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4.4 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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(Mar 18, 2003)
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$75.00 $58.10
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Editorial Reviews

Barbarosa (Willie Nelson), a gnarly ex-Texas Ranger turned bandit, lives by his wits and his prowess with a gun. Prowling the lonesome deserts of the Southwest, the wily fugitive meets Karl (Gary Busey), a young, eager farmhand out of his element, forced to run after accidentally killing his brother-in-law. Together, the outlaw and the outcast outwit their bloodthirsty pursuers in this legendary story of betrayal, misunderstanding, honor and dignity. Brought vividly to the screen by director Fred Schepisi ("Roxanne", "Six Degrees of Separation" and "I.Q.").

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Willie Nelson, Gary Busey, Isela Vega, Gilbert Roland, Danny De La Paz
  • Directors: Fred Schepisi
  • Writers: William D. Wittliff
  • Producers: Martin Starger, Paul Lazarus III, William D. Wittliff
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: March 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000089765
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,411 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Barbarosa" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
First, I LOVED "Barbarosa." I was one of the underwhelming few who tracked it down when it was in its original theatrical release, and greedily recorded it on VHS from a widescreen cable broadcast. Alas, that recording is gone, along with a heartbreakingly large quantity of other presently unobtainable material.

The fatal flaw with this product is that it is presented ONLY in what they ironically call "full-screen" format; chop off nearly half of what you saw on the theater screen, and you get "full-screen." This film has been tragically butchered.

The logic of producing this product in this manner utterly eludes me. Those of us who appreciate and value good films enough to lay out our money for an individual title on DVD want to experience the vision of the director who made it, and/or re-experience, as nearly as possible, what we first saw in the theater; not the "vision" of some nameless technician artlessly cropping two noses to fit into the same frame.

This is not a widely known film. Who is more likely to seek out and buy this title? Someone who appreciated it in its original form, and now wants to see it again, or watch it with others he believes could share in his appreciation of it? Or, someone who just needs something the right size and shape to fill the blank picture tube of his standard format television? I posit that ANY piece of junk will fill that empty space, and such a person is far more likely to fill it with free broadcast content than to pay to fill it with this film which they probably never heard of in the first place! I believe that anyone who is looking for this movie will be disappointed or angry that it was hacked apart; it reminds me of knocking the arms and head off from a statue to get it into a packing crate.
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2 Comments 36 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Some movies are eternal victims. Case in point: Barbarosa, which had the best script and the worst luck of any of the late-70s-early-80s Westerns. Barely released to theatres after production company ITC went bust, little seen on TV and almost impossible to find on video, it turns up on DVD cropped from the impressive original 2.35:1 widescreen to a very cramped fullscreen 1.33:1, begging the question why bother to release a film in the wrong ratio this day and age?

Even awkwardly cropped it still holds up, managing to straddle the middle ground between the revisionist and the mythical, taking place in a landscape at once all-too real (parched Texas wilderness, ramshackle farmsteads) and stylised (the almost cave-like room where Gilbert Roland's bitter paterfamilias endlessly retells the legend of Barbarosa to each new generation who will grow up to hunt him down and die in the attempt). As the two unlikely partners caught up in pointless blood feuds with their in-laws, Willie Nelson isn't always as good as he should be and it takes a reel or two to get used to his style and Gary Busey is nobody's idea of a Western hero, but their very unlikeliness as movie icons helps sell them as closer to the reality of the old West. And the film is also blessed with one of the best endings of the 80s, as a supposed fiesta becomes almost funereal, the dead faces of the film's `victors' sapped of all purpose until... well, see it for yourself, it's worth it. Barbarosa! Barbarosa! Barbarosa!
Comment 15 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
One of the best unknown Westerns of the last 20 years or so, Barbarosa stars Willie Nelson and Gary Busey in a story of revenge and honor. Nelson plays a ex-Texas Ranger, Barbarosa, who's now a lone bandit, preying on rich Mexicans. During a disagreement, he formerly crippled his father-in-law to be, a Mexican landowner and still deeply loves the landowner's daughter with whom he has had a daughter.
Busey is a Texas farmhand who accidentally killed his brother-in-law--his sister's husband--and is now out on his own, pursued by his brother-in-law's two brothers for revenge. Similarly, Barbarosa is being pursued by the landowner's top gun, a fiery Mexican who vows Barbarosa's death.
The two, Nelson and Busey, meet by accident and join up for a time. During that time we get to see the West as it very likely really looked about 100 years ago (more specifically, the Southwest--i.e., southern Texas); the cinematography is magnificent. One of the critical ingredients in any great Western is great cinematography and that is very much in display here. As well, the score by Bruce Smeaton is excellent.
Nelson and Busey do a great job--their accents certainly don't hurt (both men are originally from that part of the U.S.), and so does the supporting cast. Fred Schepisi, the director, has a perfect sense of pacing and momentum that pulls the viewer along with very little tugging indeed. Armadillos figure in the mix, as do old men with guns and younger men buried up to their necks. There's a hacienda, a cantina, and an outdoor festival. The film drips with Western atmosphere, no question.
Highly recommended for fans of the genre.
Comment 22 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Beautiful western! Just beautiful!

And I can think of no other western, besides Walsh's "The Big Trail" which so clearly NEEDS a widescreen transfer yet, for some reason, doesn't have it!!!


Please, if someone is listening, these films deserve to be seen widescreen. The cinematography in Barbarosa (as well as "The Big Trail") is absolutely breathtaking and is integral to the story.
1 Comment 18 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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