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Film / 100 Rifles

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100 Rifles is a 1969 western directed by Tom Gries and starring Jim Brown, Burt Reynolds, Raquel Welch and Fernando Lamas. The original music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith.

In 1912 Mexico, Arizona lawman Lyedecker (Brown) chases Yaqui Joe (Reynolds), a half-Yaqui, half-white bank robber, when they are captured by the Mexican general Verdugo (Lamas). While imprisoned, Lyedecker learns that Joe used the loot to buy 100 rifles for the Yaqui people, who are being repressed by the government, but Lyedecker doesn't care about Joe's motive, intending to recover the money and apprehend Joe to further his career. The two men escape a Mexican firing squad and flee to the hills, where they meet Sarita (Welch), a beautiful Indian revolutionary. The fugitives become allies and the trio lead the Yaqui against Verdugo's forces.

This film features examples of:

  • Bittersweet Ending: Lyedecker and Joe successfully take down Verdugo and liberate the Yaqui people, but Sarita, Lyedecker's Love Interest, dies in the final battle.
  • Black Vikings: Discussed. Yaqui Joe is quite surprised to find an African-American lawman in the 1910s. Lyedecker justifies it by saying that he took "a job nobody wanted, and even at that it took me a whole year to get it".
  • Colorblind Casting: Lydecker, the Arizona lawman, is Black, despite the very slim plausibility of this being possible in the U.S. in 1912. According to Raquel Welch during a 1968 interview right after filming ended, Lydecker wasn't originally black, which is why the romance between him and Sarita was written, but they kept that even after casting Jim Brown.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Sarita gets killed off-screen during the final battle.
  • General Ripper: General Verdugo, who knows no restraints.
  • Inspector Javert: Lyedecker zig-zags between being this and Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist; on one hand Yaqui Joe's crime is serious enough for Lyedecker to be the latter, but his steadfast insistence (at first) to not listen to Joe's motives inclines him towards being the former.
  • Meaningful Name: General Verdugo. Verdugo means "executioner" in Spanish, which is appropiate for the film's General Ripper.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Raquel Welch's Sarita gracefully demonstrates that apparently there weren't any bras during the Mexican Revolution.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Sarita at one point takes a shower under a water tower with a shirt on. Given that Sarita was played by Raquel Welch, it was definitely for Fanservice purposes.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Lyedecker and Yaqui Joe don't get along, but have to team up to fend off the Mexican army.
  • You Killed My Father: General Verdugo killed Sarita's father; another reason why she opposes him.