Gries Screenplay: Alistair MacLean, based on his novel Cinematography: Lucien Ballard Score: Jerry Goldsmith Art Direction: Johannes Larsen Cast: Charles Bronson (John Deakin/John Murray), Ben Johnson (Deputy U.S. Marshal Nathan Pearce), Richard Crenna (Governor Richard Fairchild), Jill Ireland (Marcia Scoville), Charles Durning (Frank O'Brien), Ed Lauter (Major Claremont), David Huddleston (Dr. Molyneux), Archie Moore (Carlos the Chef), Sally Kirkland (Jane-Marie). C-95m. by Frank Miller

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Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1975

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States 1975