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My Favorite Westerns

The Hired Hand

  Soundtrack: The Hired Hand – Bruce Langhorne



Rotten Tomatoes: 91%

The Hired Hand DVD Set / Released 2003


Voted best film of the year 1971 by the magazine “Films and Filming”.

After the success of Easy Rider, Universal Pictures hit upon the idea of letting young filmmakers make “semi-independent” films for low budgets in hopes of generating similar profits. The idea was to make five movies for low budgets ($1 million or less), not interfere in the filmmaking process and give the directors final cut. The other movies were: The Last Movie, Taking Off, Silent Running, and American Graffiti.

End of the trail …

7 comments on “The Hired Hand

  1. stotty says:

    great film,very atmospheric.the final shootout although not very long has to be as it probably would have been in reality

    1. jcalberta says:

      A under-rated film that has gained appreciation.
      Has a melancholy tone it about though – you can sense that things will not conclude in joy.
      Feels authentic however.

  2. blankend says:

    Its funny how time changes everything. The movie hasn’t changed, but our perception of it has.

    Although it can be called an unconventional, or acid western as some say, I have always liked it. You were right when you pointed out the overall mood of the film was kind of sad. It was pretty apparent something bad was going to happen.

    Give me Warren Oates anytime, he will always give you an interesting performance, especially in westerns.

    1. jcalberta says:

      Love this Western. Rarely shown on TV though. You really have to seek it out. It does have a different flavour to be sure. The music is nice also. Oates is part of a small, but perfect cast.

  3. Mike vanz says:

    An entirely genuine western. The absence of Hollywood nuance made the final gunfight all the more disturbing. Things we typically see in westerns as basic elements become emotionally supercharged in their unglorified presentation. A departure from complex narrative. My favorite western when I can muster through its morose atmosphere. Dynamite performances and haunting, unobtrusive score. 9 out of 10

    1. jcalberta says:

      Hi Mike …

      Excellent and insightful comments.
      Not sure why this Western didn’t muster more attention and respect at it’s outset. Possibly due to limited distribution or being ignored as a small budget production. ? Eventually it has achieved it’s entitled respect. We come to care about the people in the movie – so we genuinely invest ourselves in their plight. And you’re right, the atmosphere and flavor of the movie has an edge to it – a reality that things might not have a fun ending. Yet Fonda’s sacrifice gives us hope that there are good people who will the brave thing to help another. Brutality and melancholy mixed together – along with some beautiful scenes and cinematography. A move I will definitely watch again at some point.

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