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The Spikes Gang

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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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. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Special Features

None.

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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004LB5FBS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,855 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For what it's worth Leonard Maltin is very critical of this film and only gives it 1 1/2 stars. I thoroughly disagree. While it is not Academy Award material I believe any western or Lee Marvin fan will enjoy it. It also has creditable acting roles by Ron Howard, Gary Grimes, & Charles Martin Smith. The 3 latter actors play teen boys who are close friends. They find the Marvin character suffering from gunshot wounds resulting from an attempted robbery. The boys help him hide and feed him while he heals. They subsequently run away from home and are lured into crime by Marvin. This makes an interesting story that kept my attention. I also liked the sets (filmed in Spain) and photography. Using Maltin's four star system I would rate it 2 1/2 stars and you can see here that I gave it 3 stars of possible five. Again, I think any Lee Marvin or western film fan should see this. It is on the Encore Western Channel periodically.
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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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Format: DVD
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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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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Format: DVD
The Spikes Gang was a western film from 1974. It features an all star cast. Three teenage boys help a wounded bank robber back to health. He leaves them afterward, while later on in the story, the three teens decide to runaway to find themselves seeking adventure. Sadly, the boys struggle to find any work, and are desperate for food that they resort to being bank robbers themselves, although unsuccessful at it as well, with a horrible result. They later meet up with the bank robber who they helped weeks earlier, and he takes them in. He sort of becomes a father like figure to the teen boys through out the film. Sadly, the film ends in tragedy, ultimately resulting in grave consequences. I thought this movie was entertaining, somewhat slow paced on telling the story. I would not say this is an instant western classic either, but its not a terrible movie either.

This film was released as a manufactured-on-demand DVD-R format from the MGM Limited Edition Collection.
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