Rent The Reivers (1969)

3.5 of 5 from 55 ratings
1h 47min
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Steve McQueen stars as Boon, a roguish hired hand who "borrows" his employer's new automobile, a spectacular Winton Flyer, and takes off for Memphis. Accompanying him are Ned, the black stable hand (Rupert Crosse) and Lucius (Mitch Vogel), an earnest 12-year old on the verge of losing his innocence. The three "reivers" (thieves) set out on a wild escapade that takes them everywhere from a brothel to a spectacular horse race where Lucius must ride a stallion to victory if he is to win back the Winton that Ned swapped for the horse.
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William Faulkner, Harriet Frank Jr.
John Williams
Action & Adventure, Classics, Comedy
The Best American Road Movies
Release Date:
Run Time:
107 minutes
English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, German Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, English, English Hard of Hearing, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.35:1

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Reviews (1) of The Reivers

Southern Nostalgia. - The Reivers review by Steve

Spoiler Alert
Updated 11/09/2021

Comedy-drama based on William Faulkner's novel set in the American south of the distant memory. A car is delivered to a rich family in a small rural town in Mississippi. The stable boys Boon and Ned (Steve McQueen and Rupert Crosse) 'borrow' the car and drive the family's 11 year old boy Lucius (Mitch Vogel) to Memphis where bawdy adventures take place and life-lessons are learned.  

The narrator (Burgess Meredith) declares that the citizens of Mississippi in his youth were a 'pleasant courteous people'. This was a time of apartheid, religious fundamentalism and great inequality. There is racism in the film (and free use of racist expletives) but it is stripped of menace. There are rednecks, a stupid fat sheriff, ribald sex workers... all the archetypes of southern comedy.

Perhaps this defanged idealisation of the past is more credible because it is a memory film. The suffering has been forgotten. If that hurdle can be overcome, and McQueen's rather grotesque, broad caricature, then there is a warm coming of age story set in the endless summers of all our pasts.

The film is quite beautifully photographed. There is a folksy score by John Williams, all banjos and fiddles, and well as a sentimental orchestral theme for moments of nostalgia. There is a sense of the past being a place of safety and childhood being a time of adventure, which may be a little guileless, but allowing for its faults this is a gentle, tranquil period film.

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