Wild Rovers with William Holden

The second round of the Golden Boy Blogathon has arrived. This year I decided to tackle Wild Rovers. Another one my parents had on Super 8 but I honestly couldn’t remember it (I know I’ve watched it though). So, nothing better than a Blogathon for some motivation. Time to give it another watch.

Often, when re-watching, bits come back but not with this one at all…well, except for the last 20 minutes or so. Amazing how some scenes suddenly stick. Oh, and the one where William Holden chases a herd of wild horses.

William Holden plays Ross Bodine, an aging cowboy who dreams of retiring in Mexico but doesn’t have the money to do so. Frank Post (Ryan O’Neal) is half Ross‘ age with dreams of his own. One night the two get involved in a fight at the local saloon and to pay for damages, boss and ranch owner Walt Buckman (Karl Malden) informs the two that deductions will be made from their salary. It is at this point that they decide to rob the bank in town. The rest of the story is about their ride to Mexico with Walt‘s sons, John and Paul (played by Tom Skerritt and Joe Don Baker respectively) on their trail.

While this isn’t a fast-paced Western, to me, it is more about the journey and decisions made by the two men (and others). William Holden is fantastic as the older, wiser more level-headed Ross. He fits the role perfectly. Being reasonable or firm when he needs to but adding some wonderful lighter moments in other circumstances. He is the perfect balance to Ryan O’Neal‘s arrogant, sometimes thoughtless and wilder Frank. I found myself smiling so often at the way Ross “reels in” Frank when he gets a bit too hot-headed. And William Holden‘s facial expressions are wonderful in this one.

Directed by Blake Edwards, it looks like this western didn’t do too well when it was released. Running at just over 2 hours, this was meant to be a 3 hour epic but never made it and was even cut down to just over 1 hour 40 minutes or so for the theatrical release.

I covered William Holden in The Revengers for last year’s Golden Boy Blogathon. Before you know it, the 3rd one will be upon us. Ok, ok…it’s only April. But can’t wait anyway. Thanks for hosting Virginie.








  1. In my quest to watch as many Blake Edwards movies as possible, this one has eluded me. I’m partial to his comedies, however, and if this one is funny, I really must look for it. Good review.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve seen many Holden’s films, but not this one! Actually, except for The Wild Bunch, I don’t think I’ve seen many of his Westerns! Your fine review makes me curious to see it. The cast seems awesome. 🙂 And I like the fact that you mentioned William Holden’s facials expression because that’s something I’m always looking for 🙂
    Thanks so much for joining the blogathon one more time!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wild Rovers is a pleasure to watch, with Holden’s character resembling Pike Bishop from The Wild Bunch, an ageing cowboy who is fully aware that he is past his prime. The role fits nicely into the latter stages of William’s career, I actually think he got more interesting as he got older. It’s surprising this film wasn’t better received, because it’s deserving of a place amongst the great elegiac westerns of the early 70s, like The Wild Bunch, Monte Walsh, McCabe & Mrs. Miller and The Hired Hand.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I must admit, I only know the older William Holden but always enjoy watching him. Here, I find he is the reasoning one yet never “forces” anything on O’Neal’s character. I think this one is also thought provoking.
      Did you know…apparently the poster had some influence as to why it wasn’t well received. Is said to be unintentionally funny the way O’Neal holds Holden.
      Maybe it didn’t too too well because it is, in my opinion, a more leisurely paced film.

      Liked by 1 person

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