The Foreign Adventurism Western 06/11/22

CineSavant Essay
Revised from 1999

We update an essay from 1999, using five Hollywood features to see if critic Philip French’s movie-game theories about westerns and politics extend to features about armed Americans going South of the border for war and profit. With undisguised greed and shaky idealism front and center, never before was the notion of good guys vs. bad guys put to such a test. Yet audiences seeking spectacular violence and firepower never saw these shows as expressions of American foreign policy. The ‘Real Men’ formula is both celebrated and criticized in Vera Cruz, The Magnificent Seven, Major Dundee, The Professionals and The Wild Bunch.