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Big Jake

Big Jake

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McCandles Ranch is run over by a gang of cutthroats led by the evil John Fain. They kidnap little Jacob McCandles and hold him for one million dollars ransom. There is only one man brave enough, tough enough, and smart enough to bring him back alive, and that man is Big Jake.

STARS: John Wayne, Richard Boone, Maureen O'Hara

110 min | Drama, Western | 1971 | Color


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A Big Rollicking Gritty Fun Movie
From its documentary style opening, Big Jake delivers big fun, big adventure, nasty villains, whippersnapper sons and classic John Wayne. This movie has something for everyone, but be warned it has plenty of violence and is definitely a PG/ PG13 type film.
The supporting cast is excellent with Patrick Wayne, Christopher Mitchum, Richard Boone,Bruce Cabot, Maureen O'Hara, Gregg Palmer and Dog turning in solid performances.
While there are the formulaic elements such as horrendous acts perpetuated by bad men that give license to the good guys to do whatever is necessary to right the wrong, Big Jake also has other elements that make this film not just another Western:
1) Takes place in transition period of the turn of the century which provides some interesting interaction between the old ways and new ways.
2) Fun relationships and interplay between an estranged father and his young adult sons.
3) Great mixture of fun and intense gritty action. (John Wayne movies are known for this)
Consequently -
If you like Westerns this is a classic that you will enjoy.
If you are a fan of John Wayne at all this is a must see film.
If you are just looking for a good gritty action film with a healthy dose of humor seamlessly woven in to the story you will not be disappointed.
Ultimately, this is one of my favorite John Wayne films.

Your fault. My fault. I'm gonna blow your head off!
That's one of my favorite lines from this picture and the way it's delivered, both times, is thrilling. Violent and bloody (and Bernstein's music makes one of the machete attacks even worse, his sense of drama is so good!) so don't let pre-teens or the impressionable see it! Boone is an awesome villain and Wayne and his "dog" make an odd hero combo. Big Jake is a big film, depicting the end of the cowboy era, without bemoaning the passing, and deftly incorporating new technology with the old. The tension between Wayne and his three boys is fine and there's some funny scenes, too. Highly recommended. PS: a Big Jake fan wrote into Entertainment Magazine in the 80s that this was one of his favorite Wayne films; the EM staff had never heard of it. I canceled my subscription.

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