6.8/10
4,084
42 user 25 critic

Bite the Bullet (1975)

A group of ex-rough riders, an ex-prostitute and a gunfighter enter a horse race in the desert.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mario Arteaga ...
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Lee Christie (as Robert Hoy)
Jerry Gatlin ...
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Honey
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Steve (as Walter Scott Jr.)
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Storyline

At the beginning of the 20th century, a newspaper organizes an endurance horse race: 700 miles to run in a few days. 9 adventurers are competing, among them a woman, Miss Jones, a Mexican, an Englishman, a young cowboy, an old one and two friends, Sam Clayton and Luke Matthews. All those individualists will learn to respect each other. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Western Classic in the tradition of 'Shane' and 'High Noon'. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

1 May 1975 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

700 Meilen westwärts  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,000,000, 31 December 1975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Bronson turned down the leading role. See more »

Goofs

Power lines and a modern sodium vapor street light are visible at the train station. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Gebhardt: I heard your newspaper is running an honest race.
Reporter: You heard right, Mr. Gebhardt.
Gebhardt: Who the hell handicapped this owlhead as the favorite?
J.B. Parker: The smart money!
Gebhardt: That's what we come to get.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hot Lunch (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Overwhelming and spectacular horse race marvelously shot on gorgeous locations
28 May 2012 | by See all my reviews

Sensational Western excellently acted , marvelously photographed and well screen-written with fine eye by Richard Brooks . It deals with some aging riders as Hackman , Coburn and Ben Johnson who get chance redeem themselves along with a young gunslinger , a Brit lord , a Mexican and an ex-whore . The film was based on a real , endurance race at the turn of the century ; it was inspired by the 1908 , 700-mile cross-country horse race from Evanston , Wyoming to Denver , Colorado. It was sponsored by the Denver Post , which offered $2,500 prize money to the winner . At the beginning of the 20th century, a newspaper organizes a grueling horse race : 700 miles to run in a few days . A bunch of ex-rough riders and a gunfighter enter a horse race in the desert . The motley group of disparate adventurers are competing , among them a woman , ex-prostitute (Candice Bergen) , Miss Jones, a Mexican , an Englishman (Ian Bannen) , a young gunslinger (Jan-Michael Vincent) , an old one (Ben Johnson) and two friends , Sam Clayton (Gene Hackman , though Charles Bronson turned down the leading role) and Luke Matthews (James Coburn) . All those individualists learn to respect for each other and develop a grudging and growing friendship .

An overlong and dangerous horse race is the subject of this stunning and grand adventure , an epic in every sense of word . Impressive and breathtaking ending with the finalists terminating the grueling race . Exciting , funny and well acted , especially by Gene Hackman and James Coburn as two tough , two-fisted riders . Special mention to Ben Johnson as a veteran rider in his last feat . Colorfully photographed in Technicolor and Panavison by Harry Stradling Jr in Valley of Fire State Park and its Coyote Pass and Deah Valley (Nevada), Chama, New Mexico , Lake Mead, Taos , Nevada, White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo, New Mexico . Exceptional and thrilling soundtrack by Alex North (Cleopatra, Spartacus) , now a classic score .

Directed and screen-played with magnificent style by Richard Brooks . He was a fine writer/director so consistently mixed the good and average which it became impossible to know that to expect from him next . Firstly he worked regularly as a Hollywood screenwriter . After that , his initial experience of directing was one of his own screenplays called ¨Crisis¨. The Richard Brooks films that have the greatest impact are realized during the 50s and 60s as ¨Cat on a hot tin roof¨, ¨Something of value¨ , ¨Elmer Gantry¨, ¨Sweet bird of youth¨, ¨In cold blood¨ , ¨Lord Jim¨. Brooks was a writer and director of Chekhovian depth , who mastered the use of understatement, anticlimax and implied emotion . His films enjoyed lasting appeal and tended to be more serious than the usual mainstream productions . Richards formerly directed another good Western titled ¨The professionals ¨ also with various tough stars as Burt Lancaster , Lee Marvin , Jack Palance and Robert Ryan , including the same musician , Alex North , and similar outdoors . The ¨Bite the bullet¨ is an authentic must see , not to be missed for buffs of the genre . A magnificent movie , hardly noticed for its theatrical release ; however , being nowadays very well considered . Rating : Above average because of its awesome acting , dialog , score are world class.


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