Though it seems like everyone remembers the film "The Wild Bunch" when it comes to classic cowboy/friendship films "The Professionals" was the first great one. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay.
Four soldiers of fortune are hired by a wealthy Texas oil baron (Ralph Bellamy – Trading Places, Pretty Woman) to rescue his kidnapped wife (Claudia Cardinale – Once Upon a Time in the West, Son of the Pink Panther). She has been taken by a gang led by Jesus Raza (Jack Palance – City Slickers, Batman) across the Mexican border. Each of the four has a particular talent with an ace shooter and tracker (Woody Strode – The Quick and the Dead, The Cotton Club), an explosives expert (Burt lancaster – Field of Dreams, Airport), a talented rider (Robert Ryan – The Wild Bunch, The Longest Day), and a man handy with weapons and developing a plan (Lee Marvin – Gorky Park, The Dirty Dozen). They make their way across some dangerous terrain in order to find the woman and once they do they realize that things are not as they seem.
Though at first watch you might chalk this film up as a beautiful looking, well acted and beautifully scored film. You would be only part right with that assessment. There is plenty going on in Richard Brooks' (Key Largo, In Cold Blood) film. It is a metaphor for how the world is changing and not for the better. People no longer seem to take pride in their work. It is an existential look at the world that is full of philosophical moments. No your average cowboy flic.
Besides the heady parts of the script there are also several twists that you won't see coming and they make the film that much better. You can't take anything at face value with this film.
-The Professionals: A Classic
-Burt Lancaster: A Portrait
-Trailers for 21, First Sunday and Starship Troopers 3
-Memories from The Professionals