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Junior Bonner

68 customer reviews

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(May 25, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Steve McQueen is at his "rugged best" (Entertainment Today) in this "totally captivating" (Leonard Maltin) tale of a fading rodeo champion from acclaimed director Sam Peckinpah and screenwriter Jeb Rosebrook. Co-starring Robert Preston and Ida Lupino in "excellent, well-turned" (Variety) performances, Junior Bonner is "an extraordinarily graceful yet unflinching rendering of a slice of Americana" (Los Angeles Times). With his bronco-busting career on its last legs, Junior Bonner (McQueen) heads to his hometown to try his luck in the annual rodeo. But his fond childhood memories are shattered when he finds his family torn apart by his greedy brother and hard-drinking father. Now Junior must break the wildest bull in the West to bring his family togetherfor one final moment of cowboy glory in the roughest, rowdiest ride of his life!

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Steve McQueen, Robert Preston, Ida Lupino, Ben Johnson, Joe Don Baker
  • Directors: Sam Peckinpah
  • Writers: Jeb Rosebrook
  • Producers: Joe Wizan, Mickey Borofsky
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001GF2JC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,081 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Junior Bonner" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Chris K. Wilson on November 16, 2002
Format: DVD
As a big fan of film director Sam Peckinpah and actor Steve McQueen, I always thought I had seen their most substantial work. Much to my surprise, I viewed the 1972 film "Junior Bonner" for the first time recently and was stunned by its quality and depth. "Junior Bonner" is a terrific film, complete with Peckinpah's individualistic themes, McQueen's understated though electric presence, magnificient location detail, boozy saloons and elder statesmen (and women) coming to terms with a rapidly receding past.
A genre unto itself, the rodeo lifestyle was documented with surprising fervor in the early 1970s by a handful of interesting films including "Honkers," "J.W. Coop," and "When the Legends Die." Each film explored the themes of a changing civilization which embraced convention while muting individualism and personal freedom. Thus, Peckinpah and McQueen were truly in their element with "Junior Bonner."
The film covers a day in the life of Junior Bonner (McQueen), an aging rodeo star who returns to his Arizona hometown to participate in an annual rodeo competition. We are soon introduced to his family, including his estranged parents (Robert Preston and Ida Lupino) and his budding businessman brother (Joe Don Baker) looking to profit from the sale of his father's land while exploiting the frontier/cowboy persona.
"Junior Bonner" is so understated, that the viewer must read between the lines throughout its brief running time, including a fascinating dinner scene with McQueen, Lupino and Baker when they discuss the family's future. It is a moment of brilliant directing and acting.
Ironically, what is probably the least seen film of Peckinpah and McQueen's careers is also one of their best.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on September 5, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This is one of those movies that starts out "under the influence" of the 1970s, with kinetic split-screen images during the credits, showing in slow motion a disastrous ride on a bull, intercut with shots of McQueen driving a mud-spattered and beat up white Cadillac convertible, towing a horse trailer, altogether the picture of a man down on his luck. Then we get a vision of an American West exhausted and resold as suburban housing developments of so-called rancheros (never mind that "ranchero" once referred in the Southwest to the owner of a ranch) by young women in cowboy hats and hot pants. And Steve McQueen's rodeo cowboy, Jr. Bonner, returns to the home place outside Prescott, Arizona, to find heavy equipment operators fiercely tearing up the earth and anything that gets in their way. Standing there in his tight Lee jeans, western shirt and straw cowboy hat, surveying a land laid waste, he's the picture of a promising future that has seriously run aground somewhere.

But director Peckinpah lightens up after this downbeat start, and the movie becomes a kind of romantic comedy, with old-timer Robert Preston rising from his hospital bed with a dream of prospecting in Australia and a last attempt to win back his wife of many years, played wonderfully by Ida Lupino. There is plenty of farce, including Preston and McQueen riding a horse through backyards and getting hung up on a clothesline, a comical barroom brawl, a punch that sends a man through a front porch window, and the rodeo itself with a rapid montage of graceless falls from rough stock played against turkey-in-the-straw music.

McQueen, playing an ageing, stove-up bull rider, is the calm at the center of this storm.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A C SHIELDS on June 14, 2005
Format: DVD
I was looking forward to seeing this film because of Steve , having just seen him in 'The Getaway' , also directed by Sam Peckinpah . The two films could not be more different .

In Junior Bonner the actors , atmosphere , characters , cinematography and script are all top notch . For those who think of Bullitt when they think of Steve and the Wild Bunch when they think of Sam Peckinpah , this film is something very special and a wonderful surprise - like discovering buried treasure . It's that good .

A bargain price DVD , in no way reflecting the film's high quality .
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David E.Baldwin on December 28, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
You can walk away from "Junior Bonner" having seen every Sam Peckinpah and Steve McQueen film and not know that either contributed to this low-key gem. It's a tribute to both legends that they eschewed vanity to create a film that feels like real life. I don't know how long it took Peckinpah to lens this film but it feels like he just took his camera for a few days to capture the ambiance of Prescott, Arizona on a Fourth of July Weekend when the rodeo came to town. Having never been to a rodeo or seen any films about it I found the way Peckinpah captures the people, the sights, and sounds thrilling. Anybody whose followed the career of Steve McQueen knows that he was the master of understatement. Here he gracefully captures the essence of an aging rodeo star who goes from one show to the next in hopes of winning the $950.00 in prize money. Peckinpah populates the cast with legendary actors like Robert Preston, Ida Lupino, and Ben Johnson along with notable character actors like Joe Don Baker and William McKinney. This ensemble of actors are terrific because they seem like real people who've been part of the rodeo world or Prescott landscape their whole lives. Needless to say, a must for Peckinpah or McQueen fans and essential viewing for all film lovers.
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