Director Richard Fleischer’s rousing 1974 Western stars Gary Grimes, Ron Howard and Charles Martin Smith as Will, Les and Tod, three teenage farm lads on the run, who help grizzled wounded bank robber Harry Spikes (Lee Marvin).
In return, Spikes teaches them his criminal craft when they sign up for his Spikes Gang and soon there is a price on all their heads.
Extremely well acted, this always intriguing, often exciting if minor Western is aimed bull’s eye at the Seventies youth market. Expertly made in Spain by director Fleischer, and beautifully shot by Brian West, it is friendly, funny, violent and sentimental in turns, effectively juggling all these disparate moods and bringing a fresh spin to an old story.
Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jnr’s screenplay is based on Giles Tippette’s novel The Bank Robbers.
Also in the cast are Arthur Hunnicutt, Noah Beery Jnr, Marc Smith, Don Fellows, Elliott Sullivan, Robert Beatty, Ralph Brown, Bert Conway, Bill Curran, David Thomson, Frances O’Flynn and Ricardo Pallacios.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4255
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