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With: Peter Fonda, Warren Oates, Verna Bloom, Robert Pratt, Severn Darden, Rita Rogers, Ann Doran, Ted Markland, Owen Orr, Al Hopson, Megan Denver, Michael McClure, Gray Johnson, Len Marsal
Written by: Alan Sharp
Directed by: Peter Fonda
MPAA Rating: R for western violence and some sexual content
Running Time: 90
Date: 08/11/1971

The Hired Hand (1971)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Beguiled Wild West

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Only two years after Once Upon a Time in the West (1969), Henry Fonda's son Peter directed and starred in a kind of arty Western that only could have been made in the early 70s and in the wake of Easy Rider. Photographed by Vilmos Zsigmond, the stunningly beautiful The Hired Hand is one of the great, underrated films of the 70s. Peter Fonda and Warren Oates play a couple of drifters who ride around until Fonda finally decides after seven years to go back home to his wife. As director, Fonda concentrates on rhythms and moods more so than on plot, and the lovely cinematography certainly helps. The new Collector's Edition DVD (Universal/Sundance Channel) comes with a beautiful, restored transfer and a new commentary track by Fonda, but no optional subtitles. The second disc comes with a feature-length making-of documentary, deleted scenes, cast and crew bios, advertising materials, production notes, and comments from Martin Scorsese.

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