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The Spikes Gang (1974)

Lee Marvin , Ron Howard , Richard Fleischer  |  PG |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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The Spikes Gang + The Culpepper Cattle Co.
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Product Details

  • Actors: Lee Marvin, Ron Howard, Gary Grimes
  • Directors: Richard Fleischer
  • Writers: Screenplay By Irving Ravetch And Harriet Frank, Jr
  • Producers: Produced By Walter Mirisch
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: January 28, 2011
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004LB5FBS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,562 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Lee Marvin gives a spellbinding performance as a wounded outlaw who appears as a romantic figure to two impressionable youths (Ron Howard and Gary Grimes). Nursed back to health by the boys, the outlaw enlists them in his robberies...and then callously betrays them.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lee Marvin May 30, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Great acting.Great story.A little slow for my taste but a great ending.Film transfer grainy in a couple of spots.If you can buy at the right price,this movie should make it to your collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like Culpepper Cattle Company... November 15, 2013
An underrated Western. Maybe not a great movie, but one that has scenes that impress. Probably Lee Marvin's last excellent performance. Smith, Howard, and especially Grimes give fine performances. Rarely, if ever, have characters deaths been as painful and sad in a Western. I'd forgotten the screenplay was by Ravetch and Frank, two fine writers. I caught this movie on Retro and was slightly more impressed the first time I saw it, when I didn't see the beginning. Seeing it that way may have added to the interest but it's still a movie worth seeing every few years if you hopefully get the chance. There's a short but impressive shoot-out between Marvin and Grimes that deserves to be mentioned, because it's well done and stays with you. And it should be mentioned that Grimes' character not only holds his own against Marvin's, but Grimes stays with him as an actor too. There's a lot of talent in that scene. Old pro Arthur Hunnicutt has a fine scene too. Like I said, the movie's not great, but damn well worth seeing. Paul Marvis is the only critic I've read who praised this movie. Too bad that more critics didn't notice at the time of it's release. Fans of The Culpepper Cattle Company have a good chance of liking this film. Hope they stumble across it. Grimes had a short but worthwhile career.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good western October 27, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a good old fashioned western with the one and only Lee Marvin. The story is a little bit tragic and yet it has a message which is to stay off the crime stuff. No happy ending but still watchable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good western May 21, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I really like this movie it is very well acted and has a very thoughtful plot. Lee Marvin is at his best playing an outlaw who basically mentors and uses some kids on the run. The 3 kids are played by Ron Howard, Charles Martin Smith and Gary Grimes. Howard and Smith turn in very good performances, you have sympathy for these kids and the circumstances that put them on the road to crime and hard times. Gary Grimes is the star of the film and he gives a very solid, nuanced performance in this film He is a young man who did about a dozen movies in his teens and early 20's and then just disappeared from the business. Its too bad, he has some real talent. He was also in another well done western, The Culpepper Cattle Company that you should check out.
Spikes as played by Marvin is not all bad or all good and it is his part of this story that really stirs the pot that helps raise this film above the ordinary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story with Uneven Film-making January 24, 2013
Though it suffers from the on-the-cheap film style of the 1970s -- bland lighting and too many cheesy zooms instead of dollies, for instance -- "The Spikes Gang" plays like a good novel, a drama about growing up and disillusionment rather than a standard rip-snortin' western. Richard Fleischer, son of animator Max Fleischer and director of one of my favorite childhood films, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," paints an unsentimental portrait of the old west, even if it retains some of the imagery we've come to expect.

Sturdy Lee Marvin is in fine form here, playing Harry Spikes, the sort of gentleman bandit that children (and even some foolish adults) want to believe is the reality rather than the fiction. Despite his geniality, he is a realist -- direct, logical, unflinching, and in his own way, honest. When three boys (Ron Howard, Gary Grimes, and Charles Martin Smith) fall under his influence, it spells the beginning of the end of their innocence. "The Spikes Gang" is the kind of story that rarely gets told anymore, actually showing the consequences of violence, selfishness, and poor choices. It offers a greater range of emotions than most films do today -- at times, the boys really are on the grand adventure they think they are on -- but it always comes back to harsh center. In some ways, it's a revisionist western, but "The Spikes Gang" really has more in common with the sentiments of Mark Twain, who blamed romantic writers like Walter Scott for filling the heads of boys with foolishness about the glory of war.

In many ways, the film also serves as a critique of mainstream American culture.
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