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Bronco Billy 1980
Description: An idealistic, modern-day cowboy struggles to hold his Wild West present afloat in the face of difficult luck and waning interest.
Released: 11 Jun 1980 Director: Clint Eastwood Writers: Dennis Hackin Actors: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Scatman Crothers Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance, Western
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Bronco Billy Reviews:

This film never got much acclaim for some reason. When I read where Clint Eastwood told it was a private favourite of his I smiled, because it's mine, too.....and I like a lot of Eastwood's movies.This isn't just my favourite Eastwood film. It's one of my all-time favourite - period! That's probably because it has tremendous charm, with a nice mixture of comedy and drama with characters you care about. It's definitely various from most of Clint's movies. The popular Eastwood glare when he's angry is still there, and he still shows his violent side. However, it's not a violent story, just a tale of a modern-day boy and his tiny troupe who wish to be cowboys and Indians, and go on tour with their tiny Wild West show.The movie has nice, colourful photography and looks nice on DVD. However, the story, not the visuals, is the main attraction. It's refreshing to see Eastwood enjoy a role like this where he's a Mr. Rogers-type western character for tiny kids, urging kids to stay on the straight and narrow, mind their parents and tell their prayers before going to bed at night.Sondra Locke also is effective as the cold newcomer who reluctantly joins the group and slowly changes from a mean-spirited, sarcastic girl to a caring person. She shows a nice comedic touch and is perfect in this film, perhaps her greatest effort since "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter."The rest of the cast is fun to watch, too, and it contains one of my favourite faces and voices, that of "Scatman" Crothers. There is very tiny profanity in this film, too, which adds to the attraction and widens the potential audience of this neglected gem. I really think it's Eastwood's most underrated movie.


I think this film is pure Eastwood: not trying for the spectacular or flashy, not aiming for any Oscars, but honest, well-crafted, original in theme, touching and memorable. It deserves more attention than it's gotten and is deeper than it's been given credit for. Eastwood himself has told that if he ever had anything to tell as a director it's in this film. It's a nice addition to Eastwood's huge and impressive body of work, and shows yet again that he is never scared to take chances.


Bronco Billy the sharpshooting cowboy is the owner of a modern-day travelling Wild West Present that seems to receive caught in one messy case after another. And not supporting is the lack of crowd figures to their show. But nothing is going to stop Bronco Billy along with his companions from living their American dream. Through some amusing chain of happenings a wealthy, snobby heiress Antoinette Lilly finds herself tagging along with the present and becoming one of Bronco Billy's assistant, after her fresh husband leaves her stranded with nothing.I don't understand why they think this cap gun shoots nothing but blanks. While, Eastwood (who directs and stars) goes all sentimental, warm and fuzzy for a change. It wasn't as well agreed (despite it being one of Eastwood's favourites) and flopped at the box office with it receiving such terrible jabs from most critics. Not to tell it's great, but this comically light-hearted hero adventure has a certain amount of charm within its foundation that doesn't create it as terrible as you would believe. Even with this whimsical nature, it never gets overbearing. Sure it can cause you to cringe at times, but it wears its heart on its sleeve and keeps it integrity intact. More often I found myself smiling at the shenanigans, well it was difficult not to. It's simply a satire worked into an old-fashioned storyline of familiar ingredients, were there was plenty of things going on in the plot. Who knew these traditional plot devices should maintain such interest. This is because of a delicious bunch of wholesome performances, authentically zippy purple patches of random fun and Eastwood's conventionally hardy direction makes sure it ticks along sufficiently. Even if it's nicely shot, there's nothing overly flashy or quirky creeping up, so it's all about the loyal chemistry and assured storyline that keeps one compelled. Streamlining the moralistic storyline are deep insights and symbolic brushes of the real feeling of the American dream. You got to earn it, as it's not served on up on a plate for you and from that you create the most out of it to live up to 'your' dreams. Pacing-wise it can stall in stretches, but I didn't search it boring when that did occur. The stock characters here seem to be grounded by reality, despite some silly developments (mainly involving a mental institution). The relaxed Clint Eastwood chimes in with a wonderfully touching performance. He simply chews up the material with nice vigour. A terrific Sandra Locke has a screen presence that's equally as dominating in the role of the stuck-up, cold-blooded high-end dame. Eastwood regular Geoffrey Lewis' oddball greedy turn was marvellously madcap. The performances of Sam Bottoms, Dan Vadis, Sierra Pecheur and Bill McKinney are pleasurably sincere as Eastwood's ragtag team.If there's one Eastwood movie that's unfairly lampooned. "Bronco Billy" gets my vote. This gratifying present gotta go on.



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