Rent Ulzana's Raid (1972)

3.8 of 5 from 75 ratings
1h 39min
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Violence begets violence in this explosive western that pits marauding Apaches against weary Indian fighters and native U.S. cavalrymen. Burt Lancaster stars in this sharply written, fact-based story as a scout assigned to aid the cavalry in tracking down Ulzana and his band of renegade Indians. As the trail gets hotter, Lancaster attempts to teach an idealistic young lieutenant that the only way to fight the Apaches' escalating brutality and violence is with even stronger force. Robert Aldrich directs this gritty action epic sure to excite both sense and the intellect.
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Carter DeHaven, Harold Hecht, Burt Lancaster
Alan Sharp
Universal Pictures
Action & Adventure, Classics
21 Reasons to Love..Modern Westerns, All the Twos: 1972-2012, Getting to Know: Burt Lancaster, The Instant Expert's Guide to: Robert Aldrich, Top 10 Films of 1972
Release Date:
Run Time:
99 minutes
English Dolby Digital 2.0
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9

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Reviews (2) of Ulzana's Raid

The Good and the Evil - Ulzana's Raid review by DJ

Spoiler Alert

What is good about this film is the beautiful photography, the DoP and editing were truly excellent, as was the sound.  However, it proved to be an abattoir when it came to horses and humans.  As is usually the case with films that are truly graphic, they tend to divert from 'entertainment', simply because they are too damn close to the elbow.  As films go, this is amongst the excellent, but I found it a little too overpowering, because I honestly believed that they killed animals throughout the film.  Am I squeamish,? No, just with principles.  I neither see the slaying of an animal as entertainment, nor do I agree with killing animal in the name of entertainment, because it isn't entertainment.  What was surprising, for me, was the fact that there were some survivors ... amazing.

If you happen to love animals, especially horses and dogs ... and dislike seeing disembowelled human beings, don't watch this film, because you will find it very upsetting.  A bygone era, shocking and best forgotten.  

 The director, Robert Aldrich, is a master craftsman who has the ability to make you want to hide.

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Classic 70s Western - Ulzana's Raid review by GI

Spoiler Alert

The 1970s was a decade of western revival and there are many great westerns to be found made in this period. Director Robert Aldrich's Ulzana's Raid is arguably one of the best and a fantastic performance from Burt Lancaster as an ageing and cynical army scout. The film is a clear allegory to the Vietnam war and in particular the naivety of the Americans in believing they could easily defeat an indigenous enemy. This is a film ripe for restoration and it's quite bizarre that a good version has not been produced for the modern day market. There were two released versions, one by the director and a subtly different one put together by Lancaster. Most DVD copies contain Aldrich's version but it suffers from roughly done editing especially around some scenes of horses falling where tripwires were used. That said the Aldrich version is the more comprehensive in what is a film now considered to be a mini masterpiece. Set in Arizona, the harsh land being a key element of the plot, and an Apache warrior Ulzana escapes from the reservation with a small band of his braves and heads off on a murder spree. Young, inexperienced army Lieutenant DeBuin (Bruce Davison) is sent with his troops to catch or kill the raiders. He is assisted by MacIntosh (Lancaster) and an Apache tracker (Jorge Luke) but as they come across the horrific results of Ulzana's raids on homesteaders the lines between morality and civilised behaviour become more blurred. There's some grisly scenes of tortured bodies and victims but the film is quite restrained in depicting violence. It's in the themes of depravity caused by hatred that the film excels. It's certainly an important film in the genre and, if you're a western fan, definitely one to seek out.

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