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McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

Warren Beatty , Julie Christie , Robert Altman  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Rene Auberjonois, William Devane, John Schuck
  • Directors: Robert Altman
  • Writers: Robert Altman, Brian McKay, Edmund Naughton
  • Producers: David Foster, Mitchell Brower, Robert Eggenweiler
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: June 4, 2002
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000063K2Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,628 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Behind-the-scenes documentary

Editorial Reviews

A frontier gambler and madam protect their booming business from outside investors. Directed by Robert Altman.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
91 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Film Classic June 13, 2002
I have been waiting for years for a DVD version of Robert Altman's "McCabe & Mrs.Miller" to come out.This is my all time favorite western (or should I say anti-western).It is a anti-western because there are no heroic John Wayne types in ten gallon hats.Instead we are shown a weary frontier world populated by immigrants who are trying to eek out an existence. The film is about an itinerant gambler named McCabe (well played by Warren Beatty) who comes to a muddy, primitive, frontier mining town with the ideal of getting into the business of supplying the local miners with whiskey and women.He is soon approached by Mrs.Miller (a hard as nails prostitute played by Julie Christie) to go into a partnership to build a proper bordello.She supplies the women and the management, while he supplies the house.All goes well until McCabe is approached by a large mining corporation to buy out his holdings.When negotiations break down, the corporation sends a murderous posse.This film is arguably Robert Altman's masterpiece.The story is something you might hear by a midnight campfire. There are no real heroes, yet these characters keep you infinitly interested.Beatty and Christie are brilliant in the lead roles, playing two very flawed people, who have nobody to blame but themselves for their downfall.The supporting cast is excellent giving the viewer possibly a dozen other mini stories in the background.The cinematography in this movie is beautiful as it shows this drama being played out in the warm amber glow of gas lamps and fireplaces. The soundtrack to this movie is packed with the wonderful music of singer-songwriter Lenard Cohen. His world weary voice perfectly matches the film's dirty, frontier town and its inhabitants. Read more ›
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime October 15, 2002
By A Customer
One of my favorite films of all-time, Robert Altman's best, and perhaps Warren Beatty's best.
As others have said, this film explores the dark, realist side of the American West. However, unlike other anti-Westerns of the era like The Wild Bunch, it does so in a hauntingly beautiful, even lyrical (albeit melancholic) way, augmented by Leonard Cohen's perfectly matched songs and the atmospheric cinematography.
There are the usual Western archetypes and themes - the gunslinger, the [prostitute], the church (symbolizing redemption and civilization), etc. - but Altman turns them upside-down. The would-be hero is an insecure bumbler who lets the whore get under his skin and dies, unceremoniously, in a snowbank. There is no honor among the thieves - they shoot people for no particular reason. The church burns. And, unlike most Westerns, the film is set not in the desert, but in the foggy Pacific Northwest, adding to the murky, morally ambiguous atmosphere, which is further enhanced by the occasionally inaudible dialogue.
This understated film has none of the overwrought archness of Altman's later work, so those who have been put off by same (as I have) need not worry - these are not merely clever celebrity cameos, but characters who live and breathe and make us care about what happens to them. The film is sombre but has many naturally comic moments (thanks to Beatty's usual bumbling loverboy persona) and is never merely studied or self-important. Similarly, for those who might be skeptical, Cohen's music is his earliest, most affecting, and least pompous.
I have a very sensitive BS meter and it never buzzes during this remarkably beautiful and affecting movie. For those who really care about film, I can't recommend it highly enough.
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80 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McCabe & Mrs. Miller April 18, 2004
I've got to admit I'm a little surprised to read the negative critiques of McCABE & MRS. MILLER here. In my opinion this is one of the five greatest movies ever, in any genre, and I'm not an Altman fan.
Anyway, here's my response to some of the criticism.
This film has too much realism - I watched the movie with the audio commentary by Robert Altman and producer David Foster (which is good, as far as those things go), and the short documentary on the making of McCABE & MRS. MILLER, which I believe was made shortly after the movie. The realism, in my opinion, is what gives this movie depth and texture. The town was being built while the movie was being shot (the film was shot in sequence), and the buildings are not facades. They are real buildings. Interior shots were done in them and not in studio.
It's pointless, boring and pretentious - I think because Altman focuses so much on characters and their motivations the viewer may miss the plot. The plot here is pretty simple - At the turn of the last century a man builds a gambling/whore house in a small mining town. An astute madam joins him and in short order the venture is a success. Such a success, in fact, that an outside concern wants to buy him out. Two men are sent to the small town to negotiate with him, and he drunkenly refuses their offer. They leave and the outside concern takes the next step, which is to employ three hired killers to do away with McCabe.
I suppose letting characters evolve and refraining from throwing plot points at us can seem pretentious. To me, it simply felt like the director wasn't talking down to me. Altman says somewhere in the voice over that movies are canvases to him, and he likes working in the corners. That's not everybody's cup of tea.
And the ending....
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