Broken Lance

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"Fury of the West's Most Lawless Feud!"
  • NR
  • 1954
  • 1 hr 36 min
  • 6.9  (4,276)

Broken Lance is an iconic western drama from 1954 that highlights the struggle between two ranching families over land and possessions. Directed by Edward Dmytryk, the movie is an adaptation of the novel 'Death of a Nobody' by Richard Murphy. It features a stellar cast, including Spencer Tracy, Robert Wagner, and Jean Peters in the lead roles. The film was a commercial and critical success, earning three Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor.

The plot of Broken Lance revolves around a character named Matt Devereaux, played by Spencer Tracy. Matt is a powerful and assertive cattle rancher who has four sons from his previous marriage, and he leads his family with an iron fist. He is fiercely protective of his land and his family, and he doesn't hesitate to use violence to maintain his authority. His three eldest sons, Joe (Robert Wagner), Ben (Richard Widmark), and Mike (Hugh O'Brian), are loyal to their father and follow his commands without question. However, the youngest son, Denny (Earl Holliman), resents his father's tough ways and wishes to pursue a different path in life.

Things take a turn for the worse when an accident on Matt's cattle ranch leads to the death of a group of Mexican workers. The situation is compounded by the fact that Matt's ranch borders a large plot of land owned by his former business partner, a corrupt banker named Van Cleve (E.G. Marshall). Van Cleve is determined to take over Matt's property and will stop at nothing to achieve his goal. Matt's sons and Van Cleve's sons are caught up in a heated struggle over the land, leading to a tragic series of events that threaten to tear the family apart.

One of the central themes of Broken Lance is the conflict between the old and the new. Matt represents the old-fashioned, traditional cowboy culture that prizes strength and pride above all else. He is deeply attached to his land and his cattle, which he considers an extension of himself. However, this mindset clashes with the changing times, as new technologies and business strategies begin to emerge. Matt's sons, particularly Joe, represent the new era of ranchers who are willing to adapt to these changes and explore new opportunities. This conflict sets the stage for a gripping story that explores themes of family, loyalty, and power.

Another highlight of Broken Lance is the exceptional performances by the cast. Spencer Tracy is outstanding as the patriarch of the Devereaux family, bringing depth and complexity to a character that could easily become one-dimensional. His portrayal of a tough, uncompromising man with a vulnerable side is captivating and nuanced. Robert Wagner is equally impressive as the rebellious Joe, who struggles to find his place in the family and reconcile his loyalty to his father with his desire for independence. Jean Peters adds a touch of elegance and charm to the film as Barbara, Matt's love interest, who provides a sense of stability and compassion amidst the turmoil.

Overall, Broken Lance is a classic western that packs a powerful punch. It combines riveting action scenes with a compelling portrayal of family dynamics and explores themes that are as relevant today as they were in the 1950s. The film's strong performances, memorable characters, and poignant themes make it a must-watch for fans of the genre and anyone who appreciates great storytelling.

Broken Lance is a 1954 western with a runtime of 1 hour and 36 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.

Broken Lance
Where to Watch Broken Lance
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 36 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (4,276)