The Bravos (1972 TV Movie) [DVD, Import - English audio, removable subtitles]

The Bravos (1972 TV Movie) [DVD, Import - English audio, removable subtitles]

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The Bravos marks George Peppard’s transition from big box-office to television star, with lead roles soon to follow in TV series Banacek, Doctors’ Hospital and, of course, The A-Team. At the time, director Ted Post was having great success both in his native medium of television and in film, having directed Clint Eastwood in 1968’s Hang ‘Em High and soon to take the helm of Eastwood’s Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force.

For a TV movie, The Bravos has high aspirations and production values, being a fully-fledged cavalry western filmed in beautiful Sedona, Arizona, doubling for New Mexico. As so often with TV movies of the time, one wonders whether it was the pilot for a series which was never commissioned.

Major John Harkness (Peppard) commands an isolated frontier cavalry post in the midst of a Kiowa Indian rebellion. He maintains a fragile peace, until the delicate balance is undermined by the hot-headed Captain Jackson Buckley (Pernell Roberts), who kills a group of young Indians under the false pretence that they are rebels. Harkness tries to avoid all-out war at any cost, and matters are further complicated when his son, Peter (Vincent Van Patten, son of comedic actor Dick Van Patten) arrives unexpectedly at the fort.

Perhaps its reliance on Universal’s regular troupe of television actors is problematic given our familiarity with shows of that period, but it’s good to see Pernell Roberts, who squandered his popularity as Adam Cartwright in TV western series Bonanza by departing the cast abruptly mid-run, making a successful return to the genre outside of the Euro-westerns in which he was also appearing around this time.

The Bravos is a routine cavalry western - or, as one reviewer prefers, “formulaic horse opera”! - devoid of unnecessary romantic subplots, which successfully delivers a good-old cavalry versus Indians saga.

Spanish Region 0 PAL (fully UK-compatible) DVD, MIC 2017, Cert. 15

Please note: Video quality reflects the movie’s 1970s TV origins and may appear suboptimal on large screens. Subtitles have been tested and confirmed removable using disc menus.

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