I’m a fan of Charles Bronson films whether it is the classic western Once Upon A Time In The West or one of the Death Wish franchise. So I was extremely pleased when I heard that Eureka Entertainment were planning to release another of my favourite Bronson titles, so without further ado here’s my Breakheart Pass (1975) blu-ray review.
- Breakheart Pass (1975)
- Genre: Western
- UK Rating PG
- Discs: 2 (Bluray & DVD)
- Released By Eureka Entertainment
- Blu-ray Released: 21 May 2018
Set in the 1870’s, a troop train containing supplies is on its way to Fort Humboldt, a frontier outpost of the United States Army which is said to be struggling to contain a diphtheria epidemic. During one of their scheduled stops for water they stop at a small settlement whereupon two Army’s officers go missing. They are forced to abandon the search due to the urgency of their mission, however they do pickup a man named John Deakin (Charles Bronson), he just happens to be wanted by the law with a $2000 tag on his head.
The film is directed by Tom Gries with the cinematography side of things that’s taken care of by Lucien Ballard. First off this is a film following a train through the various landscapes including a rather breathtaking snowy and mountainous area. I mean the film is incredibly well shot switching from the internal carriage scenes to the cold snowy outdoor ones. This helps with the momentum of the film as does the motion of the train and it never allows proceeding to be dull.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is composed by Jerry Goldsmith and plays and integral part of making this a thoroughly entertaining ride. Goldsmith has composed some of cinemas best film scores and this is certainly one of them.
I absolutely loved it, I suppose it’s almost like another character within the movie, all in all this is a score you will have going around in your head long after the film has finished, thankfully this is actually a good thing.
Acting / Characters
Breakheart Pass is a film made in the seventies and I don’t know why but it seemed a time where we just had better actors. Better leading actors and certainly better character actors filling those smaller but vital roles. This film has actors such as Ed Lauter, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna, Charles Durning and of course as this is a Bronson film Jill Ireland. They all enhance the overall believability of the story and turn in excellent performances.
Charles Bronson is of course the star of the show and again he simply never fails to deliver a compelling performance. Whilst he became type cast in the eighties much of his earlier work is actually reasonably varied and extremely interesting. In Breakheart Pass he plays a criminal that just so happens to get caught up in something a whole lot bigger, but then who is this John Deakin fellow Bronson plays? He seems like he might know a little more than he’s letting on to the others. He delivers a strong and captivating performance.
- Charles Bronson as John Deakin
- Ben Johnson as U.S. Marshal Pearce
- Jill Ireland as Marica
- Richard Crenna as Governor Fairchild
- Charles Durning as O’Brien
- David Huddleston as Dr. Molyneux
- Ed Lauter as Major Claremont
- Bill McKinney as Reverend Peabody
- Robert Tessier as Levi Calhoun
- Eddie Little Sky as Chief White Hand
- Joe Kapp as Henry
- Archie Moore as Carlos
- Scott Newman as Rafferty
- Sally Kirkland as Jane-Marie
Conclusion: Breakheart Pass (1975) Film Review
For those who are yet to discover Breakheart Pass it’s a well made film, with terrific actors and one hell of a score. I cannot express how much I love this film, sure you could argue the characters lack any real depth but the same could be said of any western. What we have is a highly entertaining train journey that’s sure to go off the rails. For fans of Charles Bronson this is a must see and for everyone else especially if you love movies made in the seventies I’d still recommend giving this one a look, as they sadly no longer make films with this look and feel.
It would be hard to say this is a masterpiece in filmmaking but that said I rate movies and how much I enjoy them along with how well they are made. And it’s for that reason I rate this extremely highly for the entertainment value.
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Conclusion: Breakheart Pass Blu-ray Review
Now it’s time to discuss Breakheart Pass’s Bluray release, it from the MGM stable which is normal a bad sign.
Thankfully this release which comes courtesy of Eureka Entertainment is actually pretty good. In fact I’d have to say overall it’s a very good release. The picture quality for the most part is good and I only noticed two tiny speckles throughout the 95 minutes. I’m sure the image could be further improved and sharpened by undergoing a full restoration but I don’t really have any complaints with this one.
Switching my focus on to the extras reveals 25 minute interview with film critic Kim Newman on Breakheart Pass, I highly recommend listening to his interesting thoughts and opinions.
- Kim Newman Interview (25 mins)
On to my movie rating for Breakheart Pass (1975)
- Movie Rating: EXCELLENT
- Blu-ray Picture: GOOD
- Extras: GOOD
Amazon UK Links
Breakheart Pass (1975) is available now on blu-ray
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the blu-ray version
So that’s Breakheart Pass blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:
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Summary: Breakheart Pass (1975) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: Breakheart Pass (1975)
Duration: 95 mins
Director(s): Tom Gries
Actor(s): Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna, Ed Lauter, Charles Durning, Jill Ireland
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
A terrific film that’s well made has excellent actors and one hell of a score.
- Charles Bronson
- Good Supporting Cast
- Awesome Film Score
- No Real Complaints