The Hunting Party


Action / Drama / Western

IMDb Rating 6.5 10 2,206


Downloaded 11,514 times
April 4, 2019



Candice Bergen as Bernice
Gene Hackman as Lowell Kolchek
Oliver Reed as Dr. Hal Raglan
Simon Oakland as Jubal Hooker
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
905.74 MB
23.976 fps
111 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.73 GB
23.976 fps
111 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by virek213 7 / 10 / 10

A Sagebrush Variation On THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, But Not Quite A Masterpiece

When you go hunting with Brandt Ruger, you go first-class all the way. But when you steal his "property", you sign your own death warrant. That is something that a notorious outlaw (Oliver Reed) and his gang have to learn in the worst way possible in THE HUNTING PARTY, a 1971 British/American western that, even by 21st century standards, is still incredibly violent. Reed kidnaps a local schoolteacher (Candice Bergen) in the (now faint) hope that he'll be taught how to read. When Bergen warns him about her husband, he tells her "It don't matter whose wife you are." A fatal misjudgment on his part, for her husband Brandt Ruger (Gene Hackman) is not one to fool around with. While out on a hunting party with a few of his friends, the dictatorial and very abusive land baron learns of Bergen's kidnapping, and thus gets blood in his eyes. And rather than going after game, he and his boys instead go after Reed and his gang, picking them off one at a time with high-power rifles that can hit from a distance of 800 yards. The result is a sagebrush variation of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, done with some of the most brutally violent shootouts this side of THE WILD BUNCH and SOLDIER BLUE. And as he is a man driven by extreme jealousy (Bergen is his personal "property", whom he physically abuses on more than one occasion), the fact that Bergen is beginning to develop a rapport with Reed now gives him whatever license he feels he needs to kill her as well, though he drags it out for the sheer sadistic fun of it to a very cynical and blood-splattered conclusion. There isn't too much doubt that THE HUNTING PARTY was made to take advantage of the "market" opened up by THE WILD BUNCH and its director Sam Peckinpah's choreography of violent action, as well the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone. The shootouts are extremely bloody, and they clearly mirror those of THE WILD BUNCH in the use of slow motion and quick cutting. Where THE HUNTING PARTY falls short, however, is in a crucial area that Peckinpah knew was vital to his film being successful: the action and plot must be character-driven and made to feel real to an audience. Veteran TV director Don Medford (who, among other things, directed the classic 1961 Twilight Zone episode "Death's Head Revisited) and screenwriters Gilbert Ralston, William Norton, and Lou Morheim know how to do the Peckinpah-inspired gunfights, but they don't seem to have taken too much time to really delineate any complexities in the three main characters. Bergen is merely a damsel in distress, caught between two men who are basically bastards, one merely semi-controlling (Reed), the other a sadistic control freak of the highest order (Hackman). Absent the complex psychological and character-driven narrative that propelled THE WILD BUNCH to a controversial but well-deserved glory, THE HUNTING PARTY can so easily be tagged, as more than a few critics have done (albeit perhaps too zealously), as an extremely bloody sagebrush shooting gallery in which violence is staged for the sake of violence. The film does succeed in giving us good performances from the three leads (notably Hackman, whose role is credibly sadistic to the highest degree); good cinematography done on location in Spain (as a stand-in for Texas); and supporting roles for L.Q. Jones (a member of Peckinpah's stock company); Simon Oakland; Mitchell Ryan; and William C. Watson. And one can't fault the long-distance shooting that occurs, or the way it so ingeniously borrows a great old-world story (THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME) and puts it into a WILD BUNCH-type western format. Had the filmmakers only paid a bit more attention to complex characters and motives here as Peckinpah had in his epic film, however, THE HUNTING PARTY might have been a bit more than a good, if incredibly and graphically violent, post-Peckinpah/Leone addition to a Western genre that was rapidly changing during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Reviewed by teelbee 8 / 10 / 10

Exciting and very dramatic western

This movie had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. As wild westerns go, this ranks near the top. It's very well paced, and the acting is superb. Plot twists and the unfolding of well-developed characters sustain the movies' tension to the end. Oliver Reed is stunning as Frank Calder, the tough leader of an outlaw gang who wants to learn to read. Thinking she is a schoolteacher who can teach him his letters, he kidnaps Melissa (Candice Bergman), the wife of the very wealthy Brant Rudger (Gene Hackman). Rudger, a cruel sadist and absolute dictator, talks his wealthy cronies into hunting down the outlaw gang and picking them off one by one with high-powered rifles. But he proposes it more as a game of revenge or sport than out of love or fear for his wife's safety. Calder and Rudger are both brutal men, but Calder values human life and relationships while the Rudger cares only for indulging his passions at any cost. Though his friends start to sicken of the game and beg him to stop, Rudger won't be deterred from the game. As the movie develops, Oliver Reed's scenes crackle with tension, energy, and a depth of sexuality that may surprise those who are more familiar with his roles as the heavy or antagonist. Gene Hackman's character brings a single-minded intensity to the movie that has rarely been matched on screen. Candice Bergman gives a feisty performance and carries off a difficult role very well. Her character is caught, both literally and figuratively in a war of emotions, in a terrifying conflict. I agree with the prior reviewer who says this needs to be released on DVD! With so many bad movie DVD's out there, I'm surprised this one's potential has been overlooked for so long. Frankly, I would love to see it on the big screen.

Reviewed by Coventry 8 / 10 / 10

Ain't No Party Like Hackman's Hunting Party!

Why this film is still so obscure and unknown goes beyond my – admittedly limited – comprehension. It has a good plot, albeit obviously a response to "The Wild Bunch" and basically just another (western) interpretation of the legendary classic "The Most Dangerous Game", the cast is excellent with both Gene Hackman and Oliver Reed in great shape and there's plenty of rough and gritty violence. The filming locations are exquisite and – possibly to further cash in on the success of Italian Spaghetti westerns – the producers even hired and Italian composer. Riz Ortolani's music is definitely one of the best elements about the film. Gene Hackman was never as vicious as here in this movie, portraying Brandt Ruger; a rich, obnoxious and egocentric bank owner who enjoys throwing hunting parties for his selected circle of equally depraved and wealthy friends. When a posse of bandits, led by the ever handsome Oliver Reed, kidnaps his wife, Brandt alters the route of their planned hunting trip and goes after them. Not so much because he loves his wife (played by the ravishing Candice Bergen), as he actually neglects and abuses her all the time, but because he's Brandt Ruger and nobody is supposed to touch what belongs to him. Ruger gets crazier and more determined to raise a bloodbath with each minute that passes, whilst his wife and her abductor fall in love. Hackman's character is truly the nastiest and most hateful type of villain there is: relentless, mad and unpredictable, but also cowardly as he continuously avoids confrontation with his opponents and shoots them from a safe distance with his technically advanced riffle. "The Hunting Party" is slightly overlong and contains a handful of tedious sequences, notably the romantic parts and the whole sub plot revolving on Melissa learning her kidnapper how to read. Still, there's always some type of ominous atmosphere, since you expect Gene and his docile accomplices to pop up out of nowhere at any given moment. The climax is very powerful, haunting and even quite depressing. The action is of course rather monotonous, since we exclusively witness people getting shot, but the images of cowboys dying in slow motion (and bathing in blood) are gritty and exploitative. The three leads are amazing and "The Hunting Party" comes with my highest possible recommendation if it were only for witnessing the final showdown between Reed and Hackman, two of the greatest actors that ever lived.

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