Category Archives: Mexican

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia-1974

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia-1974

Director Sam Peckinpah

Starring Warren Oates

Scott’s Review #222


Reviewed February 20, 2015

Grade: B+

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is a Mexican, cult-action film from 1974, directed by Sam Peckinpah, that influenced famed modern movie director Quentin Tarantino in multiple ways.

The film itself is violent, bloody, and traditionally Peckinpah in tone and look, similar to his other films (Straw Dogs from 1971 and The Wild Bunch from 1967).

The premise of the film is intriguing- a powerful man known simply as “The Boss”, turns furious and places a bounty on the head of the man who impregnated his daughter, whom he, by the way, tortures to garner this information out of.

He offers the enormous sum of 1 million dollars to the person who can “bring him the head of Alfredo Garcia”.

From this point, the action centers mostly on Bennie, a retired military officer who is intrigued by the bounty up for grabs.

Bennie, along with his prostitute girlfriend, Elita, traverses the lands of Mexico in search of Alfredo Garcia, whether he already be dead or still alive, which is a mysterious and fun element of the film.

I have a tough time taking the film too seriously as much as I enjoyed it- it seems an action farce and, without giving too much away, the scenes involving the carrying of a severed head, arguably the lead character, are as much comical as ghastly.

The illustrious lighting is a major focal point, especially during the outdoor scenes and specifically the nighttime desert scenes when Elita is almost raped by two bikers. The moonlight radiates onscreen.

The character of Elita is a fascinating one for me. On the one hand, she is an aging prostitute madly in love with Bennie and intrigued by a life with him living off their spoils. However, she almost enjoys the sexual experience with one of the bikers, played wonderfully by Kris Kristofferson, despite being roughed up by him.

The scene, while certainly violent, is in a way, almost tender as the biker and Elita realize their attraction for one another. It’s a surreal scene and has almost a sense of clarity for both characters. Are they in lust?

Peckinpah women are traditionally not treated well, but Elita borders on the exception.

The Tarantino influence is undeniable- the mixture of humor amid violence- a severed head being treated as a comical prop, is immeasurable in its comparison to later Tarantino films such as the Kill Bill chapters.

Daring and pure genius, the film contains a dark tone but does not take itself too seriously by going for any sort of melodrama or being overwrought.

It is only a film and has fun with that fact. It tries to be nothing more and embraces being bizarre.

Tarantino films are like Peckinpah films just made 20-30 years apart.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia has evolved into a cult classic after having flopped commercially and critically in 1974.

How wonderful when a gem is rediscovered and laden with influence, in this case as much stylistically as otherwise.