Film / Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

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"There ain't nothing sacred about a hole in the ground or the man that's in it. Or you. Or me."
Bennie

A New Old West film from Sam Peckinpah, released in 1974. At the time, it was considered bleak and violent even by Peckinpah standards, it has since had a resurgence of popular and critical opinion. Peckinpah considered it his best and most personal film.

It begins with a feared Mexican landowner, known only as 'El Jefe' ('The Boss') brutally interrogating his pregnant teenage daughter over the identity of the father of the baby she's carrying. Upon learning that it was a trusted underling, El Jefe orders his henchmen to "Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia". This information eventually gets back to Bennie (Warren Oates), an American ex-pat who ekes out a living as the piano player in a dive bar, who in turn learns from his prostitute girlfriend Elita (Isela Vega) that Garcia is already dead, having been killed in a drunk driving accident some weeks previously. Bennie decides that he can earn some easy money by digging up Garcia's corpse, removing the head and taking it to El Jefe for the bounty, and drags Elita along to help him.

Things go downhill from there.


This film provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: El Jefe's first scene has him breaking his daughter's arm to find out who impregnated her. Yeah.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Sappensly and Quill are glued to each other at all times and disdain the advances of prostitutes. When one of them dies, the other becomes extremely emotional and completely loses it.
  • Anti-Hero: Bennie is a type III or IV
  • Attempted Rape: Two bikers try to rape Elita. She ultimately "accepts" one of them (played by Kris Kristofferson), but it doesn't happen as Bennie shoots him.
  • Author Avatar: Bennie. Warren Oates admits his performance is a Sam Peckinpah impersonation. The sunglasses Bennie wears were borrowed off Peckinpah.
  • Badass Biker: A strange subversion. The rough bikers intend to rape the hero's girl, but Kris Kristofferson gets bashful, and she actually tries to comfort him!
  • Bilingual Bonus: Lots of Spanish dialogue.
  • The Casanova: According to the posthumous reports we receive Alfredo Garcia was apparently this in life, with at least two examples to back it up; as well as knocking up the Big Bad Boss's daughter, he's also apparently gotten with Bennie's girlfriend a few times. She even seems to be more fond of him than she is of Bennie himself.
  • Cool Car: Bennie's red convertible is a 1962 Chevy Impala.
  • Cool Shades: Bennie wears some.
  • Take That!: When Bennie is first seen playing the piano in the Mexico City bar, a fake one-dollar bill on the brick wall directly behind him has a caricature of Richard Nixon. Sam Peckinpah inserted it there to show his contempt for Nixon, whose presidency was falling apart.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Sappensly and Quill.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Averted. The trailer is exceptionally blunt about how bleak and bloody the film is.
    Trailer Announcer: This man will become an animal. This woman's dreams of love will be destroyed. Innocent people will suffer. Holy ground will be desecrated. Twenty five people will die.
  • Title Drop: Said right as El Jefe learns of Alfredo Garcia's name.

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