Major Dundee

Major Dundee

Director: Sam Peckinpah Cast: Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton


View All Available Formats & Editions


Sam Peckinpah's 1965 feature Major Dundee was recut and rescored for re-release theatrically in 2005, 40 years after its original release. The "Extended Version," as it is known officially, tells essentially the same story as the original but with clearer motivations for the characters (which often seemed vague or obscure in the 1965 edition) and much greater effectiveness. Major Amos Charles Dundee (Charlton Heston) is a West Point graduate who somehow -- it's not clear -- exceeded his orders while serving in the Battle of Gettysburg and, as punishment, has been taken out of combat and put in charge of a Union prison in New Mexico. He then gets word that marauding Apaches under Sierra Charriba (Michael Pate) have raided an American settlement, slaughtering the troops who were pursuing them and kidnapping three young boys, whom they've taken to their lair south of the Rio Grande (and if this sounds a lot like the plot of John Ford's Rio Grande, it's because they used the same story as inspiration). Dundee assumes responsibility for capturing or destroying the raiders and rescuing the captives, but because he has far too few men, he's forced to recruit prisoners, including his one-time friend, Confederate Captain Benjamin Tyreen (Richard Harris), and other "gentlemen of the South," to fill out his ranks. Tyreen and his men despise Dundee, but agree to serve on this mission in exchange for the chance for possible pardon of commutation of sentence (Tyreen and some of his men are facing the rope, for killing a guard in an escape attempt). The mission takes them deep into Mexico, where they free the children but now find themselves being stalked by the very Apaches that they were hunting, as well as having to fight off the French troops stationed there. And as they quickly see, the French troops, though white and supposedly "civilized" like themselves, treat the native Mexicans in ways that make the Apaches look almost saintly. In the end, this ragtag group of soldiers, malcontents, deserters, traitors, and criminals finds a larger cause in their quest -- bigger even than their own survival -- as they discover something uniquely fine and honorable in being an American, and in American ideals. It takes the sacrifice and deaths of many to get to that point, but the movie -- in this version -- gets us there convincingly, if in decidedly grim and bittersweet fashion. Though based on fiction and shot under incredibly (indeed, legendarily) chaotic conditions, the movie ultimately proves to be a rousingly disturbing examination of what it means to be an American, and the meaning of American ideals.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/06/1996
UPC: 0043396600461
Original Release: 1965
Rating: NR
Source: Sony Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charlton Heston Maj. Amos Charles Dundee
Richard Harris Capt. Benjamin Tyreen
Jim Hutton Lieutenant Graham
James Coburn Samuel Potts
Michael Anderson Tim Ryan
Senta Berger Widow
Mario Adorf Sgt. Gomez
Brock Peters Aesop
Warren Oates O.W. Hadley
Ben Johnson Sgt. Chillum
R.G. Armstrong Reverend Dahlstrom
L.Q. Jones Arthur Hadley
Slim Pickens Wiley
Karl Swenson Capt. Waller
Michael Pate Sierra Charriba
John Davis Chandler Jimmy Lee Benteen
Dub Taylor Benjamin Priam
Albert Carrier Capt. Jacques Tremaine
José Carlos Ruiz Riago
Aurora Clavel Melinche
Begoña Palacios Linda
Enrique Lucero Dr. Aguilar
Francisco Reiguera Old Apache

Technical Credits
Sam Peckinpah Director,Screenwriter
Daniele Amfitheatrof Score Composer
Jerry Bresler Producer
Thomas Dawson Costumes/Costume Designer
Harry Julian Fink Screenwriter
Howard Kunin Editor
Sam Leavitt Cinematographer
Augie Lohman Special Effects
William Lyon Editor
Oscar Saul Screenwriter
Don Starling Editor
Alfred Ybarra Art Director

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Major Dundee 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite films, albeit a tad too long and drawn out in parts, Heston is strong as is Harris and the rest of the cast. Heston battles the Apache, the French, The Confederates and his own demons in this story of a disciplined union officer. He is survivng the war out west and trying to bring justice at the same time, in a land where there is only injustice and cruelty. The love interest and love interest lost are a bit long and boring, even unneeded but the classic battle at the end is worth the wait.