Vera Cruz (Robert Aldrich, 1954)

Hi, Vera Cruz starring Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster has a reputation of being a spaghetti narrative and location sites based, I’ll pick this, but want know some opions first ::slight_smile:


Yes, it’s pretty spaghetti-like at times for a pre-spaghetti western. Brilliant movie, definitely recommended.

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It also includes future SW stars, Bronson & Borgnine. Great Movie.

Yeah, great pre-Spaghetti with proto-Spaghetti aspets. I just read a chapter about this movie in Howard Hughes’ new book Stagecoach To Tombstone (very good book by the way).
He said this: “One story goes that Bronson and Borgnine left the set in Mexico in their cowboy costumes to buy cigarettes and were arrested by the Federales who thought they were real bandits- actually it was Charles Horvath who was mistaken off-set for real outlaw ‘Jamarillo’.”

Romaine, what’s this book about?

Re: The last Western you watched?
« Reply #1551 on: November 25, 2007, 12:29:52 PM »

VERA CRUZ (1954) was on the box yesterday. I’d never seen it before and thoroughly enjoyed it. Great Mexican scenery, twisty plot, fine performances and a great final shootout. Gary Cooper as the man with honour, and Burt Lancaster magnificently hammy as the mean hombre without a good bone in his body.
(The above is an old bit from me.)

I was reading Mr. Hughs’ old book OUATITIW recently and if I may quote somebody with a bit more to say on this matter …

‘Fifties westerns again influenced Leone, especially Robert Aldrich’s action-filled Mexican revolution western Vera Cruz. Ex-confederate Major Trane (Gary Cooper) and black-clad-but-amiable antihero Joe Erin (Burt Lancaster) are the untrustworthy forerunners of Leone’s bounty-hunting heroes. They too are after the same quarry - a woman’s heart and a cache of gold.’

Of the film’s ‘stylised’ and ‘prolonged death scene’ of Lancaster, he gives an anecdote regarding a spoof in a MAD magazine of 1955 whereby …
‘After the final gundown, heroic Burt Lambaster goes upstairs, gets a wash, gets changed, freshens up and as you’re convinced he won, he falls on his face… dead.’ :smiley:
Blimey. In the film all he does is give a couple of twirls and reholster his gun, but it is fabulously corny. Well worth a look!

Hey, Stanton.
It’s basically a book that offers detailed reviews/info about 27 different classic westerns. It’s set up in the same way that his larger book about Spaghettis (Once Upon A Time In The Italian West) is set up.
He picks 27 westerns, starting with John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939) and ending with Tombstone (1993).
I can’t list all the films he includes but he gets a lot of my favorites. Here’s some he includes: My Darling Clementine, Johnny Guitar, Vera Cruz, Man From Laramie, Forty Guns, Magnificent Seven, One-Eyed Jacks, McCabe & Mrs Miller, Ulzana’s Raid, Unforgiven. In talking about each of these specific movies he always also mentions many others and often gives mini review/summaries of them. For instance, in talking about The Man From Laramie he discusses a lot of other westerns done by Anthony Mann.
It’s a fun book because you can skip around and read in any order you prefer.
Lots of interesting stories and information.
It even has a number of top ten lists by, among others, Spaghetti notables Tom Betts & Christopher Frayling.
Well written too. As with any book of this type, some people will inevitably disagree with his choices.

I liked his SW book, so maybe I’ll buy me this one too.

If you liked his other(s), I believe you will like this one. It also has a chapter on Once Upon A Time In The West. It is very reasonably priced on Amazon.

As the most of the Westerns set in Mexico during a Revolution this one is also great. I also really like Wild Bunch, the magnificant Seven and The Professionals. But my all time favourites are “Il Mercenario” next to “Quien Sabe”, Companeros and “Giù la testa”. Burt Lancaster is playing a character you will find in SW too and in some ways Gary Cooper. Next to Charles Bronson, Ernest Borgnine you will also find Jack Elam and Cesar Romero. For 1960 it has a high Body Count and there is also a Machine Gun! And there are some everyone betrays everyone situations. I don’t know if Vera Cruz is the first Mexico Revolution Western but it has a great Cast with good acting, a lot of Action and it is a rather good entertaining western.

Actually it’s set durining the French intervention in Mexico [1861-1867] not Mexican Revolution [1910-1921]. Sorry, as a history student i simply couldn’t resist saying that :stuck_out_tongue:

Knew that (but I think there was a little revolution too :wink: ), also Indio Black is set during this period.

Lancaster is wonderful in Vera Cruz with this cutthroat grin.

And he shoots men behind his back. :slight_smile:

This is not a spghetti western but I think it should not be overlooked by fans. In a previous review, I mentioned th 1954 american western very spaghettieque with its great anti heroes, double crosses, and cynical attitude towards violence. It is loaded with black humour. It is proboly the first movie to ever have any anti heroes. Anyway it is about two american mercenaries in 1866 mexico who are hired to escort a french countess to the port of vera cruz. Along the way they must deal with juaristas, turncoat french lancers and each other. It has been released by MGM region 1. I don’t know if there are any other copies but I suggest any fan of spaghetti western check it out. Sergio Leone was greatly influenced by it. You can see the similarities in “For a Few Dolars More.” It stars Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster. Highly recommended.

If you have seen this please post comments. Post comments even if you haven’t seen this.

Korano, there is already a thread about Vera Cruz:,999.0.html

I saw that yesterday after I wrotye this. I will erase it.

I love this movie.

It’s definitely the first to include a German (Prussian) military-officer as an ‘adviser’ to one-of-the-2 Mexican regimes…

I wish I could’ve seen it in 70mm. I probably did, as a whiney 2-year-old, my parents being huge fans of Lancaster. I loved George MacReady as Maximilian in the marksmanship display with the rifles. After Cooper and Lancaster shot off candle-flames from a distance in their roughneck/roustabout modes, Emperor Max elegantly shoots-out a candle as-well, beaming to the crowd in a way that said; I’m an untamed rogue too. Stellar scene.