The Professionals is a 1966 American western starring Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin and Claudia Cardinale.
The film, which was written and directed by Richard Brooks, was based on the novel A Mule for the Marquesa by Frank O'Rourke. It received three nominations at the 1967 Academy Awards.
The film came out around the same time I was in the Essex Road watching the man with no name in For a few dollars more or was it the other one anyway the director of this film shpows that Americans do it better and Sergio Leone in comparison sucked badly. It is maybe one of the best films ever made in any genre, lets say up there with them. Its main underlying conviction is on the fact that America was going bad and in Bellamy read Bush , Bush junior and Nixon plus all the other "faces " behind the scenes that stir up shit all across the globe.
In the latter period of the Mexican Revolution, Rancher J.W. Grant (Ralph Bellamy) hires four men, who are all experts in their respective fields, to rescue his kidnapped wife, Maria (Claudia Cardinale) from Jesus Raza (Jack Palance), a former Mexican Revolutionary leader turned bandit.bellamy
Team leader Rico Fardan (Lee Marvin) is a weapons specialist, Bill Dolworth (Burt Lancaster) is an explosives expert, the horse wrangler is Hans Ehrengard (Robert Ryan) and Jake Sharp (Woody Strode) is a scout with traditional Apache skills, particularly with a bow and arrow. Fardan and Dolworth, having both fought under the command of Pancho Villa, have a high regard for Raza as a soldier. But they are hard and cynical professionals so they have no qualms about killing him now.
After crossing the Mexican border, the team tracks the bandits to their hideout. They bear witness as soldiers on a government train are massacred by Raza's small army. The professionals follow the captured train to the end of the line and retake it from the bandits. Some move on to the bandit camp and observe Raza and his followers — including a buxom soldier, Chiquita (Marie Gomez). At nightfall, Fardan infiltrates Raza's private quarters but he is stopped from killing him by Maria, the kidnapped wife. "Amigo," Dolworth concludes, "we've been had."
Fardan does what he is being paid for and escapes with Grant's wife. Back at the train, the men find that it has been retaken by the bandits. After a shootout, they retreat into the mountains, hotly pursued by Raza and his men. The professionals evade capture by using explosives to bring down the walls of a gully, thus blocking the path. But as Raza and his group are relentless, Dolworth acts as a rearguard to allow the others to escape. The bandit leader is captured, battered and wounded following an ambush.
The four professionals, with Maria and Raza, reach the U.S. border to be met by Grant and his own men. It is then revealed that they had not rescued his kidnapped wife but Raza's willing mistress. Grant "bought" Maria for an arranged marriage only for her to escape and return to her "true love" in Mexico. The pleased rancher then tells Fardan that their contract has been completed to his full satisfaction and he releases them from the business agreement.
As Maria hugs the wounded Raza on the ground, Grant callously turns to one of his men and says, "Kill him." But before the man can shoot, the gun is shot out of his hand by Dolworth who tells Grant he has not earned the right to kill a man like Raza. The four professionals then step in to protect Maria and Raza. Grant calls Fardan a bastard, to which Fardan retorts: "Yes, sir, in my case an accident of birth. But you, sir, you are a self-made man."
The professionals collect the wounded Raza, put him on a carriage and, with Grant's wife at the reins, send them both back to Mexico. They collect their things and follow on horseback.
CastBurt Lancaster ... Bill Dolworth
Lee Marvin ... Henry 'Rico' Fardan
Claudia Cardinale ... Mrs. Maria Grant
Robert Ryan ... Hans Ehrengard
Woody Strode ... Jake Sharp
Jack Palance ... Jesus Raza
Ralph Bellamy ... Joe Grant
Joe De Santis ... Ortega
Rafael Bertrand ... Fierro
Jorge Martínez de Hoyos ... Goatkeeper
Marie Gomez ... Chiquita
José Chávez ... Revolutionary
Carlos Romero ... Revolutionary
Vaughn Taylor ... Money-Delivering Banker
Production notesDuring the filming of a scene where Maria attempts to escape through a canyon wired with dynamite, Cardinale's stunt double was badly injured. Cardinale, who had never ridden a horse before, performed the stunt herself in the final cut.
The movie was filmed in Technicolor on location in Death Valley and the Valley of Fire, showing the latter prominently. During filming, the cast and crew stayed in Las Vegas. Actor Woody Strode wrote in his memoirs that he and Marvin got into a lot of pranks, on one occasion shooting an arrow into Vegas Vic, the famous smiling cowboy neon sign outside The Pioneer Club.
The railway scenes were filmed on Kaiser Steel's Eagle Mountain Railroad. The steam locomotive seen in the movie currently resides on the Heber Valley Railroad