Mackenna’s Gold (1969, Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif)

Poster for the movie ""
128 min - Adventure, Action, Western - 18 March 1969
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A glittering cast is assembled for this lively Western by the team responsible for The Guns of Navarone. Leading the pack is Gregory Peck's MacKenna, the only man living who knows the whereabouts of the legendary Canon del Oro (Valley of Gold). Walking around with this information makes him much sought-after and although he's the sheriff of a small frontier town, that's no shield against the sadistic men who want to share his knowledge. Chief among these is bandit Colorado (Omar Sharif), who's holding judge's daughter Inga (Camilla Sparv) hostage to ensure he gets his way.

Unfortunately for Colorado, he's not the only man desperate to get his hands on the precious metal. A tribe of Apache Indians are also determined to claim the gold, which means the bandit has to fall in with Ben Baker (Eli Wallach) and his band of gold-diggers for support. Most of Baker's posse are killed in an ambush, though, so Colorado then teams up with the equally ruthless Sgt Tibbs (Telly Savalas). When the group finally arrive at their destination, they discover that the valley is not a myth. The villains' treacherous natures ensures that no one gets what they want.

With a support cast that feels like a Batman reunion (Burgess Meredith, playing a storekeeper, was once The Penguin, while Julie Newmar, best known as Catwoman, plays an Indian Squaw in love with MacKenna) and an adrenaline-fuelled series of action set-pieces, MacKenna's Gold is also well served by an original soundtrack by Quincy Jones.

Writing in The Sunday Times , Dilys Powell noted, "It is a long time since I have so happily surrendered to a large-scale Western. The narrative handling is brilliant, there's splendid camerawork and there are miraculous effects in a finale that is smashing!" That ending involved the demolition of a real canyon (the producers purchased unsafe land for the scene), although there was one slight oversight: the shadows cast in the film point towards the sun and not away from it as they should.

Director:  J. Lee Thompson
Director of Photography:  TBA

Production Details

Release Date:  18 March 1969

Running Time:  2 h 08 min

Genres: Adventure, Action, Western

Language:  English

Tagline: A Giant of a movie

Budget and Box Office takings where known