6.3/10
335
11 user 7 critic

The Devil's Backbone (1971)

The Deserter (original title)
Army deserter Capt. Viktor Kaleb is offered a pardon and reinstatement in the cavalry if he agrees to lead a special forces group in a raid against an Apache stronghold into Mexico.

Directors:

Burt Kennedy, Niksa Fulgosi (uncredited)

Writers:

Stuart J. Byrne (based on a story by), William H. James (based on a story by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bekim Fehmiu ... Capt. Victor Kaleb
Richard Crenna ... Maj. Wade Brown
Chuck Connors ... Reynolds
Ricardo Montalban ... Natchai - Indian Scout
Ian Bannen ... British Army Capt. Crawford
Brandon De Wilde ... Lt. Ferguson
Slim Pickens ... Tattinger - American Scout
Woody Strode ... Jackson
Albert Salmi ... Schmidt
Patrick Wayne ... Capt. Bill Robinson
Fausto Tozzi ... Orozco
Mimmo Palmara ... Apache Chief Mangus Durango
John Alderson John Alderson ... O'Toole
Doc Greaves Doc Greaves ... Scott
Lucio Rosato Lucio Rosato ... Jed
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Storyline

Bitter over his wife's death due to what he believes was army negligence, Capt. Viktor Kaleb deserts the cavalry and disappears into the southwestern wasteland. But when marauding Apaches set up a stronghold just out of the cavalry's reach in Mexico, Kaleb is given amnesty in exchange for leading a small band of especially trained soldiers to wipe out the Indian stronghold. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A savage renegade and the chosen few... they followed him into Hell just for the chance to kill him! See more »

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | Yugoslavia | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 March 1971 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Backbone See more »

Filming Locations:

Almeria, Andalucia, Spain See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Burt Kennedy came on board, he wanted Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Ernest Borgnine or Martin Landau or Karl Malden for the part of Gen. Miles. Malden looked for $250,000 plus $1,500 a day expenses. A much cheaper John Huston got the part. See more »

Quotes

Captain Viktor Kaleb: O'Toole made two mistakes. He didn't test his skills...
Cpt. Crawford: And he yelled when he was falling.
Captain Viktor Kaleb: An Apache wouldn't.
Cpt. Crawford: Damn it! If a man is dying, he has a right to be a little bit disturbed by it!
Captain Viktor Kaleb: Not if he cares anything about the men he was with.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Western Outlaws: 50 Movie MegaPack (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great Dirty Dozen style western
5 January 2004 | by allan-stenhouseSee all my reviews

Really loved this film when I saw it on BBC1 way back in 1981, when I was the grand old age of 11. One of those films I always wanted to see on TV again, but it has NEVER been repeated on UK TV. However, I managed to pick it up on second hand video from e-bay, and wondered how it would stand up today, over 20 years after I saw it. The verdict? Still great. True, it is dated in parts (Music, editing) but these are really minor complaints on the whole. The lead character is great; really ruthless and a true anti-hero. Some great supporting cast also; with some really unexpected moments. And it takes it's time getting to where it's going, which I feel a lot of todays films lack. In 'The Deserter', the characters are given time to breath, and it is not until well after the first hour that they inevitably start to die. This all leads up to an explosive last twenty mins, with some memorable scenes. If you love 'guys on a mission' movies, or westerns, see this little gem. Allan.


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