Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Warren Oates stars as Bennie, a piano-player who comes across two bounty hunters who have been sent by a Mexican rancher to collect the head of Alfredo Garcia. It appears that Garcia had got the rancher’s daughter pregnant and he wants his head as proof of his death. A penniless drifter, Bennie decides to investigate and on discovering that his girlfriend knows where the Garcia lies, he decides to sever Garcia's head and collect the reward himself. 3.8 out of 5 based on 11 reviews
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Omniscore:

Certificate
Genre Drama
Director Sam Peckinpah
Cast Isela Vega, Gig Young, Kris Kristofferson Warren Oates
Studio MGM/UA Home Entertainment
Release Date January 2009
Running Time 113 minutes
 

Warren Oates stars as Bennie, a piano-player who comes across two bounty hunters who have been sent by a Mexican rancher to collect the head of Alfredo Garcia. It appears that Garcia had got the rancher’s daughter pregnant and he wants his head as proof of his death. A penniless drifter, Bennie decides to investigate and on discovering that his girlfriend knows where the Garcia lies, he decides to sever Garcia's head and collect the reward himself.

Reviews

The Financial Times

Nigel Andres

Revival of the week is Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. In a death- and-revenge drama wreathed in surreal moments, the director Sam Peckinpah sends the actor Warren Oates to Mexico on a bounty mission... Horrors are promised; worse horrors are realised. The film makes Peckinpah’s early benchmark essay in violence, The Wild Bunch, seem a mild stroll in an abattoir. There are wit, humanity and anguish as well as mayhem. If someone had to modernise the great traditions of Jacobean melodrama, Peckinpah was surely the man.

01/01/2009

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The Observer

Philip French

A down and dirty movie, full of gutter poetry, it nods to another Peckinpah favourite, Ford's The Searchers, when Oates says to Garcia's severed head: "Come on, Al, we're going home." My review got me into Private Eye's "Pseuds Corner" for describing the film as "a combination of Jacobean revenge tragedy, classical quest myth and political fable" set in "an emblematic Mexico that Lowry, Greene, Lawrence and Traven would recognise". Well, I was asking for it.

04/01/2009

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Time Out

Tom Huddleston

‘Alfredo Garcia’ is a work teeming with contradiction: it’s Peckinpah’s grittiest, ugliest film, but it centres on the most respectful, affectionate relationship he ever wrote. Benny is a multiple murderer, but also a sympathetic hero trying, in his way, to do the right thing. Oates’s performance is a revelation, ably supported by Isela Vega as his doomed paramour. Readable equally as a bleak, brutal exploitation movie and as a horrified, humanist cry from a disturbed soul, ‘Alfredo Garcia’ is a worthy rediscovery.

01/01/2009

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The Times

Wendy Ide

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) not only has one of the greatest titles in cinema history, it also demonstrates the lean, mean film-making talents of Sam Peckinpah at their purest... Filled with 1970s muscle cars, dive bars and bad intentions, it's an impeccably cool movie set against the blistering Mexican heat.

01/01/2009

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Total Film

Ian Johnston

A twisted morality play imbued with gallows humour of the darkest shade.

01/07/2005

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Empire Magazine

David Parkinson

Everything you’d expect of a Peckinpah film is on view in his most fully realised project: slow motion, Gothic angles, violence, misogyny... But there’s no denying the power of this lament for what his country had become.

09/01/2009

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Time Magazine

Jay Cocks

It is a troubling, idiosyncratic and finally unsuccessful film—troubling not for the feelings of horror it intermittently tries to conjure up but for the impression it gives of being a dead end. It is like a private bit of self-mockery, a sort of ritual of closet masochism that invites, even challenges, everyone to think the worst. Many will. That is part of what Peckinpah was after, and his success in getting it is the most disturbing element in this strange, strangled movie.

16/09/1974

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The Daily Telegraph

Sukhdev Sandhu

The film isn't really an anti-establishment satire, though. It's a more primal tale of an amoral chancer who lusts after money, vengeance and, latterly, a kind of redemption. Oates's performance is one of the most astounding depictions of the 1970s: his Bennie is cruel, exhausted, ugly. He's utterly unlikeable, and yet it's impossible not to be riveted by his every glance and gesture. That was always Peckinpah's talent: to make the banality of brutality compelling.

31/12/2009

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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

For a film renowned for its violence, Garcia unfolds at a leisured, almost lugubrious, pace with scenes allowed to unspool at a length that would never be allowed in any Hollywood thriller today. The snarling, gibbering Bennie - his bleeding heart on his greasy sleeve - is a bold contrast to the deadpan Clint Eastwood in the Dollars pictures.

02/01/2009

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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

You could see all this as Peckinpah's sick joke on greed. His best work was behind him – The Wild Bunch, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid – but this bizarre thriller contains reminders of what made him great.

02/01/2009

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The Independent on Sunday

Jonathan Romney

slow-motion gunplay, and macho dialogue that's just made to be printed on T-shirts.

04/01/2009

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