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MacKenna's Gold

4.3 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Gregory Peck and Omar Sharif battle to find a legendary cache of gold in this spectacular Wild Westadventure. In the Arizona Territory of the 1870s, Marshal Sam MacKenna (Peck) is the only living person who knows the tortuous route to the fabulous "Canon Del Oro". During his journey, MacKenna is captured by Colorado (Sharif), a brutal Mexican bandit who has long sought his death. But if MacKennais to lead the cutthroat gang to the lost treasure, Colorado must keep him alive. En route, MacKenna and the outlaw band are joined by renegade soldiers, vengeful indians, cold-blooded killers and "gentlemen from town." As they near the golden canyon, all but MacKenna are swept by a sudden fever - the naked greed for gold. MACKENNA'S GOLD is one of the most exciting Westerns ever made.


Attempting to do for Westerns what his Guns of Navarone had done for World War II action epics, director J. Lee Thompson crafted Mackenna's Gold as a lavish, absurdly ambitious variation on Erich Von Stroheim's Greed, resulting in a last-gasp Western so eager to encompass the genre's traditions that it turns into a big, silly, wildly entertaining mess. Gregory Peck surely had more serious intentions when he signed on, and he brings prestigious gravitas to his glum role as Marshall Mackenna, who gets shanghaied into searching for the gold-filled canyon of an elusive Apache legend. The rest of the 1969 film labors to undermine Peck's respectable demeanor; how else to explain Omar Sharif as a Mexican villain, Julie Newmar as a hot-blooded Apache temptress (with underwater nude scenes that were celebrated in Playboy magazine), and a jaw-dropping finale that's so ridiculous it's impressive in spite of itself?

Formerly blacklisted screenwriter Carl Foreman and composer Dimitri Tiomkin joined up to coproduce the film, and one can only imagine how Anthony Mann or Howard Hawks might've handled Foreman's sensible script. Thompson goes for scenic splendor, heavy action, and heavier emotions, casting everything at a fever pitch that's wildly enjoyable without betraying his "serious" intentions. A stable of Hollywood veterans (Eli Wallach, Raymond Massey, Edward G. Robinson, and others) appear in lively supporting roles--they're all dispatched in a garish Apache ambush--and Camilla Sparv is an ingénue with plenty of fighting attitude. Gold fever reaches its peak, along with some awesome special effects, and divine intervention reaches new heights of intensity. Top it off with José Feliciano's theme song, and you'll be in zany Western heaven. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Quayle, Keenan Wynn, Ted Cassidy, Raymond Massey, Lee Cobb
  • Directors: J. Lee Thompson
  • Producers: Carl Foreman, Dimitri Tiomkin
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 11, 2000
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004TJJU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,984 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "MacKenna's Gold" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Three stars for the film, NO stars for Sony.
Columbia Pictures released many of its classic films on DVD in double-sided, widescreen & pan-and-scan format. However, after Sony bought out the Columbia film library, it then proceeded to reissue them in SINGLE-SIDE, PAN and SCAN ONLY format WITHOUT CHANGING THE UPC CODE OR FRONT COVER ARTWORK. Mackenna's Gold is only one example of this.

So because online DVD sellers cannot separate the two versions by UPC code (and some list the wrong aspect ratio or none at all), people who buy these titles for the widescreen content are cheated. The only way to tell the difference is looking at the back cover AFTER receiving the DVD (and sometimes that's wrong too) or by playing it. This is deceptive practice at its worst.

If you're a widescreen fan, beware of any Columbia title released by Sony.
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Format: DVD
In the past I've seen this movie only in 1.33:1 pan and scan. From its opening titles, I knew it was a Super Panavision film, which means to me it was released in 70mm widescreen. The case clearly states that Side A is 2.35:1 and that Side B is 1.33:1 pan and scan, and I bought it hoping finally to see it in all its glory. I've always had a "thing" for the Arizona and southern Utah canyon lands.

Except for the opening credits and end titles, there is no widescreen version on this disc. In fact, contrary to the advertising it's a one-sided disc. I consider this product misrepresentation and a big disappointment. With virtually the entire film presented in close-ups, every flawed and cheesy process shot appears as if under a microscope. You can see every bad matte painting, every poorly blended green screen (or did they use a blue screen?), every transition from full-sized live to miniature. Worst of all, most of the great southwestern scenery is somewhere offscreen beyond the edges of my television.

I'd still really like to see this film in widescreen. Any hope?
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Format: DVD
I am not going to categorize and compare this western in the more
appropriate context because it's very special for any Russian male in
my generation (I am 33).
The only Westerns we were allowed to see
were produced by East German studio DEFA with only one star - the
Yugoslav hunk Goiko Mititch. And mostly only one plot - the greedy
prospectors come to take the Indian land and the feathered patriots
put on the warpaint, flex their muscles - they all were very athletic,
unlike the whites who were depicted as the degenerates in every sense
- and gallop to sweep the terrain clean of that capitalist scum.
we were grateful even for that substitute, tired of seeing the other
Red Against White flicks - the films about the Russian Civil War
heroes killing the White Guards by hundreds for the sake of Mother
Russia's communist future.
And then "Zoloto Makkeni" was
imported. Why? The message was clear - "Look at these gold-crazed
American bastards! Preachers, journalists, merchants,
bandidos,soldiers, adventurers - all of them are ready to sell their
Momma's for a speck of golden dust! And this time they testify
themselves, not our East German friends." -
But who cared about
all that? The authentic American Western! With the real Indians
instead of East German Olympic Team painted in gouache! The film's
mildly idiotic background commentaries did not make us flinch - they
fit into the didactic tradition we were used to.
And the opening
song! It was translated in Russian and sung in the film by the
Russia's much-adored sweet-voiced drunk Valeri Obodzinskij.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
I remember catching "MacKenna's Gold" on TV with my dad a couple times, but both times I only made it about an hour into the movie (with commercials) before having to go to bed; I made it to the campfire scene where old Adams describes the legendary secret canyon containing incredible natural gold treasure. I was upset that I couldn't finish the film because the film builds up a great amount of anticipation concerning the secret gold canyon.

Well, in the early 90's I spied a VHS copy of "MacKenna's Gold" and immediately purchased it. I finally got to see the ending and wasn't disappointed.

Brilliant author and Western expert Brian Garfield ("Death Wish") comments on "MacKenna's Gold" in his outstanding book "Western Films" thusly: "it hasn't a single redeeming quality. It has got to be the most expensive star-studded two-hour "B" movie ever made; a gargantuan dud of absolutely stunning dreadfulness."

It hasn't a SINGLE redeeming quality? Okay, let me list a smattering: Outstanding cast, including Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Ted Cassidy, Julie Newmar, Telly Savalas, Carmilla Sparv and many more, albeit mostly cameos; one of the greatest Western scores of all time, which ranks up there with "How the West Was Won," "Rio Lobo," "Duel at Diablo," "Bandelero!" "Bonanza," "The Magnificent Seven" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (to name a handful); an incredible theme song, "Old Turkey Buzzard," sung by Jose Feliciano and written by Quincy Jones; and magnificent locations (Utah, Arizona, Rogue River Oregon) & cinematography.

Plus, although the story has an undeniable comic booky vibe to it (which explains why Mr.
Read more ›
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